By TRAVIS HANDY
Wythe County announced Thursday that in a partnership with the town of Rural Retreat, it has received a $75,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) Clean Water Financing and Assistance Program.
This announcement comes after Virginia lawmakers passed legislation, effective July 2, 2013, making DEQ the lead agency for developing and implementing statewide nonpoint source pollution control programs to protect the state’s water quality and quantity. Wythe County officials say the federal grant “will prove invaluable in the days to come.” DEQ established the assistance program to aid local jurisdictions in their efforts to take a more proactive approach to stormwater management.
“The grant money will enable the county to remain in compliance with the new regulations for years to come,” said Wythe County’s Grant Coordinator, Jeremy Farley.
Wythe County Engineer Bill Vaughan agrees, “The new regulations will impose more stringent program documentation and oversight. This grant money will allow us to be fully functional when the new rules take effect next July.”
The majority of the grant awards were given to localities within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, but Wythe County received the second highest amount of grant funding of all 16 localities with watersheds feeding into the nation’s southern rivers.
County officials also expressed their thanks to the town of Rural Retreat for their partnership in securing the grant funds. Officials will host a public hearing regarding the county’s draft stormwater ordinance in the weeks to come.