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TMDL Stakeholders Workgroup

TMDL Stakeholders Workgroup Meeting Notes

Febuary 5, 2002 - 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Illinois EPA Office, Springfield

Meeting Notes (PDF version, 21 KB)

1. Purpose of the Workgroup

  • The purpose of this workgroup is to discuss TMDLs. This workgroup will replace the activities on TMDLs previously conducted by the Watershed Management Committee.

2. Status of TMDLs Now Underway

Presentation by Gary Eicken, IEPA

  • For E. Branch DuPage and Salt Creek we are still reviewing and going over implementation plan.
  • Are causes for impairment to W. Branch DuPage based on 303(d) list? They are based on the most recent data
  • What are we waiting for on the TMDLs for Salt Creek and West Branch?
    We are waiting on the final report from the consultant.

Presentation by Bill Ward, TetraTech

  • When will Governor Bond TMDL be submitted to USEPA and were the C-factors corrected? Gov. Bond will be submitted next month and the C-factors were corrected.
  • What is the difference in data between Governor Bond and Cedar Creek? Cedar Creek had limited data.
  • What do we do with comments that are made at public meetings? public hearings?
    We do consider comments that are made. For meetings, we do not have any rules that obligate us to document these comments and write responsiveness summaries. We are obligated to write responsiveness summaries for the public hearing.
  • There is not enough time for us to review the draft TMDL before the public hearing. There is a big gap between the first meeting and the draft TMDL. There needs to be a stronger relationship between the local people, the contractors, and IEPA. Anything you (IEPA) can do to increase participation is good.
    We are working on changing our meeting process by adding another meeting to get useful data and information earlier in the process.
  • Do all the TMDLs have to have implementation plans?
    No, only the ones that have to use old regulations (1992) from USEPA do not have to have an implementation plan. These are Cedar Creek and Governor Bond. All the others will have implementation plans.

Presentation by Ron French, CDM

Presentation by Dave Potts, Harza

  • Rayse Creek and the East Fork of the Kaskaskia River will have public hearings this spring
  • For Rayse Creek the contractors stated there was not enough data to determine impairment and that monitoring should be done to collect more. There were not any other contractors who made this comment. Were there enough data to do these TMDLs?
    Having enough data is a big problem. In the contracts we have right now, we cannot do any monitoring because it does not fit into the contract. We are now setting up a new process where we can do more monitoring if there are not enough data.
  • So for the first two rounds of TMDLs, old data has to be used?
    Yes, we can start our new process with the third round of TMDLs.
  • How can a contractor model with no data? We would like to determine if there are not enough data at the beginning.
    Models can only be chosen by the data provided. If we have more data, we can do more complex models. When a model is done, the data and source of data are provided.
  • Our (IEPA) goal is to produce credible plans for water quality and keep moving forward. We want to take time to develop a credible document.
  • The data does show impairment and violation of the standards. We may not have enough data to do a model, but there is impairment.
  • What about Cache River delisting?
    We do have statements on this and we will go through the delisting process.
  • How does IEPA adjust the TMDL?
    It depends on the information. We take a watershed approach; we look at most recent information to see if it needs to be delisted before we issue a contract. We do not do a gap analysis. For example, for the W. Branch DuPage, several wastewater plants and sanitary districts asked what they could do to be a part of this process. We set up an agreement, so they could do wet weather studies. One of the two wet weather events are done so far. We are working with them. They collect the samples and we pay for lab fees.

5. Changes in Contracts

Presentation by Gary Eicken

  • Are you going to specify data adequacy?
    We are seeing if there is enough data and how much is sufficient. It may be different in each watershed.
  • Are you going to have a flow chart like other states?
    We are still working on this. Contractors will help determine if enough info. If we do not have enough data in the next round of TMDLs, we will be able to stop and collect more.
  • If we are submitting information to the Agency via DMRs, is that in compliance/usable?
    It has to go through a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) first. USEPA is pushing us to use outside data. We have been using our data, but we are starting to use outside data. We will need to do QAPPs to use the data.
  • (DMR) Discharge monitoring data are probably good enough for QAPP, but receiving stream data is different.
  • Is the QAPP retroactive, can we use older data?
    Typically we use the data after the QAPP. We are talking two different processes, because we use the data for the 305(b) and you might want to use old data. We cannot use old data, just data after QAPP approval.
  • For each stage, is the same contractor used?
    No, we are trying to get it set up to flow smoothly.
  • Is there a public meeting after each stage and a hearing last? Is this taking place in the third round?
  • If there is impairment do you consider impairment and designated use?
    The list now is based on support of use. Our next list will have support for each separate use. We will look at specific use and the impairment. We will focus on the parameter causing the impact. On our next round we will be able to decide if a TMDL or a UAA is better for us to use.
  • Would the state consider reviewing existing WQS before stage one to make sure standards are correct before doing the work?
    That is the way we are setting it up right now. We must consider doing a TMDL because of the WQSs.
  • WQSs need to be updated.
    Part of the problem is we are mandated to do so many things. We do not disagree.
  • We know there will be changes to the UAA. Do not just wait for regulation. Think ahead.
    Yes, USEPA is developing UAA guidelines right now. This meeting is moving us forward.
  • Should we have a sub-group that deals with UAAs?
    Maybe there is a way the committee can provide us with flexibility.
  • We need to look back at how the standards were derived. We are making a big jump to link impairment and cause.
  • We are doing TMDLs based on impairment with no standards.
    We are making adjustments. We are trying to develop nutrient standards. This will have a big effect on future TMDLs.

3. Federal Regulatory Development and state needs

Presentation by Bruce Yurdin

  • Are you going to integrate the 305(b) and 303(d) report after the 2002 report?
    Yes, we have to convert our watershed characteristics before we can integrate. We are converting to the National Hydrology Dataset which is a combination from USGS and the EPA reachfiles. You can find out about this at
  • Are there new categories for water?
    In the new approach there are 5-6 categories of water. For example, one of the proposed categories is insufficient data or no data, and this cannot go on the 303(d) list. We would put these on the "watch list" and they would need additional data.
  • Are they (USEPA) taking nonpoint allocations out of the TMDL?
    Yes and no. There will be no specific allocations for NPSs under the 303(e) implementation plan.
  • Under option 3, the TMDL comes up with the total load and the 303(e) deals with the allocations of the loads.
  • Under option 3, allocation would be up to the state and there would be no approval by the USEPA? What if they do not like the implementation plan?
    We do not know what will happen if they do not like the plan.
  • Are the consultants going to be doing the allocating?
  • Is cost effectiveness going to be considered in allocation?
  • If that concept (new TMDL approach formulated by USEPA) goes through, does the state have enough authority to do anything on NPS?
    Good question. There has been talk about trading.
  • Would you give us a negative allocation?
    Either you would have to trade from point or NP or by credit. That is not set up right now.
  • If most of the problem is NPS, then a waterbody may not ever achieve a standard?
  • There are no controls over NPS in the CWA. Hope was that the state would take care of the NPS problem. We may have to change the laws and regulations.
    There is a significant reliance on voluntary measures.
  • Could a point source be required to discharge less than the standards as a result of a TMDL?
    {NOTE: This question was left unanswered at the time of the meeting.}

Section 304.105, Violation of Water Quality Standards, states:

"In addition to the other requirements of this Part, no effluent shall, alone or in combination with other sources, cause a violation of any applicable water quality standard. When the Agency finds that a discharge which would comply with effluent standards contained in this Part would cause or is causing a violation of water quality standards, the Agency shall take appropriate action under Section 31 or Section 39 of the Act to require the discharge to meet whatever effluent limits are necessary to ensure compliance with the water quality standards. When such a violation is caused by the cumulative effect of more than one source, several sources may be joined in an enforcement or variance proceeding, and measures for necessary effluent reductions will be determined on the basis of technical feasibility, economic reasonableness and fairness to all dischargers." (emphasis added)

This section indicates that the Agency, upon finding that effluent compliance results in a potential water quality standards violation, can take either enforcement action (Section 31) or may by permit (Section 39) revise the effluent limits so that water quality standards are no longer violated.

7. 303(d) Methodology and 2002 List

Presentation by Lalit Sinha

  • Will a reach that has been identified as nonsupport and has NPS be on the list?
    All nonsupport will be on the list.
  • Why do these get ranked?
    We are required to rank each impaired segment. We try to stay pretty close to the list when we decide which TMDLs to do.
  • We need to be able to comment on the 303(d) ranking.
    We had a public hearing and comment period on the last List (1998) and we will have one for the next (2002).
  • We suggest you do a TMDL where there is a clear cause relationship as well as some measure of that adequacy. To do TMDLs that will benefit all of us.
    We are working on doing that with the confidence level for the cause relationship (in the 2002 305(b) Assessment). We score each on confidence of impairment. For example, a 3 will mean there are at least 9 samples and a relatively high amount of data versus a 1 which could mean there are only a couple samples and no standard could be applied to that constituent.
  • Would you have to delist only one time?
    Yes, same as with the 1992 regulations.
  • When will you delist the 2 waterbodies you talked about in the presentations?
    We will have our public meeting on the 303(d) list this July or August. We will talk about the ones we are delisting at that meeting.
  • Could a discharger provide information that will prove it is up to standards?
    Data for the 305(b) report must meet QAQC.
  • So, if we have data, it should be sent to IEPA by October 1st?
  • Once the 305(b) Report gets issued, can dischargers in that area(watershed) get some kind of notification that their waters do not meet standards?
    The Agency has agreed to look into this. (There was more discussion- some said industries should learn how to read the report, some said industries should get letters, and others said notification would cost too much).
  • What happens to permits if their water is on the list?
    We cannot increase the load on that cause of impairment fro which the water was listed until the TMDL is completed or the water is delisted. There are ways permits can be issued but it is very difficult. For example if you meet WQS at end of pipe.

Comments made after presentations

  • The Agency is interested in comments/suggestions on the following: How can we get the public to buy into this? The public is not at the meetings. What do you think extra meetings are going to accomplish? Please contact Mark Britton directly with comments-;.
  • Suggestion- For the Cedar Creek meetings, there was a large number of the public who thought there was some kind of environmental emergency. They did not know what was going on. The public notice should tell people that there is no immediate danger.
  • Suggestion- For the contractors- interested parties did not know what they were allocating. Presentation was too technical and not clear enough. At a public level, common people cannot understand presentations.
    Very good point, we are working on that.
  • Greg Good is really interested in getting feedback about how much data we need for assessments. He would like people to send him comments-;
  • For those following CALM, it is supposed to be coming out this month.
  • We will be typing up notes. We will also get the slides available. If anyone comes up with anything, they can email;. We will get a mailing list available for the group. We should meet in 3 months, the first week in May.

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