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Water Quality Science and Management in the Delaware Estuary. Thomas J. Fikslin, Ph.D. San Francisco Estuary Institute Annual Meeting October 7, 2008. Themes. Background Delaware River Watershed Management Issues National Water Quality Monitoring Network Delaware River Basin Pilot

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Presentation Transcript
slide1

Water Quality Science and Management in the

Delaware Estuary

Thomas J. Fikslin, Ph.D.

San Francisco Estuary InstituteAnnual MeetingOctober 7, 2008

themes
Themes
  • Background
    • Delaware River Watershed
    • Management Issues
  • National Water Quality Monitoring Network
    • Delaware River Basin Pilot
  • Achieving water quality standards for PCBs
slide3

Basin Facts

  • Largest un-dammed river east of the Mississippi – 330 miles
  • 13,539 square mile drainage
  • 17 million water users
  • 216 tributaries
  • Three reaches included in National Wild and Scenic River System
  • One of the world’s largest freshwater tidal estuaries
  • Delaware Bay- 782 sq. miles
management issues
Contaminants

Tidal Wetlands

Ecologically significant species and their habitats

Freshwater Inflow

Physical/Chemical/Biological Linkages

Food Web Dynamics

Nutrient Enrichment

Ecosystem functions

Habitat Restoration

Non-indigenous Species

Management Issues
themes1
Themes
  • Background
    • Delaware River Watershed
    • Management Issues
  • National Water Quality Monitoring Network
    • Delaware River Basin Pilot
  • Achieving water quality standards for PCBs
slide6

DRB Pilot Study Area Boundary

  • Entire Delaware Basin
  • 4 states—NY, PA, NJ, DE
  • Several Physiographic Provinces and Ecoregions
  • Major inflows—Lehigh, Schuylkill, Maurice, C&D Canal
  • Plans for enhanced coastal endurance line
gap analysis all pilots
Gap Analysis – All Pilots
  • Monitoring in Pilot Studies does not fully meet the Network design
  • Gaps in number of sites, sampling frequency, and need for additional analytes
  • Need for local flexibility in adding tributary rivers (Delaware and Lake Michigan)
fy 08 plans delaware estuary and bay
FY 08 PlansDelaware Estuary and Bay
  • Add nutrient monitoring to existing program in river, estuary, and Bay.
  • Improve the watershed-to-ocean observing system web site to facilitate data sharing.
  • Continue to investigate Emerging Contaminants (PBDEs, PFOAs/PFOSs, PPCPs).
  • Establish capacity to monitor wetland condition.
themes2
Themes
  • Background
    • Delaware River Watershed
    • Management Issues
  • National Water Quality Monitoring Network
    • Delaware River Basin Pilot
  • Achieving water quality standards for PCBs
background
Background
  • Delaware Estuary portion of the Basin is 133 miles long and is bordered by DE, NJ and PA.
  • It consists of 5 water quality management units called Zones.
  • EPA Regions II & III establish Stage 1 TMDLs for Zones 2 – 5 in December 2003.
  • EPA Regions II & III establish Stage 1 TMDL for Zone 6 in December 2006.
principal mass loadings and fluxes

Upstream Boundary Load

Delaware River at Trenton, NJ

Upstream Boundary Load

Schuylkill River

Atmospheric

Gas phase

Contaminated Site Loads

flux

Atmospheric

Tributary Loads

Non-Point Source Loads

Wet / Dry

C&D Canal

Deposition

(tidal boundary)

Point Discharge Loads

CSOs

LEGEND

External Loads

Sediment

(forcing functions)

Flux

Fluxes and tidal boundaries

Sediment

Ocean Boundary

Mouth of Delaware Bay

Principal Mass Loadings and Fluxes
achieving pcb wq criteria
Achieving PCB WQ Criteria
  • Reductions in PCB loadings will not immediately result in lower ambient water concentrations or in reduced tissue levels of PCBs in resident fish species.
  • This is due to the continuing flux of PCBs from the sediments to the water column. As solids uncontaminated by PCBs settle to the bottom, this flux will ultimately reach equilibrium with the water column.
  • A long-term strategy for permitting point source discharges and addressing non-point sources such as contaminated sites and air sources is needed to ensure continued progress in reducing PCBs.
the problem
The Problem
  • Federal regulations require permits to be consistent with WLAs established with TMDLs, and achieve the underlying WQ criteria within a permit cycle (5 years).
  • The Concept: WQS Implementation Plan
    • Under the WQS regulations at 40 CFR 131.13, states may, at their discretion, adopt policies affecting the application and implementationof designated uses and criteria.
    • States could adopt a “standards implementation plan” as a component of their WQS to address long-term attainability issues.
how it works
How it Works
  • Lead by DRBC, monitoring using Method 1668A and Pollutant Minimization Plans were required following the establishment of the TMDLs.
  • For selected pollutants and water bodies, a WQS Implementation Plan (WQSIP) would be required under regulations to be adopted by DRBC.
  • The plan would allow phased attainment of a WQ criterion by specifying numeric and narrative restoration objectives for one or more restoration periods. Periods of 10 years in length are proposed.
are we making progress
Are We Making Progress?
  • Progress in achieving the PCB WQ criterion is expected to be slow due to the modulating effects of estuary sediments and the adaptive management approach of identifying sources and reducing PCB loadings.
  • Adoption of the Stage 1 TMDLs and regulations requiring point sources to conduct Pollutant Minimization Plans (PMPs) may be driving source reduction.
relative source contributions
Relative Source Contributions
  • Point Source Discharges:
      • Although 128 discharges are currently being evaluated for PCB loadings, 95% of the loading is contributed by a relatively few discharges (16).
relative source contributions1
Relative Source Contributions
  • Point Source Discharges:
      • Although 128 discharges are currently being evaluated for PCB loadings, 95% of the loading is contributed by a relatively few discharges (16).
      • Loadings calculated from monitoring data collected during 2005 – 2006 indicate that 90 of 108 discharges have reduced loadings compared to Stage 1 loadings.
slide22

n = 90

n = 18

addressing non point sources
Addressing Non-Point Sources
  • The WQSIP would also identify reduction strategies and measures for other source categories such as tributaries, contaminated sites, non-point source runoff, and air deposition.
  • Recent Initiatives:
    • Passive Air Sampling – to identify the location of air sources of PCBs.
    • Refining Loadings from Contaminated Sites – thru application of RUSLE2.
passive air sampling
Passive Air Sampling
  • In cooperation with Rutgers University and EPA Region II, studies were initiated in 2005 to evaluate sampling techniques to identify air sources of PCBs.
  • 34 sites were sampled between March and June 2005.
  • 48 sites were sampled between March and June 2008 in a second survey.
summary
Summary
  • DRBC, in cooperation with EPA Headquarters, Regions II & III, and state agencies are implementing PCB TMDLs by:
    • Requiring low level monitoring and PMPs, and
    • Adopting a revised PCB criterion, and regulatory language for an adaptive implementation approach within the framework of the CWA to achieve WQS for hydrophobic contaminants like PCBs.
  • The cornerstone of this approach is a WQS implementation plan that addresses long-term attainment of WQS through point and non-point source controls over multiple permit cycles.
slide28
Contact Information:

[email protected]

(609) 883-9500, ext.253

Information on the TMDLs, model development, sampling and analytical information, and PMP requirements and resources are available on the DRBC website at:

http://www.state.nj.us/drbc

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