EPA Approves Kansas and Iowa Degraded Water Lists
LENEXA, KAN. (MAY 3, 2022) – The EPA has approved the 2022 lists of impaired waters from Kansas and Iowa. A body of water is placed on a list of degraded waters when monitoring reveals that pollutant levels prevent the lake, river or stream from achieving its designated uses. Designated uses include human recreation, fish consumption and the maintenance of healthy aquatic life.
“Kansas and Iowa’s 2022 lists will help them set priorities for improving water quality in the years to come,” said EPA Region 7 Water Division Director Jeff Robichaud. . “The Clean Water Act was passed nearly 50 years ago, and while we’ve made progress since then, a lot of work remains to bring all waters up to water quality standards and further reduce the amount of pollution reaching our waters.
One of the most important aspects of the Clean Water Act is the requirement submit a report describing the surface water quality of a State and a list of all impaired water bodies. Egood two years, each state must provide the opportunity to engage the public through a public notice and comment processby. When the conditions for public participation are met, a State will then submit this report and the list of impaired waters at the EPA.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, which was created in 1972 to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation’s waters. The Act and its related regulations that have been established over the past five decades have created a series of programs that protect local waterways through, among other things, prohibiting the discharge of pollutants into waters without regulated permits; establishing water quality criteria to protect designated uses; and the development of diffuse pollution control programmes.
Local waters have benefited from the construction of treatment plants to reduce toxic pollutants discharged from industries and private treatment facilities; water monitoring and sampling that allowed states to share information about water quality and create plans to improve it; and establishing best management practices to prevent stormwater from overflowing sewers and allodischarge untreated sewage to reach streams and rivers.
This month, the EPA also issued a memo, Accelerate the reduction of nutrient pollution in the country’s waters, which strongly encourages states to rely on numerical nutrient targets for Clean Water Act Section 303(d) listings (impaired waters) to ensure the protection and restoration of state waters. More than 26,000 water bodies with nutrient-related deficiencies are still on national lists of impaired waters that do not yet have total maximum daily load (TMDL).
Once a water body is included on a list of degraded waters, the development of a TMDL – a budget for water pollution – is necessary. TMDLs set the maximum amount of a pollutant that a body of water can receive while still meeting water quality standards. TMDLs also guidedecision making on how to improve water quality by looking at all the different sources of pollution. Many completed TMDLs have not been fully implemented to date.
“Another great resource for learning more about water quality in a neighborhood is the EPA’s How’s My Waterway website, where you can learn more about water in your yard or anywhere. anywhere in the country by simply typing in an address or the name of a body of water,” Robichaud noted. .
The EPA’s April 29, 2022 decision letter provides a more detailed description of the EPA’s review and the basis for this action. The decision letter, including the 2022 impaired waters list, is available on the How’s My Waterway website (under the status pages for Kansas and Iowa).
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