Water Quality Assessment

The Water Quality Assessment Program is responsible for ensuring that Wyoming remains in compliance with the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) by preparing and submitting the Integrated 305(b) and 303(d) Report to the US Environmental Protection Agency on a biennial basis.

Public Comment Opportunity

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality/Water Quality Division (WDEQ/WQD) is soliciting public comment on an updated draft policy document entitled Wyoming’s Methods for Determining Surface Water Quality Condition and TMDL Prioritization. The document describes WDEQ’s processes for evaluating the water quality standards contained in Water Quality Rules and Regulations, Chapter 1, Wyoming Surface Water Quality Standards and determining designated use support for Wyoming’s surface waters.

The draft document is located at http://deq.wyoming.gov/wqd/water-quality-assessment/resources/guidance/. Written comments may be submitted to Richard Thorp, WDEQ-WQD, 200 West 17th Street, Cheyenne, WY 82002. Electronic comments may be submitted online at http://wq.wyomingdeq.commentinput.com/. Questions may be directed to Richard Thorp, Water Quality Assessment and Reporting Coordinator, at 307-777-3501 or richard.thorp@wyo.gov. Written and electronic comments will be accepted until 5 PM (MST) on May 5, 2017.

Revised Draft of Wyoming’s Methods for Determining Surface Water Quality Condition and TMDL Prioritization

What is Wyoming’s Methods for Determining Surface Water Quality Condition and TMDL Prioritization (Methods)?

Wyoming’s Methods is a document that describes the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality’s (WDEQ’s) processes for evaluating the water quality standards contained in Water Quality Rules and Regulations, Chapter 1, Wyoming Surface Water Quality Standards and determining designated use support for Wyoming’s surface waters. Designated use support determinations are used during development of Wyoming’s biennial Integrated 305(b) and 303(d) Report, which summarizes the water quality condition of surface waters of the State and includes the 303(d) List of waters requiring Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs). The Methods also contain WDEQ’s general approach for prioritizing waters for TMDL development.

Is the Methods required under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA)?

Yes. The Federal Code of Regulations 40 CFR §130.7(b)(6)(i) requires that states provide a description of the methodology used to develop their CWA Section 303(d) List.

Why is WDEQ revising the Methods?

WDEQ periodically revises the Methods as necessary with new and/or clarifying information.

What are the major changes to the document?

WDEQ has updated sampling and analysis plan requirements, quality assurance quality control criteria, aquatic life designated use assessment methods, USEPA categorization descriptions and how the causes and sources for 303(d) Listed waters are determined.

How can the public get involved in this process?

WDEQ has released a revised Draft Methods for a public comment. The Draft Methods can be found at the following link: http://deq.wyoming.gov/wqd/water-quality-assessment/resources/guidance/

The public may review the draft and provide comments until 5 PM (MST) on May 5, 2017.

How do I submit comments on the Draft Methods?

Written comments may be submitted to Richard Thorp, WDEQ-WQD, 200 West 17th Street, Cheyenne, WY 82002. Electronic comments may be submitted online at: http://wq.wyomingdeq.commentinput.com/.

What is WDEQ’s process for reviewing and responding to public comment?

WDEQ will review all of the comments received during the comment period and provide responses to the comments.

Who do I contact with questions about the Draft Methods?

Questions may be directed to Richard Thorp, Water Quality Assessment and Reporting Coordinator, at 307-777-3501 or richard.thorp@wyo.gov.

Data Request Public Notice Opportunity

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality/Water Quality Division (WDEQ/WQD) is soliciting credible surface water quality data to consider during development of the Draft 2016/2018 Integrated 305(b) and 303(d) Report. The Integrated 305(b) and 303(d) Report summarizes the water quality condition of surface waters of the State and includes the 303(d) List of waters requiring Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs). The report is typically prepared on a biennial basis; however, WDEQ/WQD plans to combine the 2016 and the 2018 Integrated Reports into a single 2016/2018 report. Data previously submitted for the 2016 Integrated Report will be included in the 2016/2018 report.

Credible data include scientifically valid chemical, physical and biological data collected under an accepted sampling and analysis plan, using appropriate quality assurance and quality control. All surface water quality data may therefore not be suitable for inclusion in the 2016/2018 IR. Credible surface water quality data may be submitted to WDEQ at any time; however, to be considered for inclusion in the 2016/2018 IR, submissions must be received by 5 PM (MST) on July 15, 2017. Please submit data to Richard Thorp, WDEQ-WQD, 200 West 17th Street, Cheyenne, WY 82002 or richard.thorp@wyo.gov. It is preferred that all data be submitted in electronic format so they can be readily compiled and analyzed as necessary. For more information about submitting data, please contact Richard Thorp, Water Quality Assessment and Reporting Coordinator, at 307-777-3501 or richard.thorp@wyo.gov. Questions concerning WDEQ’s credible data requirements may be directed to Cathy Norris, Watershed Protection Program Quality Assurance/Quality Control Officer, at 307-777-6372 or cathy.norris@wyo.gov

Section 305(b)

Section 305(b) of the CWA requires that each state prepare and submit a biennial report to EPA by April 1 of even numbered years. The report must contain a description of the navigable waters of the state for the preceding year, including the extent to which current conditions allow for the protection and propagation of a balanced population of shellfish, fish, and wildlife, and allow recreational activities in and on the water.

Section 305(b) also requires each state to report the water quality and the elimination of pollutants necessary for designated use support. Specifically, each state is to identify waters that do not meet the above condition and recommend strategies to achieve these objectives. Additionally, each state is to estimate the environmental impacts, economic and social costs, benefits, and the predicted timeline for project completion.

Lastly, Section 305(b) requires that the sources and extent of nonpoint source pollution in each state be estimated, including a description of the current program used to mitigate these pollutants and associated financial costs.

Section 303(d)

Section 303(d) of the CWA requires that states identify and list waters for which the effluent limits outlined in Section 301 are not effective in attaining designated uses.

Each state must submit a 303(d) list of impaired and threatened waters to EPA by April 1st of each even numbered year. EPA must review and approve or disapprove the 303(d) list within 30 days of submittal.

Section 303(d) also requires that states develop a separate total maximum daily loads (TMDL) for each pollutant/segment combination on the 303(d) list. Waters on the 303(d) list must be prioritized for TMDL development based on the severity of each pollutant/segment combination or listing.

Wyoming’s Integrated 305(b) and 303(d) Report combines the requirements of both reports into a single document and is available here. Previous versions of Wyoming’s Integrated 305(b) and 303(d) Report are available in the reports section of this site.