Presentation on theme: "Nutrient Reduction An Overview of the Diverse Methods States are Using to Address Nutrients Source Water Collaborative Meeting Washington, DC—June 26,"— Presentation transcript:
Nutrient Reduction An Overview of the Diverse Methods States are Using to Address Nutrients Source Water Collaborative Meeting Washington, DC—June 26, 2012 Alexandra Dapolito Dunn ACWA Executive Director & General Counsel
Fundamental Element As an aquatic ecosystem can be healthy under varying levels of nutrients, managing nutrient levels requires unique and diverse strategies. States use of a variety of tools beyond water quality standards and TMDLs to manage nutrients. State level effluent standards, technology requirements, BMPs, nutrient trading A rich mosaic of solutions providing a variety of nutrient accountability frameworks
ACWA Survey – late 2011 Survey designed in consultation with state leaders. Over the past several months, state representatives completed surveys on their nutrient reduction programs. All states responded, providing a comprehensive “bird’s eye view” of state efforts. State responses put into narrative, edited, returned to states for final review. Report to be released this summer.
Key State Program Elements How nutrients are assessed Status and scope of the state program (statewide, waterbody specific, etc.) Priority pollution sources Methods utilized Funding sources Interaction with other programs (ag, stormwater, air, etc.) Additional state authority to address nutrients
Overall State Trends 60% have an existing nutrient program, 20% are in the process of developing one, 20% said “no program” (in water division) “No program” does not mean that nutrients are unaddressed. Alaska – Monitoring program for nutrient criteria development plan Indiana – “No program” but addresses nutrients through TMDLs, NPDES, long term control plans, wastewater treatment, etc. Maine – phosphorus standard for stormwater, nutrient management through Dept. of Ag. New Mexico – 303(d) listing, TMDLs, NPDES Oregon – agricultural programs, stormwater, TMDL, NPDES, HAB activities all address nutrients, though not in a single program.
Scope 77% of programs are state-wide in scope 80% of programs are “combined,” using a variety of methods to assess and address nutrient impairments.
Combined Focus Programs Georgia – Nutrient reduction organized around indicators and watersheds, with pollutant sources as the primary focus for implementing plans. Tennessee – Impaired waterbodies are identified by biological condition and nutrient concentrations. Reduction programs are then applied at the watershed level. Oklahoma – Watersheds are prioritized using a ranking system including parameters for waterbody type, number of impacts, pollution source, beneficial use, and others. Kansas – Uses chlorophyll-a criteria for lakes, biocriteria for flowing waters and addresses pollutant sources through tech- based reduction programs for point sources and watershed planning for nonpoint sources.
Indicator Focused Programs Programs are focused on indicators, which may then be controlled through permitting requirements. Phosphorus is primary indicator in many states Montana - Nutrients controlled through NPDES and CAFO permits based on indicators. State is developing numeric nutrient standards. South Carolina – Water quality assessed by indicators. Each applicant is reviewed with respect to water quality and potential impacts. Michigan – Indicators used to identify waterbodies needing nutrient reduction. Concurrent efforts include BMPs, MS4 monitoring, NNC development, and others.
Indicators Phosphorus was the most common indicator mentioned in responses. Biological monitoring to identify or confirm impairments was used by half the states.
Source Focused Programs Colorado and Illinois focus reduction efforts on wastewater treatment plans. Illinois also addresses nonpoint source agricultural contribution. New York’s reduction efforts are source based, but include waterbody specific aspects, such as different criteria for lakes and streams. Ohio focuses on POTWs, CAFOs, stormwater discharge and CSOs.
Overall Trends Of states a source as a focus, 93% focus on wastewater treatment plants, 80% on stormwater, 80% on farmland. Only a quarter of programs exempt certain activities or industries.
Biological Monitoring Mississippi: Biological monitoring used to assess impairment. If impaired, stressors are identified through analysis of sediment, nutrients, organic enrichment, etc., and incorporated into TMDLs. Oklahoma: Has collected fish, benthic macroinvertebrate and physical habitat data statewide. This data is used in assessing beneficial use attainment for nutrient impacts inferred through a failure to attain due to dissolved oxygen, sediment, pH, and biocriteria. Massachusetts: Applies nutrient assessment guidelines for biological response variables such as secchi disk testing, chlorophyll-a, algal cover and dissolved oxygen.
Accountability States used a wide variety of accountability measures. By far, the most common general method of ensuring accountability was through monitoring by state agencies and regulated entities and reporting requirements in permits.
Most programs apply different accountability measures for point and nonpoint sources. Most point source accountability is accomplished through permit requirements. Progress for nonpoint sources is more generally measured through ambient monitoring.
Analysis Nineteen states report that they have conducted analysis of their nutrient reduction programs to determine the impacts it is having on the ground. This is most often in the form of monitoring analysis, CWA reporting, 319 grant analysis and TMDL assessment. Seven states are currently developing methods to assess and analyze their programs.
Delaware Key Elements: Centered on TMDLs, promulgated for almost every waterbody in the state. Provide reduction requirements agencies include in regulations, permits or technical standards for best practices. Nutrient management, animal feeding operation, stormwater, discharge permits, MS4, and onsite wastewater programs all include provisions to achieve TMDLs. Additional Methods: education, BMPs, voluntary programs, state and NPDES permitting, regulatory requirements, interagency partnerships, including a strong partnership with USDA agencies, and interstate cooperation.
Education: certification requirements for farmers, nutrient management planners and developers. Licensing requirements for wastewater professionals. State permitting: used to establish state-specific technology-based limits, enforceable permitting provisions and reporting for nonpoint sources, and the ability to order abatements of discharges Accountability: audits and inspections performed by the state’s various regulatory programs and Delaware’s extensive surface water monitoring program is used to calculate loads and assess the status of waterbodies
Colorado Key Elements: Focused on pollutant source, integrated into NPDES process water permitting and MS4 permits. Water quality impacts considered in use of variances. Focus on wastewater treatment plant discharge driven by the belief that addressing specific pollution sources was a fairer and quicker way to see improvement. Methods: Stormwater BMPS, permitting requirements including education, state-specific tech.-based limits, and effluent limits. Water quality trading for point sources.
Illinois Key Elements: Distinct strategies for point and nonpoint sources. Point Sources: Focused on wastewater treatment plants. Methods include phosphorus effluent standard, anti- degradation analyses for P & N, waste load allocations, planned tech-based approaches (implemented when eutrophication is identified or when significant plant upgrade occurs) NPS: Focused on agriculture. Methods include 319 funds focused on nutrients, nutrient management plans, education, voluntary programs.
State Comments: Difficulty establishing defensible NNC. $1 million in funding in 2003-04 to establish NNC, unsuccessful because of weak correlations. Continuing analysis is ongoing. Currently relying on a technology-based, conservation practice-based, "let’s see what we can accomplish" approach. “If we wait for standards, we will let many opportunities for nutrient reduction, and too much time, pass by. Illinois has in- state impairments and a significant contribution to Gulf of Mexico hypoxia – we can’t wait to take action.”
Oregon Key Elements: Assesses water bodies against dissolved oxygen and pH criteria, a chlorophyll-a action level and a narrative algal growth criteria. Methods: Oregon uses agricultural, stormwater, TMDL, and point source permitting as well as HAB activities that integrate with nutrient control and reduction as needed. Cooperative agreements with U.S. Forest Service, BLM, and the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development’s Oregon Coastal Management Program, among others (available here: http://www.deq.state.or.us/wq/nonpoint/implementation.htm)http://www.deq.state.or.us/wq/nonpoint/implementation.htm State Comments: Oregon DEQ seeks to ensure that nutrients area addressed in a targeted and strategic manner, allowing the state to focus its resources and those of regulated parties on priority water quality issues in order to achieve measureable results.
South Carolina Key Elements: Focused on CAFOs/AFOs. South Carolina’s nutrient reduction program, operating with a state-wide scope, focuses on phosphorus as its primary nutrient indicator. http://www.scdhec.gov/environment/water/agpage.htm Methods: Agricultural permits are reviewed for possible effects on water quality. TMDLs attempt to eliminate nutrient sources through comprehensive nutrient management plans. Best management practices, interagency partnerships, and education efforts. Though animal feeding facilities operating below 30,000 pounds of live animal weight are exempted from parts of the program, they are required to provide a nutrient management plans to be permitted.
Alabama Key Elements: Implementing nutrient TMDLs statewide, placing nutrient limits in NPDES permits and providing CWA 319 funding to install best management practices in nutrient impaired watersheds. Alabama has adopted numeric site-specific chlorophyll a criteria for 37 of its 41 large, publically accessible reservoirs Methods: Coordination between State and local organizations, TMDLs, NPDES permitting, BMPs, voluntary programs, nutrient management plans, regulatory requirements, and education. BMPs include a wide range of practices designed to reduce nutrient pollution and include such projects as stream restoration and stream buffer planting, stormwater detention basins, constructed wetlands, rotational grazing for cattle, and others
Massachusetts Key Elements: Addressing nutrients primarily through TMDL program. 35% of POTWs have nutrient permit limits; many more have specific monitoring requirements. Methods: Nutrient TMDLs for most major rivers with specific targets and limits, Massachusetts Estuary Project develops nutrient targets for 55 embayments, run-off and infiltration BMPs for wetlands, MS4 permits with reduction requirements, priority NPS programs in conjunction with state agriculture department.
Ohio Key Elements: Developing nutrient reduction plan focused on pollution source, with NPS as its highest priority. Primary Pollution Sources: Point Sources: POTWs, CAFOs, stormwater, CSOs. NPS: Agricultural and urban sources. Methods: Reduction plans in TMDLs, WLAs, and permit requirements are triggered by confirmation of existing or potential pollution impacts linked to P & N measured through multi-metric Trophic Index Criterion. Planned framework focuses on BMPs, nutrient management plans for agriculture, NPDES, TMDLs and the adoption of State WQS.
State Suggestions for Further Progress States desire to see 319 and 106 funding protected and expanded. Increased Federal support for innovation and flexibility. Acknowledge that a variety of methods to reducing nutrients are available and that diverse programs tailored to a states need are important.
Wyoming - The complexities of nutrient criteria lends itself to a state by state approach. Wyoming recognizes that what may work well in our state may not be appropriate in other states. Likewise, regulatory agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency needs to realize that a one size fits all approach is not appropriate for something as complex as nutrients. Florida – EPA should allow the necessary flexibility for the states to most efficiently and effectively protect their water resources since the states are in the best and most appropriate position to do that. In addition, we would like to encourage EPA to also consider how best to deploy their technical and financial assistance to the states to help them in their efforts. That way, both the states and the federal government can make the best use of our respective resources in our efforts. New York - NY reiterates its strong opinion that application of effective numeric nutrient criteria must incorporate use of response variables to hone the TP and and N criteria. Without this ability numeric criteria will be set too low and will require costly measures on waters that have no water quality problem, or - more likely - will result in high criteria numbers that may not protect all waters that need protection. New Jersey - States should have an option to pursue nutrient reductions or criteria development. Not enough state resources to do both. Loading reductions, technology based approaches and BMPs together may improve water quality so numeric criteria is not necessary.
Indiana: Seizing on the public's heightened awareness of the causal relationship between nutrients and the increase in algal blooms and harmful algal blooms in lakes and reservoirs to effect positive changes in behavior is another significant opportunity. Texas: Since nitrogen and phosphorus are necessary for healthy ecosystems, it is very challenging to identify stressor/response relationships and develop appropriate nutrient criteria to prevent undesirable impacts. Allowing a weight of evidence approach in the criteria development process is an opportunity to overcome uncertainty associated with nutrient stressor/response relationships. Wyoming: The complexities of nutrient criteria lends itself to a state by state approach. Wyoming recognizes that what may work well in our state may not be appropriate in other states.