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2016 Draft Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report; Availability for Public Comment

[46 Pa.B. 4264]
[Saturday, July 30, 2016]

 The Department of Environmental Protection (Department) is providing for public comment its draft 2016 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report (Integrated Report). The Integrated Report includes both a narrative description of the Commonwealth's water quality management programs (formerly the Federal Clean Water Act section 305(b) Report) and waterbody-specific lists depicting the status of Commonwealth surface waters as required by section 303(d) of the Federal Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C.A. § 1313(d)).

 Section 303(d) of the Federal Clean Water Act and 40 CFR Part 130 (relating to water quality planning and management) require states to identify waters which would be impaired, even after the appropriate pollution control technology has been applied to point sources and required best management practices are in place for nonpoint sources. The Integrated Report establishes five categories for listing waterbodies. Waterbodies that do not meet water quality standards and that require a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) are placed on Category 5 of the Integrated Report waterbody list.

 For each waterbody in Category 5, the Commonwealth or, if requested, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must develop TMDL allocations. A TMDL is a calculation of the assimilative capacity of a waterbody to handle point and nonpoint pollutant loads without violating water quality standards. TMDLs also describe the conditions necessary to improve water quality. TMDLs are used to set limits in National Pollution Discharge Elimination System water quality permits and identify pollutant load reductions for nonpoint sources necessary to improve and protect water quality. When a TMDL is approved by the EPA for a waterbody, that waterbody listing is removed from Category 5 and placed in Category 4a.

 In addition to comments of a general nature on the Integrated Report, the Department is seeking comment on the eight waters listed as high priorities for TMDL development and the 16 waters selected to be restored through alternatives to TMDLs. These waters can be found on page 27 of the report. Descriptions of the waterbodies, causes of impairment and reason for selection are included.

 Waterbody assessment and compilation of the Integrated Report is an ongoing process. The Department will continue to verify the quality of data used in this process and, as needed, will publish supplements to the Integrated Report for public review and comment.

 The draft 2016 Integrated Report is available on the Department's web site at www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/eComment.

 The Department invites public comments on the draft Integrated Report and will accept comments through Monday, September 12, 2016. Comments submitted by facsimile will not be accepted. Comments, including comments submitted by e-mail, must include the originator's name and address. Commentators are urged to submit comments using the Department's online eComment system at www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/eComment. Written comments should be submitted by e-mail to ecomment@pa.gov or by mail to the Department of Environmental Protection, Policy Office, Rachel Carson State Office Building, P.O. Box 2063, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2063.

 Persons in need of accommodations as provided for in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 should contact Gary Walters at (717) 787-9637 or through the Pennsylvania AT&T Relay Service at (800) 654-5984 (TTD) to discuss how the Department may accommodate their needs.

PATRICK McDONNELL, 
Acting Secretary

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 16-1315. Filed for public inspection July 29, 2016, 9:00 a.m.]



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