FRANKFORT, Ky. (6/24/13) – The Kentucky Division of Water is working to better engage public participation in the process of improving impaired waters in the Commonwealth by expanding information about those waters on its website and inviting public enrollment in an impaired waters distribution list.
The Clean Water Act requires each state to assess its waters and to periodically identify specific waters where designated uses are not being met because of impairments to water quality. Designated uses include cold and warm water aquatic habitat, swimming, fishing, water supply and outstanding state resource water. The Clean Water Act also requires the state to prioritize the list of impaired waters, and to develop a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), which is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a water body can receive and still meet water quality standards.
On March 22, 2013, Gov. Steve Beshear signed into law House Bill 378 that requires DOW to be more transparent and to encourage more public participation in the processes of assessing waters, listing these waters as impaired, and in the development of TMDLs.
HB 378 outlines DOW’s requirements regarding transparency and participation in the assessment, listing and TMDL processes, including:
• Develop a website that lists all waters that have been placed on the list of impaired waters, as reported to the U.S. Congress every two years, and provide information regarding the method by which the DOW determined that the water is “impaired,” and provide information regarding the method by which the DOW is developing TMDLs.
• Develop a system to notify interested parties of the proposed listing of a water on the impaired waters (303[d]) list.
• Develop an annual report to the General Assembly on TMDL development for the following year.
• Provide public notice of the removal of water bodies from the impaired waters list.
A TMDL also refers to a written report that includes detailed assessment information of site-specific impaired waters, watershed information, data analysis, the calculated amount of an allowable pollutant load and the allocation of the allowable load to sources. The TMDL may also include a plan to improve the water quality in the impaired stream upon completion, these reports are made available to the public for comment. Revisions to the reports may be made following the public comment period and before they are sent to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approval.
To learn more about HB 378, visit http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/13rs/hb378.htm. To learn more about the TMDL program, visit http://water.ky.gov/waterquality/Pages/TMDLProgram.aspx.
Information provided by Allison Fleck
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