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Commonwealth awards $22.9 million in grants for stormwater control

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The commonwealth has awarded grants totaling $22.9 million under the its new Stormwater Local Assistance Fund.

The first round of grants will cover 71 projects in 31 localities.

The fund, administered by the Department of Environmental Quality, was proposed by Gov. Bob McDonnell and established by the 2013 General Assembly.

It makes $35 million available to local governments as matching grants for best management practices aimed at reducing pollution from stormwater runoff.

DEQ will award the remaining $12.1 million in another round of funding in 2014.

McDonnell has included another $20 million in the second year of his proposed budget for additional projects.

The projects are designed to reduce levels of phosphorus, a key pollutant in stormwater. They have relatively high environmental benefits in terms of pounds of phosphorus removed per year, and they are the most cost-effective of the proposals that DEQ considered.

In the past four years Virginia has reduced nitrogen pollution by 11.1 percent, phosphorus pollution by 7.7 percent, and sediment pollution by 6.9 percent in state waters.

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