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Water Quality Monitoring The Role of the Clean Water Act.

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Presentation on theme: "Water Quality Monitoring The Role of the Clean Water Act."— Presentation transcript:

1 Water Quality Monitoring The Role of the Clean Water Act

2 What does this session cover Water quality assessment & monitoring Federal and State roles Clean Water Act framework Reporting water quality standards attainment status Developing TMDLs and watershed plans Funding for States to manage water programs and control nonpoint source pollutants Strengthening programs & examining agricultural impacts

3 Assessments/Monitoring Water Quality WQ assessments/monitoring done by many levels of government and organizations US Geological Survey Rivers & streams in major basins to detect WQ status and trends CWA – States have prime responsibility Set WQS & assess attainment using state methodology USDA – funding to ag producers for best management practices & evaluating effectiveness Private sector, municipalities & water utilities

4 Continuing Planning Process Develop TMDL Point Source NPDES Permits Control Nonpoint Sources List Impaired Waters Monitor/Assess WQS Attainment Water Quality Standards Integrated Watershed Plan Clean Water Act Framework

5 State Roles in CWA Implementation §303Establish state WQS for all waters §305(b)Report water quality status for all waters §303(d) 1. Submit prioritized list of waters that do not meet WQS and need a TMDL 2. Develop TMDL §303(e)Develop watershed plans for all waters §402Issue permits to point sources to meet WQS §319Manage nonpoint sources to meet WQS §309Ensure point source compliance with permits §106(e)Seek adequate state monitoring programs

6 Reporting on Water Quality States submit every 2 years 305(b) water quality inventory report Use support status of assessed waters Causes and sources contributing to impairments 303(d) list of waters needing TMDL Impaired & threatened waters Impaired by pollutants EPA approval/disapproval of 303(d) list See:

7 Findings of 2000 State 305b Reports Percent of total waters assessed:* 19% of 3.7 million stream miles 43% of 40.6 million lake acres 36% of 87,400 estuary square miles Percentage of assessed waters impaired: 39% of assessed stream miles 45% of assessed lake acres 51% of assessed estuarine sq. miles *for one or more uses See:

8 States Report the Top Causes of Impairment RiversLakesEstuaries 1. Pathogens 2. Siltation 3. Habitat alteration 4. Oxygen depletion 1. Nutrients 2. Metals 3. Siltation 4. Total dissolved solids 1. Metals 2. Pesticides 3. Oxygen depleting substances 4. Pathogens

9 States Report Top Sources of Impairment RiversLakesEstuaries 1. Agriculture 2. Hydromod. 3. Habitat modificaitons 4. Urban runoff/ storm sewers 1. Agriculture 2. Hydromod. 3. Urban runoff/ storm sewers 4. Nonpoint sources 1. Municipal 2. Urban runoff/ storm sewer 3. Industrial 4. Atmospheric deposition

10 Assessment/Monitoring Approaches Core indicators are selected for assessing attainment with applicable uses Aquatic life Recreation Public water supply Fish and shellfish consumption Select supplemental indicators Specific to watershed and potential sources Selected to follow up on biological impairment Added to investigate emerging concerns

11 Different Monitoring Tools Serve Decisions at Multiple Scales Probability Surveys (random samples) Assess water quality trends statistically Predict proportion of all waters that may be impaired Guide where to do targeted monitoring Predictive Tools (Landscape modeling) Determine where water quality maybe impaired Measure water quality trends Prioritize targeted monitoring Targeted Monitoring and water quality modeling (site- specific) Assess WQS attainment for specific waters Measure water quality trends Identify sources of pollutants to specific waters Assess permit compliance for point sources Support TMDL development Assess performance of management measures Support the development of new WQS

12 Examples of Core Indicators SURFACE WATER INDICATORS: Fish assemblage Fish tissue contamination Periphyton* Macroinvertebrate assemblage* Vegetation (wetlands only)* Physical habitat (e.g. riparian characteristics, woody debris, canopy cover, gradient)* Water column (e.g. nutrients, temperature, alkalinity dissolved oxygen, heavy metals)* ESTUARINE WATER INDICATORS: Fish assemblage Fish pathologies Fish tissue contamination Submerged vegetation* Emergent vegetation (wetlands only)* Benthic invertebrate assemblage* Sediments (e.g. grain size, TOC, chemistry, toxicity) Water column (e.g. nutrients, temperature, salinity, depth, dissolved oxygen, pH, chlorophyll)* WETLANDS INDICATORS: Freshwater and Coastal Indicators marked with *

13 Using TMDLs & Watershed Plans to Achieve WQS What is a TMDL? Calculation of the amount of a pollutant that a water body can receive and still meet water quality standards. Includes allowable loads from point and nonpoint sources Determines sources of pollutants causing or contributing to impairment Allocates responsibility for reductions needed to achieve water quality standards

14 Using TMDLs & Watershed Plans to Achieve WQS TMDL implementation plans or watershed plans detail actions needed to achieve WQS TMDLs not enforceable, except through other authorities NPDES permits/other enforceable authorities NPS management achieved through-- Federal funding, State/local laws, ordinances Volunteer, incentive-based programs Wetland and habitat protection actions

15 Future Actions Monitoring & Assessments Strengthen state/tribal programs Improve monitoring actions to work more effectively & cost-efficiently together At all levels of government and among agencies Expand accessibility and use of data

16 Future Actions Continue to promote communications about water quality problems and solutions For decisionmakers and public October is Monitoring Month 30 th Anniversary of CWA passage World Monitoring Day on October 18 Worldwide events

17 Future Actions Reduce nonpoint source pollution NPS/319 grants to focus on assessment of the WQ problems and implementation of best management practices Seek to complement other NPS control programs USDA, State and local programs

18 Future Actions Water Quality Trading Economic incentive for meeting water quality goals that Allows regulated sources facing high pollution control costs to purchase environmentally equivalent (or superior) reductions from another source at lower cost Is a potential win-win for farmers, the regulated community, and the environment

19 Future Actions Trading benefits for the environment Meet water quality goals at lower overall cost BMPs create additional environmental benefits, e.g. creation of wetlands, habitat enhancement Trading benefits for agricultural producers Monetary compensation for implementing BMPs that improve water quality Some practices have co-benefits for water quality and producer, e.g., reduced soil loss Watershed efforts can result in greater recognition of producer stewardship of land, water


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