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Nutrient Monitoring on the Ohio River: Balancing Information Needs. The Ohio River Basin. 981 Miles long from Pittsburgh, PA, to Cairo, IL Drainage basin covers 204,000 sq. miles in 14 states Basin home to 25+ million people Drinking water for 3 million people

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Nutrient Monitoring on the Ohio River: Balancing Information Needs

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Nutrient Monitoring on the Ohio River: Balancing Information Needs


The Ohio River Basin


981 Miles long from Pittsburgh, PA, to Cairo, IL

Drainage basin covers 204,000 sq. miles in 14 states

Basin home to 25+ million people

Drinking water for 3 million people

120+ species of fish live in the Ohio River

20 dams and 49 power-generating facilities

230 million tons of cargo transported annually

Ohio River/ Basin Facts


About ORSANCO

  • Interstate Compact agency

  • Member states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia.

  • 3 Commissioners per state plus 3 federal


Authority: Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Compact

  • The Compact is incorporated in the laws of each of the member states.

  • The Compact is also incorporated in Federal law.

  • The Compact was signed by the Governors and State Commissioners on June 30, 1948.


Guiding Principle: Wastes discharged in one state shall not harm the waters of another state.


Commission Structure

3 Commissioners per State = 24

3 Federal Commissioners = 3

Total Commissioners = 27

Standing

Committees

Special

Committees

Program Advisory

Committees

Advisory

Committees

ORSANCO Staff

Administrative

Technical

Public

Information


ORSANCO Commissioners Represent:

  • Municipal Utilities (4)

  • State/Fed environmental

    agencies (8)

  • Attorneys (4)

  • Elected Official (1)

  • Environmental

    consultants (3)

  • Educational institutions (1)

  • Industry (1)


Current Program Areas

  • Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment

  • Biological Studies

  • Spill Detection and Response

  • Pollution Control Standards

  • Public Involvement


Monitoring/Assessment Requirements of the Ohio River VWS Compact

  • No specific mention

  • Article I sets water quality goals for interstate waters, pledges states to work cooperatively to reach them.

  • Article VI sets water quality requirements for intrastate waters.

  • Implied need – status and trends monitoring/assessment.


Monitoring/Assessment Requirements of the Ohio River VWS Compact

  • Article VIII charges the Commission to study the pollution problems of the District.

  • Implied need - any monitoring/assessment effort that identifies causes of water quality problems.


Current Monitoring and Assessment Activities

  • Monitoring of the Ohio River on behalf of the states

  • Biennial water quality assessment (305[b])

  • Special studies as directed –currently wet weather studies, biological criteria development


Routine Monitoring Programs

  • Bimonthly ambient monitoring

  • Bacteria and Dissolved Oxygen

  • Fish Population studies

  • Macroinvertebrate sampling

  • Fish Tissue analyses


ORSANCO Nutrient Related Activities

  • Algae and Nutrient Monitoring

  • Nutrient Criteria Development

  • Participation in Gulf Hypoxia Meetings

  • Nutrient Loading Project

  • Organize and coordinate Ohio River Sub Basin Committee


Algae Monitoring

  • Taste and Odor problems in drinking water supplies

  • Need for consistent data

  • Cooperative sampling with water utilities


Nutrient Criteria Development

  • Need for cause (nutrient) and effect (algae, chlorophyll a) data

  • Desire for multiple observations to define relationships


Current Algae/ Nutrient Monitoring Program

  • Cooperative monitoring by ten Ohio River drinking water utilities.

  • Samples collected two times per month.

  • Analyses for algae, chlorophyll a, turbidity, total P, TKN, ammonia N, nitrite + nitrate N.


Ecoregions of the Mainstem

TN – 2.18 mg/L

TP – 0.076 mg/L

TN – 0.31 mg/L

TP – 0.010 mg/L

TN – 0.69 mg/L

TP – 0.037 mg/L


Average Phosphorous Concentrations

Default USEPA Criteria

Ecoregion VI – 0.076 mg/L

Ecoregion IX – 0.037 mg/L

Ecoregion XI – 0.010 mg/L

River-wide Average

TP = 0.15 mg/L

0.11 mg/L

0.12 mg/L

0.10 mg/L

0.18 mg/L

0.16 mg/L

0.25 mg/L

0.11 mg/L

0.11 mg/L

0.15 mg/L

0.24 mg/L


Average Nitrogen Concentrations

Default USEPA Criteria

Ecoregion VI – 2.18 mg/L

Ecoregion IX – 0.69 mg/L

Ecoregion XI – 0.31 mg/L

River-wide Average

TN = 1.50 mg/L

1.50 mg/L

1.56 mg/L

1.22 mg/L

1.44 mg/L

1.67 mg/L

2.22 mg/L

1.36 mg/L

1.68 mg/L

1.94 mg/L

1.15 mg/L


Wheeling, WV


Wheeling, WV


ORSANCO Participation in Gulf Hypoxia Deliberations

  • Attended meetings on behalf of member states since 1995.

  • Have attended all Task Force meetings.

  • Full Commission met in conjunction with Task Force in 2002.

  • Received funding for 1st year of Sub Basin Committee operation in June, 2005.


Actions Assigned to Sub Basin Committees

Develop strategies for nutrient reduction for each sub-basin

Reduce loadings from point sources

Increase assistance to agricultural producers/ businesses for implementation of best management practices


Total N Yield Delivered to the Gulf of Mexico


Tributary Nitrogen Loads


Estimated peak season total nitrogen loads on selected tributaries (lbs/day/sq.mi.)


Information Needs for Gulf Action Plan

  • Quantify Ohio River nutrient loading to the Mississippi over time.

  • Quantify tributary loads for prioritization.

  • Track tributary conditions to assess program effectiveness


Monitoring Program Design Questions

  • Can current program meet Gulf Action Plan needs?

  • Can resources be shifted away from criteria development?

  • Role of probabalistic design


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