USEPA Releases Draft Criteria to Protect Lakes and Reservoirs

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) recently issued new, draft ambient water quality criteria recommendations for nutrients in lakes and reservoirs. The criteria recommendations serve as important resources to protect public health, pets, and aquatic life from the adverse effects of excess nutrients in surface waters, including during the summer recreation season.

When finalized, these recommendations will replace USEPA’s previously recommended ambient nutrient criteria for lakes and reservoirs that were published in 2000 and 2001. The draft national criteria recommendations are models for total nitrogen and total phosphorus concentrations in lakes and reservoirs to protect three different designated uses—aquatic life, recreation, and drinking water source protection—from the adverse effects of nutrient pollution.

States and authorized Tribes can incorporate local data, when available, into the national models, to develop numeric nutrient criteria that apply relationships estimated from national data while accounting for unique local conditions.

USEPA is requesting input via public comment on the Federal Register through July 21, 2020, on the new draft recommendations. Following the public comment period, the USEPA will consider the comments, revise the draft document, and then publish a final document that will provide recommendations for States and authorized Tribes to establish water quality standards under the Clean Water Act (CWA).