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EPA Announces Release of Final Recommended Water Quality Criteria and New Resources to Address Nutrient Pollution in Lakes and Reservoirs

EPA has announced the release of its final recommended Nutrient Criteria for Lakes and Reservoirs, along with a technical support document and a Tracking CyanoHABs Story Map to help states address nutrient pollution and harmful algal blooms (HABs).

Final Recommended Nutrient Criteria: The Final recommended “Ambient Water Quality Criteria to Address Nutrient Pollution in Lakes and Reservoirs,” are based on stressor-response models for total nitrogen and total phosphorus concentrations associated with protection of designated uses for aquatic life, recreation, and protection of drinking water sources. The models are based on national data and provide the ability for states to incorporate local data to develop numeric nutrient criteria for site specific conditions. ASDWA worked with the Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA) to submit joint comments on the draft criteria in August 2020.

Technical Support Document: EPA’s “Final Technical Support Document: Implementing the 2019 Recommended Recreational Water Quality Criteria or Swimming Advisories for Microcystins and Cylindrospermopsin,” is intended to support state adoption of EPA’s 2019 recommended criteria for the two cyanotoxins into their water quality standards or use the criteria in swimming advisory programs. The document also supports state actions to identify and list impaired waters and develop TMDLs through other Clean Water Act programs.

Tracking CyanoHABs StoryMap: EPA’s new ArcGIS StoryMap provides information for the public to learn about and track reported freshwater cyanobacterial HABs (cyanoHABs) across the US. The story map includes advisory and closure information from state environmental and health agencies, and links to resources on HABs causes and effects, preparedness and response, lab analysis, and more.

For more information, read the EPA press release and visit the EPA website.