Friday, February 3, 2012

Impact of Revised Water Quality Standards On EPD Impaired Waters List

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has released its draft 303(d) listing (“impaired waters list) for 2012. Some changes in the 303(d) list are due to revisions in water quality standards. Georgia’s 2010 Triennial Review of State water quality standards resulted in the revision of some of the State’s standards. The Georgia Board of Natural Resources adopted these revisions in March 2011, and EPD submitted the revisions to U.S. EPA for approval on November 7, 2011.

The data for the 2012 list was assessed prior to U.S. EPA approval of the Triennial Review changes and therefore did not use revised water quality standards for assessment, but instead used the most recently approved U.S. EPA standards. Should U.S. EPA approve the 2010 Triennial Review before February 29, 2012, then EPD intends to revise the assessments for the 2012 list in accordance with the new standards.

Criteria that were revised in the 2010 Triennial Review that would impact listings decisions on the 2012 list include the removal of the minimum hardness of 25 mg/L that was used in calculating instream criteria for metals and the revision of chlorophyll a criteria for Lake Allatoona.

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

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