Environmental and Water Resource Information

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Article Index
Environmental and Water Resource Information
Karst Information
Groundwater Recharge and the Limestone Ridge
Water Resource Information
Drought & Flooding Information
Biosolids
All Pages

Alison Teetor (540) 955-5134
Natural Resource Planner This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Clarke County has a unique and beautiful landscape with a wealth of Natural Resources. The eastern border is the west slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains leading down to the main stem of the Shenandoah River, a State Scenic River. The Appalachian Trail traverses the Mountain. On the west side of the River lies the northern portion of the Shenandoah Valley. Underlying the Valley is limestone geology or karst. Karst terrain is characterized by sinkholes, springs and sinking streams. Although beautiful, karst features present a challenge to water quality protection as they provide a pathway between the surface waters and runoff to groundwater which the majority of the human population relies on for drinking water. Much of the County's natural resource protection efforts strive to protect these water resources. Want to learn more about karst and how you can help protect groundwater? click here Karst Info


Comprehensive Plan Sections
Water Resources Plan
Groundwater Resources Plan
Surface Water Resources Plan
Mountain Land Plan w/ color maps Large file
Mountain Land Plan w/out color maps A more manageable download
Mountain Land Plan Summary Quick look at intent of the Mountain Land Plan
Timber Harvest Regulations Loggers need a to submit a pre-harvest plan
Vegetative Clearing Limits Read before cutting or clearing on your property

Zoning Regulations
Flood Plain Ordinance Updated September 28, 2007
Spring Conservation Overlay District Overlay Reguations Prospect Hill Spring
public water supply for Boyce, Millwood, Waterloo, & White Post
Stream Protection Overlay District Limits vegetative clearing along perennial streams
County Code
Septic Ordinance County regulations pertaining to septic system siting and installation, upated 6/15/10
Well Ordinance County regulations pertaining to well siting and installation, updated 2/17/09
Sinkhole Ordinance Dont put things in sinkholes you wouldn't drink!






Karst_1

What is Karst? A land area that includes sinkholes, springs, sinking streams, and caves. In karst areas, the fractured limestone rock formations have been dissolved by flowing groundwater to form cavities, pipes, and conduits. Sinkholes, caves, sinking streams, and springs signal the presence of underground drainage systems in karstlands. Unless watersheds are protected, these direct connections between the surface and the subsurface can threaten the quality of our drinking water. The safest watersheds are those in which all residents understand the karst landscape and work together to reduce soil erosion, high-density development, agricultural and urban storm water runoff, overgrazing, improper waste disposal, and pollution.


Ordinances & Code Sections relating to Karst

Sinkhole Ordinance

Karst Plan Requirements

Resistivity testing for
drainfields

Blasting Regulations

More Information

Living on Karst - Guide for
Landowners living in
Limestone areas

Interactive Diagram of
Karst features

Karst Movie - Cool way to
learn about Karst!



Karst_2





Did you know that there are specific places in the county that play a critical role in recharging our ground water?  Water that falls as precipitation needs to find pathways to the groundwater and that happens best in the carbonate areas where sinkholes, caves, sinking streams, faults and fractures provide easy access for water to percolate down to the water table.Groundwater_Recharge_Area_map

Even in the carbonates that underlie most of the valley area, some areas are more critical than others for groundwater recharge.  On the western side of Clarke County there is a limestone ridge that runs from Double Tollgate and trends to the NE crossing into WV to the east of Stones Chapel.  This area, identified by the US Geological Survey is approximately 22,100 acres in size and contains the drainage divide between the Opequon Creek and the Shenandoah River.   It is also a critical area for filling the groundwater that runs below the county because of its unique structure, elevation, and distance from the river, streams, and springs which discharge water from the groundwater.

Why do you care?  What we do in this critical recharge area to preserve our permeable surfaces for groundwater recharge affects water availability and quality for a large portion of the county.  To help protect this area, the Easement Authority is asking the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, the state agency responsible for conservation easement holdings, to designate this area as a priority project area.  The purpose of the designation is to focus resources on placing properties in the recharge area into permanent conservation easement to reduce development potential on this critical resource area.

Map showing groundwater recharge area.



Water Resource Information

Clarke County has long been a leader in environmental protection and managed controlled growth. This is evidenced by the extensive long-term planning and visionary thinking that occurred in the early 1980's. During this time the County realized the importance of our groundwater resources and developed the Groundwater Protection Plan. This plan led to the establishment of the septic and well ordinances, sinkhole ordinance, the first USGS groundwater study, and an overall awareness of the sensitive nature of our groundwater resources from a water quality view. The County also adopted Sliding Scale Zoning, implemented the Agricultural/Forestal District, use value taxation, use of the LESA scoring system, and designated growth areas. These tools, in addition to more recent protection efforts such as the establishment of the Conservation Easement Authority and adoption of the Mountain Land Plan, have provided a strong framework to allow for growth while protecting our agricultural economy and natural and historic resources.

Water Levels - Clarke County

In 2002, as a result of a prolonged and serious drought, the County initiated a 6-year groundwater study with the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The primary objective of the study was to enhance the County's understanding of the quantity and sustainability of our ground-water resources. The following link details the results and findings of this six-year study. Monitoring will continue annually as funding is approved by the Board of Supervisors.

Current County Real-time water levels - 5 Real time Gages What are the water levels in your area

USGS Water Monitoring Study - details water levels from well monitoring in the County

Final report for the County's 6-year groundwater study - 2002-2008

The USGS Scientific Investigations Report - "Hydrogeology and groundwater availability in Clarke County, Virginia" By: D.L. Nelms and R.M. Moberg, JR.

Summary of 6 year USGS Ground Water Study - What did the County learn - Click Here to Find Out

Link to additional Water Conservation Information

How much water is your leaky faucet using - check the Drip Calculator


Drought Information

Drought Indicator Maps of the Shenandoah Basin from DEQ  also includes Drought Status reports and general information about water resource conditions in the County, Region and State


Supervisors adopt Drought Response Plan and Ordinance - May 20, 2008

Flood Information - Shenandoah River

flood2

Route 50 bridge looking west September 1996.  Photo by: Bonnie Jacobs

Current Flood Stage Information - NWS Watches, Warnings, and Advisories

Graph Detailing Current Flood Stage - NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service





BIOSOLIDS

Laura Shifflett
Biosolids Monitor

(540) 931-5112

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On July 15, 1997 the Board of Supervisors approved the adoption of a text amendment establishing standards for the application of Biosolids.

 

Beginning in 1998, two companies, Bio Gro and Recyc Systems applied biosolids in the County. Currently Synagro (formally Bio-Gro) and Wright Trucking spread on area farms.

 

 

In 2004, State law repealed Counties ability to regulate biosolid application beyond testing and monitoring. The change permits Counties to request reimbursement for expenses relating to monitoring and testing but eliminates increased setback standards that Clarke County had adopted to protect ground and surface water resources in sensitive karst areas. The County maintains the ordinance and requests applicators to comply.

All applications have been closely monitored by County and State representatives and have been in compliance with all requirements. In accordance with State Regulations, Counties may be reimbursed for the testing and monitoring expenses.

Beginning January 1, 2008 the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) assumed regulatory oversight of all land application of treated sewage sludge, commonly referred to as biosolids.

More Information

This action, which moves oversight of the Biosolids Use Regulations from the Virginia Department of Health to DEQ, was at the direction of the 2007 General Assembly, which voted to consolidate the regulatory programs so that all persons land applying biosolids would be subject to uniform requirements, and to take advantage of the existing compliance and enforcement structure at DEQ. DEQ has established an Office of Land Application Programs within the Water Quality Division to manage the biosolids program, as well as land application of industrial sludges, septage, livestock and poultry waste, and water reclamation and reuse. The Virginia Department of Health will continue to consult with DEQ and advise the public on health issues related to biosolids applications. State Web Site

Current new State regulations require:

· Nutrient Management Plan to be submitted with application

· Posting of property 48 hours prior to application

· No spreading on snow


Contact Information

Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)

Central Office - Richmond


Neil Zahradka

(804) 698-4102

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Bryan Cauthorn

(804) 698-4592

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DEQ Field Personnel - Clarke County

Harrisonburg


Tad Williams

(540) 574-7888

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DEQ Permitting Agent - Clarke County

Harrisonburg


Keith Showman

(540) 574-7836

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Biosolids applicators

Company Name

Address

City, State Zip

Contact

Phone

Milton Wright Trucking, Inc.

11307 Baritone Court

Silver Spring, MD 20901

Lloyd Wright

(301) 681-7764

Synagro

7014 E. Baltimore St.

Baltimore, MD 21224

Kelly Love

(800) 825-5698

Recyc Systems, Inc.

P.O. Box 562

Remington, VA 22734

Susan Trumbo

(800) 352-3261