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Watershed-Based Planning. A Blueprint for Action!. Statutory and regulatory context. Clean Water Act Water quality standards KPDES discharge permits Stream & wetland “filling” Safe Drinking Water Act Source water protection Public health codes Residential wastewater Local Codes

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Watershed based planning

Watershed-Based Planning

A Blueprint for Action!

Statutory and regulatory context
Statutory and regulatory context

  • Clean Water Act

    • Water quality standards

    • KPDES discharge permits

    • Stream & wetland “filling”

  • Safe Drinking Water Act

    • Source water protection

  • Public health codes

    • Residential wastewater

  • Local Codes

    • Planning/zoning, subdivision, etc.

Clean water act
Clean Water Act (Montgomery County)

Clean water act part i technology based
Clean Water Act Part I: (Montgomery County)Technology Based

  • Focus on point source (PS) discharges to surface waters, through NPDES permitting

  • Limits apply regardless of condition of receiving water, or relative contribution from the source

  • Pollutant levels in discharges determined by technical/economic feasibility

  • Same limits placed on all PS within each industrial grouping (50 categories/plus subcategories)

    • Generally, municipal sewage plants must achieve discharge equal to “secondary treatment”

Cost effectiveness analysis
Cost-Effectiveness Analysis (Montgomery County)

COST ($)


Treatment Level



Kpdes permitting under sec 402
KPDES Permitting under Sec. 402 (Montgomery County)

  • Illegal for point source (pipe, ditch, channel, tunnel, vessel, rolling stock, or other manmade conveyance) to discharge pollutants to surface waters without a permit

  • Permit is a license granting permission to discharge

    • Not a right: permit is revocable “for cause” (eg, non-compliance)

    • No guarantee against more stringent future requirements

Kpdes program coverage
KPDES Program: Coverage (Montgomery County)

  • Industrial and municipal wastewater

  • Industrial, urban, and construction-related storm water runoff

  • Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs)

  • Active, inactive, and some abandoned mines

  • Discharges from RCRA remedial action activity meeting point source definition

Kpdes stormwater covers
KPDES stormwater covers: (Montgomery County)

  • Construction sites with a disturbed area of one acre or more

    • General permit, BMP plan, inspections required

  • Some cities with municipally-owned separate storm sewer systems

    • 10,000 population or more

    • Must develop program with public education & involvement, construction site controls, post-construction stormwater management, pollution prevention, illicit discharge detection and elimination.

Watershed based planning

Direct and Indirect Discharges (Montgomery County)






Kpdes permits
KPDES Permits (Montgomery County)

  • Individual permits

    • All point sources not covered by general permits must obtain (no de minimis exemption)

    • Required to submit detailed permit application form, including data on actual/expected levels of pollutants in discharge

  • General permits (many sources)

    • Usually similar sources

    • Usually same requirements for all

    • Minimal reporting

    • Notice of intent vs. passive coverage

Kpdes permits elements
KPDES Permits: Elements (Montgomery County)

  • Effluent limits

    • Limits must ensure meeting WQS

    • Maximum daily and monthly average limits required for most

    • POTWs have weekly average instead of daily maximum

    • Expressed as mass–directly/indirectly

  • Best management practices

    • Production process modifications

    • Operational changes

    • Materials substitution

    • Materials and/or water conservation

  • Compliance schedule (shouldn’t extend beyond 5-year permit term

Kpdes permits elements cont
KPDES Permits: Elements (cont.) (Montgomery County)

  • Monitoring requirements

    • Self-monitoring by permittee

    • Traditionally effluents only, increasingly ambient, too

    • Specifies parameters and tests

    • Specifies frequency

  • Reporting requirements

    • Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs) sent to the permitting agency

      • Often monthly but sometimes less frequently

  • Reopener provisions

  • For POTWs only: Pretreatment program and sludge management requirements

Clean water act part ii water quality standards

Clean Water Act Part II: Secondary TreatmentWater Quality Standards

  • What are you using it for?

  • What criteria support that use?

  • How will you keep it from degrading?

Water quality standards
Water Quality Standards Secondary Treatment

  • State’s yardstick to measure health of waters

  • Three key elements of WQSs:

    • Designated uses

    • Water quality criteria

    • Antidegradation


Kentucky use designations
Kentucky Use Designations Secondary Treatment

  • Aquatic life support – warmwater & coldwater aquatic habitat

  • Primary contact recreation – swimming

  • Secondary contact recreation – boating and fishing

  • Fish consumption – eating fish

  • Drinking water – domestic water supply

Wqs water quality criteria wqc
WQS: Water Quality Criteria (WQC) Secondary Treatment

  • Consistent scientifically with protecting all designated uses (DUs)

  • Basic types of criteria

    • Narrative/numeric

    • Water column/sediment/

      fish tissue

  • Categories of criteria

    • Aquatic life

      • Pollutant-specific/aquatic community indices

    • Human health (drinking/fish consumption)

    • Wildlife (semiaquatic/food chain effects)

Wqs narrative criteria
WQS: Narrative Criteria Secondary Treatment

  • Waters must be "free from"

    • Putrescent or otherwise objectionable bottom deposits

    • Oil, scum, and floating debris in amounts that are unsightly

    • Nuisance levels of odor, color, or other conditions

    • Undesirable or nuisance aquatic life

    • Substances in amounts toxic to humans or aquatic life

Usually apply to all waters, regardless of use designation

Wqs numeric criteria
WQS: Numeric Criteria Secondary Treatment

  • Parameter-specific: DO, temp., turbidity, N, P, Cu, dioxin, etc.

    • Level/concentration: 1 mg/L, 5 mg/kg

    • Duration:

      • Acute: instantaneous, 1-hour, 1-day

      • Chronic: 4-day, 7-day, 30-day

    • Recurrence interval: 1 year, 3 years

Watershed based planning

SECOND Secondary Treatment

















Watershed based planning

Egg Secondary Treatment


Most Sensitive




Acute toxicity data
Acute Toxicity Data Secondary Treatment

96-hour LC50


0.0 μg/L 25 μg/L 50 μg/L 100 μg/L 200 μg/L 500 μg/L

Control 1 2 3 4 5

96-hr LC50 = 100 μg/L

Biological criteria
Biological criteria Secondary Treatment

Good Mid-Range Poor

Wqs biological criteria
WQS: Biological Criteria Secondary Treatment

  • Applicable to aquatic life, not human health

  • Require field sampling and studies

  • Fish, macroinvertebrates, plants, etc.

    • Number of individuals, species, categories

    • Mass of species, feeding guilds, trophic levels

    • Specialists verses generalists

    • Tolerant verses intolerant

  • Compare conditions at “study site” with relatively unimpacted “reference site”

Wqs antidegradation provisions
WQS: antidegradation provisions Secondary Treatment

  • Purpose: Prevent deterioration of existing levels of good water quality

  • Generally applies parameter-by-parameter, not waterbody-by-waterbody

  • Three tiers of protection

    • Tiers 1 and 2 apply to all waters with some features at or better than WQS

    • Tier 3 applies only to specially classified waters

Tier 1 the absolute floor
Tier 1: the “absolute floor” Secondary Treatment

  • Cannot allow loss of any “existing” use

  • Cannot allow water quality to drop below levels needed to maintain existing use

  • Applies to all waters, regardless of use designation

Tier 2 use of available assimilative capacity not a right
Tier 2: use of available assimilative capacity not a right Secondary Treatment

  • “Brakes” slide from really good WQ to barely at WQS by saying can’t degrade WQ unless:

    • Allowing lower WQ is “necessary to accommodate important economic or social development”

    • Point sources are meeting relevant technology-based limits

    • Have “achieved all cost-effective and reasonable best management practices for nonpoint sources”

    • Go through public review and comment process

Tier 3 outstanding waters protected
Tier 3: outstanding waters protected Secondary Treatment

  • Applies only to waters classified as Outstanding National Resource Waters (ONRW)

    • This classification “overlays” designated uses

    • Candidates include, but are not limited to, “waters of National and State parks and wildlife refuges and waters of exceptional recreational or ecological significance”

  • Only minimal, or significant but short-term, decreases in WQ are allowed

303 d process establishing tmdls
303(d) process: establishing TMDLs Secondary Treatment

A TMDL is. . . .

  • A strategy for achieving WQS

  • Based on the relationship between pollutant sources and the condition of a water body

  • The amount of a specific pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still meet WQS

  • Describes an allowable load and allocates it among point sources and nonpoint sources (plus a margin of error).

    TMDL = ΣWLAi + ΣLAi + MOS

Tmdl process requirements
TMDL process requirements Secondary Treatment

  • Include public in the process!

  • Submit final TMDL, with loading allocations and supporting information, to USEPA

  • Review conducted by USEPA

    • If approved, begin implementation

    • If not approved, USEPA develops TMDL and finalizes within 30 days

  • Provide “reasonable assurance” load reductions can be achieved

Leading causes sources of impairment 2004 305 b report
Leading causes & sources of impairment [2004 305(b) Report] Secondary Treatment

  • Causes

    • Siltation (sediment)

    • Pathogens (bacteria)

    • Other habitat alterations

    • PCBs

    • Organic enrichment / low DO

  • Sources

    • Unknown

    • Agriculture

    • Habitat modification

    • Resource extraction

    • Urban runoff / storm sewers