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Overview of the Development and Implementation of Montana’s Numeric Nutrient Standards Michael Suplee, Ph.D. Water Quality Standards Section MT Dept. of.

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Presentation on theme: "Overview of the Development and Implementation of Montana’s Numeric Nutrient Standards Michael Suplee, Ph.D. Water Quality Standards Section MT Dept. of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Overview of the Development and Implementation of Montana’s Numeric Nutrient Standards Michael Suplee, Ph.D. Water Quality Standards Section MT Dept. of Environmental Quality March 5 th, 2015 MMIA/MSU Mayor & City Manager Forum Helena, MT

2 Overview of Nutrient Standards Development in MT 1980s:Phosphorus detergent bans in Flathead, Clark Fork basins 1980s: Phosphorus detergent bans in Flathead, Clark Fork basins 1990s: Clark Fork River criteria derived; VNRP 1990s: Clark Fork River criteria derived; VNRP 2001: DEQ begins criteria development for all surface waters 2001: DEQ begins criteria development for all surface waters 2002: Clark Fork River criteria adopted as standards by BER 2002: Clark Fork River criteria adopted as standards by BER : Statewide criteria for wadeable streams generally identified. DEQ develops a system for establishing zones for different criteria. Large river criteria development started : Statewide criteria for wadeable streams generally identified. DEQ develops a system for establishing zones for different criteria. Large river criteria development started. 2009: SB 95 adopted, allows variances from nutrient standards on a case-by-case; Nutrient Work Group (NWG) created 2009: SB 95 adopted, allows variances from nutrient standards on a case-by-case; Nutrient Work Group (NWG) created 2011: NWG input → SB 367; bill adopted, provided general variances 2011: NWG input → SB 367; bill adopted, provided general variances 2011-present: DEQ & NWG address implementation; adoption present: DEQ & NWG address implementation; adoption 2014

3 Nuisance algal growth, rivers & streams

4 120 mg Chla/m 2 40 mg Chla/m mg Chla/m 2 Attached algae growth commonly quantified as chlorophyll a per square meter of stream bottom

5 Benthic algae level (mg Chla/m 2 ) Known/likely effects on wadeable-streams at different algae levels (western MT) Recreation acceptable Recreation unacceptable Increasing salmonid growth & survival Salmonid growth & Survival high Salmonid growth & Survival possibly reduced Salmonid growth & survival very likely impaired No DO problems DO problems very likely DO problems sporadic Stonefly, mayfly caddis- fly dominant Shift in biomass & community structure structure Midges, worms, mollusks, scuds dominant ?

6 Eastern Montana Wadeable Streams Different assessment methods (dissolved oxygen, biometrics) from western Montana Different assessment methods (dissolved oxygen, biometrics) from western Montana DEQ carrying out a 4-year study to better understand DO, nutrient relationships in region

7 Deriving Numeric Nutrient Criteria: Wadeable Streams 3 Major Pieces: 1)Identify geographic zones for specific criteria 2)Understand cause-effect relationships between nutrients and beneficial uses Requires determining “harm to use” Requires determining “harm to use” Different expectations for different regions of the state Different expectations for different regions of the state 3)Characterize water quality of reference sites Data from 2 and 3 considered together Data from 2 and 3 considered together

8 Deriving Numeric Nutrient Criteria for Wadeable Streams: the Geospatial Frame Ecoregions worked better than surface geology and stream order Ecoregions worked better than surface geology and stream order – Significantly explained nutrient concentration variation (typically 60-78% of variation in reference data) – Practical to apply

9 Mountainous Prairie Transitional

10 DEQ’s Nutrient Criteria Derivation Process Regional Dose- response studies CRITERION Comparison to Regional Reference-site Data N:P Resource Ratio (Redfield Ratio)

11 Example Dose-Response Relationship: Clark Fork River,

12 Stream Reference Sites n=185

13 Numeric Nutrient Standard Ecoregion (level III or IV) and Number Ecoregion Level Period When Criteria Apply Total Phosphorus (µg/L) Total Nitrogen (µg/L) Northern Rockies (15)IIIJuly 1 to September Canadian Rockies (41)IIIJuly 1 to September Idaho Batholith (16)IIIJuly 1 to September Middle Rockies (17)IIIJuly 1 to September Absaroka-Gallatin Volcanic Mountains (17i)IVJuly 1 to September Northwestern Glaciated Plains (42)IIIJune 16 to September Sweetgrass Upland (42l), Milk River Pothole Upland (42n), Rocky Mountain Front Foothill Potholes (42q), and Foothill Grassland (42r) IVJuly 1 to September Northwestern Great Plains (43) and Wyoming Basin (18) IIIJuly 1 to September River Breaks (43c)IVNarrative only Non-calcareous Foothill Grassland (43s), Shields- Smith Valleys (43t), Limy Foothill Grassland (43u), Pryor-Bighorn Foothills (43v), and Unglaciated Montana High Plains (43o)* IVJuly 1 to September Large Rivers: Yellowstone River (Bighorn River confluence to Powder River confluence) n/aAugust 1 -October Yellowstone River (Powder River confluence to stateline) n/aAugust 1 -October Selected MT Numeric Nutrient Standards: wadeable streams, large rivers

14 – Traverse several ecoregions – No reference sites for comparison – Deeper/faster than streams; changes light regime and other factors Using steady-state QUAL2K model – Vary nutrient inputs, observe effects on water quality standards Dissolved oxygen concentration, pH, total dissolved gas levels Dissolved oxygen concentration, pH, total dissolved gas levels Nuisance benthic algae levels Nuisance benthic algae levels Total organic carbon concentration (drinking water use) Total organic carbon concentration (drinking water use) Large Rivers

15 Most Montana Streams already Meet the Criteria Based on probabilistic stream survey: About 70-80% of stream miles statewide currently meet the TP criteria About 70-80% of stream miles statewide currently meet the TP criteria About 85-90% of stream miles statewide currently meet the TN criteria About 85-90% of stream miles statewide currently meet the TN criteria

16 Implementation Standard

17 Variances from Numeric Nutrient Standards: Economic Considerations Options available for communities to receive temporary relief from the standards based on: Options available for communities to receive temporary relief from the standards based on: – Inability to pay for treatment/economics – Limits of technology General Variances General Variances Individual Variances Individual Variances

18 Senate bills 95 (2009 Legislature) and 367 (2011 Legislature) (now § , MCA) DEQ given authority to grant variances from nutrient criteria DEQ given authority to grant variances from nutrient criteria Based on economic harm that would have resulted from immediate implementation of the standards Based on economic harm that would have resulted from immediate implementation of the standards – Variances up to 20 years, subject to 3-year reviews – General Variance: Can be requested if criteria can’t be met, but these can: – > 1 MGD: 1 mg TP/L, 10 mg TN/L – < 1 MGD: 2 mg TP/L, 15 mg TN/L – Lagoons: Maintain current performance – Individual Variance: Permittee may apply for these if meeting the general variance is difficult, or if treating beyond gen. levels does not make sense. Case-by-case analysis. Must be adopted in Dept. rule by 5/31/2016 (DONE)

19 Nutrient Trading 2013: Board of Environmental Review adopted rules allowing dischargers to use nutrient trading to help comply with numeric nutrient standards and variances 2013: Board of Environmental Review adopted rules allowing dischargers to use nutrient trading to help comply with numeric nutrient standards and variances – Found in Department Circular DEQ-13

20 OVERALL: Law allows Montana to implement numeric nutrient criteria in a staged manner over ~ 20 years, allowing critical time to better address all sources of nutrient pollution (point and nonpoint) and for treatment technology to improve/come down in cost

21 Today 20 years Effluent Nutrient Concentration TIME Numeric Nutrient Standard Step reductions in effluent nutrient conc. from a facility (> 1 MGD, <1 MGD) under the variance 15 yrs 10 yrs 5 yrs General Variance Concentrations in statute ? Nutrient Reduction Steps (DEQ Guidance Document)

22 Reduction Steps in DEQ Guidance 1. Facilities > 1 MGD: 1. Facilities > 1 MGD: per statute A. 1 st general variance: 10 mg TN/L, 1.0 mg TP/L -per statute B. Next permit (+5 years): 8 mg TN/L, 0.8 mg TP/L C. Next permit: 8 mg TN/L, 0.5 mg TP/L D. Next permit: Under Development 2. Facilities < 1 MGD: 2. Facilities < 1 MGD: -per statute A. 1 st general variance) 15 mg TN/L, 2.0 mg TP/L -per statute B. Next permit (+5 years): 12 mg TN/L, 2.0 mg TP/L C. Next permit: 10 mg TN/L, 1.0 mg TP/L D. Next permit: 8 mg TN/L, 0.8 mg TP/L 3. Lagoons not designed to actively remove nutrients: 3. Lagoons not designed to actively remove nutrients: per statute A. 1 st general variance: Maintain current lagoon performance, start nutrient monitoring -per statute B. Next permit (+5 years): Implement BMPs identified during optimization study

23 Lagoon Optimization Study MT DEQ is compiling innovative, low-cost approaches to reduce ammonia and total nutrients from facultative lagoon discharges ( ) MT DEQ is compiling innovative, low-cost approaches to reduce ammonia and total nutrients from facultative lagoon discharges ( ) Intend to carry out trial tests of methods with a group of cooperating communities, starting 2016 Intend to carry out trial tests of methods with a group of cooperating communities, starting 2016

24

25 Where to Find Things Standards, Circulars Standards, Circulars DEQ-12A & B, Guidance DEQ-12A & B, Guidance Document: Document: →DEQ Homepage → water icon →WQ Protection →Standards & Classification Circular DEQ-13 (Trading): Circular DEQ-13 (Trading): →DEQ Homepage, type “Circulars” in search box →Water Quality Circulars Nutrient Work Group: Nutrient Work Group: → DEQ Homepage→ Advisory Councils →Nutrient Work Group

26 Overview The nutrient criteria are scientifically defensible, appropriate for different regions and waterbody types The nutrient criteria are scientifically defensible, appropriate for different regions and waterbody types – Provide clarity on the water quality endpoints – Ongoing work will lead to other large-river nutrient standards, refinement of wadeable stream standards Statute allows the numeric nutrient standards to be met over ~20 years via variances Statute allows the numeric nutrient standards to be met over ~20 years via variances – If more time needed, additional law-making likely needed Rule adoption for numeric nutrient standards and variances was finalized summer 2014 Rule adoption for numeric nutrient standards and variances was finalized summer 2014 – Numeric nutrient standards and variance procedures became effective August 2014

27 Thank You Contact Information: (406) — Eric Urban (Water Quality Planning Bureau Chief) (406) — Eric Urban (Water Quality Planning Bureau Chief) (406) — Michael Suplee (Water Quality Standards Section) (406) — Michael Suplee (Water Quality Standards Section)


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