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Water Quality Standards, TMDLs and Bioassessment. Tom Porta, P.E. Nevada Division of Environmental Protection Bureau of Water Quality Planning. Clean Water Act . to… “restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation’s waters”… This is accomplished through

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water quality standards tmdls and bioassessment

Water Quality Standards, TMDLs and Bioassessment

Tom Porta, P.E.

Nevada Division of Environmental Protection

Bureau of Water Quality Planning

clean water act
Clean Water Act

to… “restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation’s waters”…

  • This is accomplished through
    • Development and implementation of Water Quality Standards (WQS) to protect the beneficial uses
    • Monitoring for compliance with the WQS
    • Restoration of Nevada water-ways
water quality standards
Water Quality Standards
  • Traditionally based on Water Chemistry
    • Nutrients
    • Metals
    • Physical Parameters
      • Dissolved Oxygen, pH, Temperature
  • Water chemistry should not be separated from habitat integrity: NV began (2000) monitoring biological and physical habitat characteristics
water quality standards1
Water Quality Standards
  • Established for Major Water-Ways
    • Snake Basin, Truckee, Tahoe, Walker, Carson, Virgin, Muddy & Colorado Rivers
  • Criteria based on the Beneficial Uses
    • Municipal/Domestic/Industrial Water Supply
    • Irrigation/Stock Watering
    • Recreation – Contact, Non Contact
    • Propagation of Wildlife
    • Aquatic Life
water quality standards2
Water Quality Standards
  • Development of Numeric Standards
    • Recommended criteria developed by EPA for the protection of the beneficial use(s)
      • e.g. Iron (1000 µg/l aquatic life)
      • EPA criteria is generally based on laboratory toxicological testing
beneficial use criteria
Beneficial Use Criteria
  • State can either

Implement the EPA recommended criteria and establish the standard

Or

Develop their own numeric standard, EPA approval required (e.g. Walker Lake pH)

what happens when the water quality standards are not met
What Happens when the Water Quality Standards are not Met?
  • Monitoring data is compared to the WQSs
    • Various sources of data are used
  • Listing methodology for the CWA 303(d) List
    • When 10% of the samples are out of compliance with the WQS, that river section is listed on the CWA 303(d) List of Impaired Waters*
authority
Authority
  • Only the State and approved Tribes have the authority to establish Water Quality Standards

And

  • Only the State and approved Tribes have the authority to define and list impaired waters
303 d listings for the truckee river 2002
303(d) Listings for the Truckee River 2002
  • Calif. Stateline to E. McCarran Bridge
    • Temperature
  • E. McCarran Bridge to Lockwood
    • Total Phosphorus
  • Lockwood to Derby Dam
    • Total Phosphorus and Turbidity
  • Derby Dam to the Reservation
    • Total Phosphorus, Turbidity & Temperature
from 303 d listing to tmdls
From 303(d) Listing to TMDLs
  • Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)
    • Required by the CWA to develop a numeric allowable load of pollutant necessary to meet WQS
    • TMDLs can be more than a calculated numeric load number
      • River miles restored
      • Percent shading
      • Bio-diversity
how does water quality standards 303 d listing and tmdls relate to bioassessment

How does Water Quality Standards, 303(d) Listing and TMDLs relate to Bioassessment???

Bioassessment can include the fishery, macroinvertebrates, periphyton, chemical and physical habitat and other biological parameters in aquatic systems

the application of bioassessments
The Application of Bioassessments
  • Assist in Defining and Developing BeneficialUsesfor WQSs
      • Aquatic Life is a beneficial use for a majority of Nevada waterways
        • Aquatic life requirements need to be better defined
        • Present or absence of the beneficial use: LCT present or absent?
application of bioassessments con t
Application of Bioassessments (con’t….)
  • To determine if water chemistry standards are appropriate to protect aquatic life
    • Is the numeric WQS Correct for the Arid West Environment?
  • To support/not-support or partially support chemical parameter listing on the 303(d) List
application of bioassessments con t1
Application of Bioassessments (con’t….)
  • Target/Goal for TMDL Implementation
    • Example: Goal of 20% increase in Stoneflies abundance 2 years after the TMDL implementation
  • Water body assessments: aquatic and riparian health
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of restoration projects
  • Provide additional “Candidate” beneficial uses
  • What’s currently in the system and what has the potential to be there given constraints?
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