Clarke County request a drought disaster declaration

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Despite more than 5 inches of rain falling in September and not much since, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s drought warning remains in effect.

Clarke County and other counties report groundwater and stream flow remains below normal.

Because of these conditions the Clarke County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution to request a declaration of drought disaster.

That declaration enables the state government to designate all of Clarke County an agriculture disaster area.

The designation could allow county farmers to become eligible for state and federal disaster relief.

The town of Berryville’s water supply warning declaration meanwhile remains in effect until further notice.

That declaration advises municipal water customers to conserve water until Clarke County Sanitary Authority rescinds the request.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Front Royal reinstates Mandatory Water Conservation

The Town of Front Royal announced the reinstatement of the Mandatory Water Conservation efforts until further notice.

We have received some much-needed rain on and off over the past few weeks but it has been few and far between.

The continual monitoring of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River continues to be below needed levels.

In compliance with the permit for withdrawal from the river issued by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality the town is below acceptable levels.

In order to withdrawal water the river has to be at least 340 cubic feet per second or approximately 220 million gallons per day.

Water levels can be monitored here and currently it is below the 340 cfs.

The drop in water flow forces the town to reissue the mandatory water conservation effort for municipal water customers.

Nonessential water usage is prohibited for the time being.

Some prohibited activities include but are not limited to watering landscape, washing of vehicles or washing paved surfaces with more water saving tips availably here.

Violations of these mandatory efforts could result in a $1,000 fine per offense with each day of a violation punishable as a separate offense.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Emergency water conservation lifted in Front Royal

Emergency Water Conservation order in Front Royal has been lifted and a mandatory water conservation  is effective as of September 15th.

As of Friday, the Town observed that the South Fork of the Shenandoah River is above the 240 cubic feet per second (CFS) level but yet below 340 CFS.

The Town’s permit for water withdrawal from the river issued by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality stipulates river flow rates that require various conservation measures.

As a result of the river flow and to be in compliant with the issued withdrawal permit, all users of the Town’s municipal water system are notified to continue to observe mandatory water conservation efforts.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Extreme fire danger for Page County

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Due to the lack of rain for the last six months, and the extremely dry conditions across Page County, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has declared a drought warning.

The conditions are favorable for rapid spread fire that has the potential to impact life and safety, can cause threat to property and create widespread hazards.

It is highly suggested that there be no open air burning countywide.

Drought and weather conditions will continue to be monitored to keep the local state of emergency justified for the citizens of Page County.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

VDEQ issues a Drought Warning for the Shenandoah region

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality issued a Drought Warning for the entire Shenandoah Region.

The drought warning encompasses 7 counties in Virginia including Augusta, Clarke, Frederick, Page, Rockingham, Shenandoah and Warren Counties.

The drought watch is currently posted for 13 counties including Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier and Loudoun Counties among others.

The condition prompted Frederick Water to announce the implementation of drought warning procedures immediately.

Residential customers are encouraged to reduce water usage by 15 percent and non-residential customers to reduce their usage by 20 percent.

These reductions can be achieved by voluntary water conservation efforts and a mandatory reduction of nonessential water usage.

Customers of Frederick Water, which includes the City of Winchester and Frederick County, are asked to follow a schedule for certain activities.

The schedule is based on the last digit of your residential and business address.

If landscape watering is necessary odd number residents are asked to reduce watering to Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Even number addresses should water on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

No watering should take place at all between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The watering of any hard surface is prohibited as is the washing of any vehicle.

Watering of outdoor decorative bodies of water is prohibited unless to keep aquatic life alive.

Fire hydrant usage is only permitted for fire suppression efforts.

Filling private and public pools and water haulers and hauling water is also prohibited.

Frederick Water warns customers engaging in prohibited water usage activity will receive a warning notification.

The third violation will result in total disconnection for the duration of the drought.

Front Royal will impose a $1,000 fine for prohibited water usage compounded by days in violation.

A drought warning indicates that a drought is imminent.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Strasburg declares a drought emergency

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Strasburg has declared a drought emergency as the town’s water source drops below standards set by the Northern Virginia Regional water supply plan.

The plan is set by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality in a permit issued to the town for water withdrawn from the river.

That permit states that once the water source reaches a level below a seven day moving average of 90 cubic feet per second a drought emergency must be issued.

As of August 9 or seven days before August 16 the flow of water in the North Fork of the Shenandoah River has fallen to 70 cubic feet per second.

There are few exceptions to the use of water in a drought emergency.

Those exceptions include agricultural production of food or fiber.

The maintenance of livestock including poultry is another exception as is the commercial production of plant materials.

These exceptions must use the least amount of water as possible.

The uses of water that is prohibited in the current drought emergency include public and private irrigation of lawns or ball fields and the washing of paved surfaces.

The use of water for lawn ornaments like fountains or waterfalls is also prohibited.

Filling of or topping off pools is also prohibited as is the washing of any mobile equipment.

These conditions are in effect until further notice.

A comprehensive list of things that are permitted and not permitted is found here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Check your home Air Quality here using your zip code

Using your zip code click here to check your Air Quality at your home.

According to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ)  we remain under a code red status.

Later today Friday the agency expects condition to drop to a code Orange status and code Yellow or moderate tomorrow Saturday.

Under the Red status it is recommended that the general public limit outdoor activity especially strenuous activity.

People with asthma, heart and lung diseases or other breathing problems, children and the elderly need to be particularly careful outdoors.

Effects of air quality can be minimized by avoiding outdoor activity in general.

As of 6 A.M. Friday morning much of the region remains at 184 Pollutant Particles Per Million or Red status.

That means there are 184 Milligrams of Pollutants Per Square Meter of Air.

Once we reach 200 Pollutant Particles Per Million, we reach Purple Status which is very unhealthy Air Quality.

We are not expected to reach Purple Friday with relief expected by Saturday July 1. 

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Youngkin acknowledges environmental excellence

Governor Glenn Youngkin acknowledged public and private sector groups for their environmental improvement efforts.

The ceremony took place during the Environment Virginia Symposium at the Virginia Military Institute and recognized 13 winners and two honorable mention projects.

Some highlighted projects include the City of Harrisonburg’s Urban Forestry program which seeks to maintain and grow the city’s native plant species, and Fauquier County’s River Trail which expanded public access and constructed new canoe and kayak launches.

For a full list of winning projects, head to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s website.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

River Report: 7-5-21

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In this edition of our twice-weekly Shenandoah River Reports, Riverkeeper Mark Frondorf outlines his interaction with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and the EPA in dealing with the problem of algae. This very informative Shenandoah River Report is brought to you by Front Royal Outdoors. Don Roberts and his staff have many ways to get you out on the South Fork for some Summer fun. Find out more at

A diesel leak leads to 81 shutdown

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A leak from a diesel tanker truck shutdown Interstate 81 north from Woodstock to Middletown yesterday morning Mar. 24.

The Interstate was left slick from the leak not unlike icy conditions.

One minor accident occurred involving 2 tractor trailers along with reports of spin outs but no major accidents occurred.

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) began spreading crushed limestone to aid in traction.

VDOT also used some absorbent pads around some of the heavier spill areas.

The spill did not cause any significant environmental impact according to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ).

The Interstate was reopened just after 11 a.m..

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.