Thursday, March 29, 2012

EPA Approves TMDLs for 175 South California Water Bodies

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board have announced a series of pollution reduction plans designed to restore 175 water bodies in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. The pollution targets set by these plans are intended improve water quality, restore ecosystems, and protect the public by eliminating beach closures due to bacteria and improving the health of fish used for consumption.

Under the federal Clean Water Act, states are required to develop pollution reduction plans called Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for waters that are impaired by pollutants. These plans must be approved by the EPA. The announcement is a part of a 1999 legal settlement between EPA and local environmental groups in which EPA committed to approve LA Water Board-developed TMDLs or independently establish TMDLs for a list of water bodies in the Los Angeles Region. As a result of the consent decree, 47 TMDLs have been established for 175 water bodies that address numerous pollutant impairments including elevated bacteria, metals, pesticides, PCBs and trash. Additional TMDLs will be approved or established within the next year.

EPA established four TMDLs to address pollutants and impairments for the following water bodies:

- Long Beach City beaches and Los Angeles River estuary for bacteria
- Santa Monica Bay waters for DDTs and PCBs
- Ballona Creek wetlands for sediment and exotic vegetation
- Nine Los Angeles area urban lakes for toxics, trash, nitrogen and phosphorus pollution

In addition, the EPA has approved four LA Water Board-adopted TMDLs to address pollutants and impairments for the following water bodies:
- Los Angeles and Long Beach Harbors for toxic pollutants
- Machado Lake for toxic pollutants
- Los Angeles River for bacteria
- Santa Monica Bay for trash

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.

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