State of the James River

Oct 15, 2015

For the first time in years the health of Virginia’s largest river is considered above average. That’s the word from the The James River Association. The non profit advocacy group released its annual State of the James Report.

On a grading scale that takes into account wildlife, pollution, and habitat... the James earned a B-minus, better than the C-plus of 2013.

Bill Street is CEO of the James River Association.

“The biggest reason for that improvement is addressing pollution from wastewater from our sewage treatment plants and industry.”

The James receives 70-percent of the state’s wastewater -- from Covington down to Hampton Roads. And since 2005, Virginia state and local governments have invested almost 2 billion dollars in upgrading the facilities that treat that water.

“We’re really seeing the results and progress in the river itself.”

But another major source of pollution, is runoff that comes along with erosion.

“With that sediment come toxic compounds and bacteria and a whole sort of, soup, of contaminants that can pose a health threat to humans as well as the health of the river.”

To maintain progress, Street says the state and local governments need to continue to invest money in keeping the river clean.

The James River Association has made the report accessible and interactable online -- you can visit