Prince William County's Public Works Department recently received $2 million in grant money from the VA Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ, for work on four water quality improvement projects within the county. The projects included two stream restorations, one water quality retrofit of existing stormwater management pond and one reforestation project.
All of the projects, which received matching funding from the county through the stormwater management fees, will help the county meet Environmental Protection Agency requirements, which regulate how many pollutants can enter the Chesapeake Bay Watershed through streams on any given day.
The final section of the Dewey's Creek project, between U.S. 1 and Possum Point Road, will be completed using the largest portion of the grant funding, $1.4 million. While the first phase of the project was completed in February 2017, and the second phase is currently under construction, the final phase, covered by this most recent grant, is scheduled to begin early in 2018 with construction continuing for eight months.
Another $215,000 of the grant funding will go to retrofit a stormwater management pond off Wayside Drive in Dumfries. The project will convert the dry pond to a wet pond, which will significantly increase the efficiency of the facility to remove environmental pollutants. The retrofit is scheduled to begin this fall and last for about three months.
Two small tributaries to Powell's Creek, off Beau Ridge Drive in Montclair near Va. 234, will be restored using $325,000 of the grant funding. Work is scheduled to begin this fall and end in about eight months.
The reforestation project, where trees were planted as a buffer on 10 acres between the Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park and New Bristoe Village, an adjacent subdivision, was completed last spring with the knowledge that grant funding would be available. Converting areas of the park from field to forest improves the efficiency of the buffers to remove environmental pollutants.
The Department of Public Works spokeswoman, Deb Oliver, said meeting water quality standards improves the lives of county residents. "We are restoring a lot of streams in the community and that's important for water quality. It's important for the environment, for wildlife and for people. We're doing our part to make sure our waters are flowing and functioning well."
Since 2013, the county has received $4.6 million in grant money for stream restoration. "I think DEQ and others recognize that we do a good job with the grant money; that we do meaningful work and that we do it well," Oliver said.
For more information about stream restoration or information on how you can help with stream issues, please contact the Prince William County Department of Public Works, Watershed Management Branch, at 703-792-7070 or the Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District at 571-379-7514.