Missouri Impaired Waters Listing and Public Comment Period
Under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act (CWA), states, territories, and authorized tribes are required to develop lists of impaired waters. These are waters that are too polluted or otherwise degraded to meet the water quality standards set by states, territories, or authorized tribes. The law requires that these jurisdictions establish priority rankings for waters on the lists and develop TMDLs for these waters. A Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still safely meet water quality standards.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) submitted its 2014 impaired waters list to EPA for review and approval. The CWA and federal regulations require EPA to review the states’ list to determine if the state reasonably considered existing and readily available water quality-related data and information, and reasonably identified waters to be listed.
EPA’S DECISION ON MISSOURI’S LIST
EPA has released its initial decision on Missouri’s 2014 list of impaired waters. EPA is approving Missouri’s listing of 265 waters as impaired, and the removal from the list of 35 other water bodies.
In addition to the water bodies identified by the state for inclusion or removal from the list, EPA used benchmarks developed and used by MDNR to assess additional water bodies in the state for toxic sediments. Data collected by EPA as part of its Urban Waters sampling effort was assessed against these benchmarks. EPA identified 12 additional water bodies as impaired to the state during Missouri’s 303(d) public notice period. As the water bodies were not included on the state’s submittal, EPA proposes to add them to the state’s list.
EPA’s Decision Letter, which explains the Agency’s rationale for adding these water bodies to the list, is available at:
PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD
EPA’s proposed listing is subject to a 60-day public comment period.
The public comment period on EPA’s proposed additions to Missouri’s list of impaired waters will run from August 27, 2014 through October 27, 2014.
A link to the public notice, with information on how to submit comments, is available at www.epa.gov/region7/public_notices.
HOW ARE WATER BODIES ADDED AND REMOVED FROM THE LIST?
A water body is placed on the impaired waters list when monitoring finds that pollutant levels prevent the lake, river, or stream from attaining its beneficial uses. A water body can be removed from the list if it meets water quality standards or if a pollution reduction plan for a water body is approved by EPA.
WHAT HAPPENS IF A WATER BODY IS PLACED ON THE LIST?
The state of Missouri, in cooperation with local stakeholders, will develop a plan to return the water to a non-impaired condition. This can take the form of establishing a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and/or implementation of local controls and best management practices to reduce the load of pollutants in the water and sediments return to non-toxic levels.
IS THERE A HEALTH CONCERN DUE TO LISTING?
A listing on Missouri’s impaired waters list does not necessarily indicate any health threat posed by the water. A water body may be impaired for one of a variety of uses, such as drinking, recreation, or aquatic life, while remaining viable for other uses.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Please see the FAQs below for common questions regarding PAH contamination and what the addition to Missouri’s impaired waters list means.
Questions or requests for information can be submitted to:
EPA Region 7
11201 Renner Blvd.
Lenexa, KS 66219
Toll free: (800) 223-0425
- What are Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)? PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) are chemicals composed of two or more fused aromatic or benzene rings. As the molecular weight of this class of compounds increases so does their toxicity. Many are identified as toxic pollutants on EPA’s list of priority pollutants.
- From where do PAHs come? PAHs are formed during incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons and other organic materials. Major sources include gasoline and diesel engines, coal-, oil- and wood-burning stoves and furnaces, incinerators, coke ovens, and asphalt processing and use. They also are found in tobacco smoke and food prepared by smoking or cooking over charcoal. Studies by the United States Geologic Survey and EPA have identified coal tar-based sealants as a major source in urban settings.
- What does this mean to me (my family)? The proposed listing by EPA only applies to the toxic effect of PAHs on aquatic life. Human health issues were not assessed in undertaking the action regarding these water bodies. For information concerning human health issues you should seek information from your local city or county health department.
- Why is it important in aquatic sediments? PAHs adsorb strongly to sediments and particulate matter. When adsorbed to sediments biodegradation, photodegradation, and evaporation may be slowed. These compounds are toxic to aquatic life, particularly those in contact with sediments. Some – Benzo(a)pyrene, as an example – can also bioconcentrate in aquatic organisms that are unable to metabolize it.
- How did EPA determine these water bodies should be listed? EPA used benchmarks developed and used by the state of Missouri to assess water bodies in the state for toxic sediments. Data collected by EPA as part of its Urban Waters sampling effort was assessed against these benchmarks. EPA identified these water bodies as being impaired to the state during Missouri’s section 303(d) public notice period. As the water bodies were not included on the state’s submittal, EPA proposes to add them to the state’s list.
- What will happen if this water body is placed on the state’s section 303(d) list? After a water is identified as impaired, the state of Missouri in cooperation with local stakeholders develops a plan to return the water to a non-impaired condition. This can take the form of a Total Maximum Daily Load and/or implementation of local controls and best management practices to reduce the load of PAHs until the levels in sediment return to nontoxic concentrations. The priority for these actions is determined by the state, not EPA. Similarly, EPA does not implement controls to reduce pollutant loads.