The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality works to protect and enhance the state’s environment, and it recently received federal funding to help with those efforts.

United State Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, both D-Virginia, announced Monday nearly $500,000 in federal funding from the Environmental Protection Agency would go toward helping Virginia’s DEQ maintain, protect and improve the water quality of its rivers, lakes, streams, groundwater and other bodies of water.

“We are glad to see these federal dollars go towards maintaining healthy bodies of water across Virginia and making water quality assessment data more transparent and accessible,” the Senators said in a press release.

Through the Water Pollution Control grant, federal funding can be granted to provide assistance to states and interstate agencies in establishing and maintaining adequate measures for prevention and control of surface and ground water pollution from both point and non-point sources, according to a press release.

The funding granted to the Virginia DEQ would go toward preventing the degradation and reducing the number of impaired bodies of water in the state.

It would also help create a user-friendly interface to complete water quality assessments and provide stakeholders, along with the public, easy access to water monitoring assessment data.

“Additionally, it will allow the Commonwealth to develop database guidance and analytical protocols for extending analysis to other localities,” the press release said.

The funding comes a month after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced his budget for fiscal years 2020-22 would include protecting the state’s environment, fight climate change and grow the clean energy economy.

His proposed budget includes $733 million in new funding for the environment and clean energy.

“In Virginia, we are proving that a clean environment and a strong economy go hand-in-hand — and having both is what makes our Commonwealth such a great place to live, work, and play,” Northam said in a press release. “These significant investments in environmental protection, environmental justice, clean energy and clean water will combat climate change and ensure we maintain our high quality of life here in Virginia.”

Northam’s budget also included more than $25 million to help the DEQ increase efficiency and responsiveness in permitting, enhance environmental protections and improve public engagement. $2.7 million of those funds from DEQ will be directed toward environmental justice and community outreach efforts each year.

Contact Jessica Wetzler at 574-6279 or jwetzler@dnronline.com. Follow Jessica on Twitter @wetzler_jessica

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