The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality included several county waterways in a recently released study that listed 44 percent of the state’s rivers and streams as “impaired.” Impaired means that, to some extent, the water was polluted unable to support its designated use.
The DEQ study was an evenly distributed geographical survey of waterways across the state and indicates that about 44 percent of Prince William County’s rivers and streams are impaired, according to Bill Hayden, the public affairs director of the DEQ.
“The water can’t be so bad,” said Sharon Lublin, an employee of the Hampton’s Landing Marina on Neabsco Creek. “Every now and then we see a dead fish float by, but I see lots of turtles, geese, ducks and their babies,” she said.
Neabsco Creek and Neabsco Bay are both on the list of impaired waters. Several popular boat marinas and a boat landing are located in the area near Leesylvania State Park.
Lublin said she had a copy of the DEQ report and knew of the fecal coliform impairment in Neabsco Creek. She and her co-workers said the water looks better than it has in years and no one seems concerned about any pollution. From her open doorway she can see a flotilla of boats that span three marinas. “We’re about full,” she said, pointing to the crowded docks.
At the Leesylvania State Park boat landing, Ronnie Davis of Springfield and Richard Hooper of McLean were just pulling their boats out of the water.
“The water seems fine to me,” said Davis. “There are just too many boats.”
The sprawling asphalt parking lot with space for hundreds of boat trailers spoke to the popularity of the landing.
Hooper said he makes the drive to Leesylvania State Park every week because the fishing is good. He said he has seen no indications of poor water quality in the area.
Not every area on the DEQ list is seriously impaired, and the public should use their good judgment when engaging in water activities, Hayden said. It would be the responsibility of the local health department to post as off limits any seriously impaired areas, he said.
Questions about the condition of specific segments of impaired waters may be accessed on the DEQ Web site http://www.deq.state.va.us. A public hearing seeking comments on The 2000 Water Quality Assessment Report and the Impaired Waters Report will be held Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in the DEQ Northern Virginia office at 13901 Crown Court, Woodbridge.