Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Approval of New Jersey 303(d) Impaired Waters Threatened Waters List

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved the 2010 list of waters in New Jersey that are considered either impaired or threatened by pollutants. An impaired water body is one that does not meet federal water quality standards even after pollution controls have been put in place. A threatened water body is one that is expected to become impaired within two years.

The list specifically includes impaired waters for which the development of a Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, is necessary. The TMDL defines the maximum amount of a pollutant that a water body can receive and still meet water quality standards. They are developed by states and approved by the EPA once the agency determines that the budget will allow the water body to achieve water quality standards. In 2010, new pollutants were included for waters in the basins of the Hudson River, the Passaic River, the Raritan River, the Delaware Bay.

The most common pollutants causing impairment in New Jersey water bodies include PCBs (8.33%), dissolved oxygen (8.19%), phosphorus (7.86%), pH (7.62%), and arsenic (6.89%). New Jersey’s 2010 list identifies 2,112 instances in which a pollutant is causing an impairment of a water body that keeps it from supporting its “designated use” for drinking water, swimming and recreation, fishing or other activities specified by the state. The list also notes the most common sources of water pollutants, which include urban/stormwater runoff, combined sewer overflows from systems that capture both domestic sewage and stormwater, and air pollution, including acid rain.

Caltha LLP provides expert consulting services to public and private sector clients nationwide to address water quality standards, wastewater permitting and assessing potential impacts of chemicals in the aquatic environment.

Caltha LLP Aquatic Toxicology / WQ Standards Services Website