Upper Mississippi River Basin Association

Water Quality Task Force Meeting

January 31, 2012

Davenport, Iowa

 

Meeting Summary

 

 

Participants

Gregg Good

Illinois EPA

Matt Short

Illinois EPA

John Olson

Iowa DNR

Mike Feist

Minnesota PCA

Shannon Lotthammer

Minnesota PCA

John Ford

Missouri DNR

Mark Osborn

Missouri DNR

Jim Fischer

Wisconsin DNR

Christian Hawkinson

USACE, Rock Island District

Linda Holst

US EPA, Region 5

Bill Franz

US EPA, Region 5 (retired)

Mike Coffey

USFWS

Kevin Richards

USGS, Iowa Water Science Center

Annika Bankstrom (1)

Minneapolis Water Works

Leath “Chip” Drake

City of East Moline

Brent Early

Iowa American Water Company

Linda Kinman (1)

Des Moines Water Works

Jeff Mitchell (1)

Des Moines Water Works

Ryan Schuler

Illinois American Water Company

Greg Swanson

City of Moline

Chris Yoder

Midwest Biodiversity Institute

Dave Hokanson

UMRBA

(1) Joined the meeting by phone.

 

Call to Order and Introductions

The meeting of the UMRBA Water Quality Task Force (WQTF) was called to order on January 31, 2012 at 12:05 p.m. by Chair John Olson.  Introductions by all participants followed. 

 

Project Status Overview

Aquatic Life Designated Uses (ALDU) Project and Report

Dave Hokanson described the modifications made in the ALDU project report subsequent to the WQTF’s November 2011 meeting, noting the following in particular:

§  The recommended classification structure now includes four longitudinal reach and four lateral strata, as an additional reach has been added in recognition of water quality changes at Lake Pepin. 

§  Discussion of the similarities between main channel and side channel strata has been expanded.

§  Isolated backwaters/wetlands are now discussed as a possible future addition to the classification structure.

§  Greater emphasis is placed on the potential to revisit classification as implementation proceeds, as well as general flexibility in implementing the report’s recommendations. 

§  Discussion of how periodic water quality variations (e.g., dissolved oxygen levels) may influence ecosystem function has been modified in response to comments from US EPA.

 

Hokanson said the UMRBA Board will consider the ALDU report for approval at its February 2012 meeting.  He explained that printing and distribution of the final report, as well as an accompanying summary flier, await Board approval. 

 

Hokanson said the UMRBA Water Quality Executive Committee (WQEC) envisions that implementation of the ALDU report’s recommendations will proceed as follows:

§  The classification structure will be used to inform the UMR CWA monitoring strategy project and other upcoming water quality projects. 

§  The states will determine how best to incorporate or address the report’s recommendations within their water quality standards. 

§  The process of implementation will be periodically revisited with the WQTF and WQEC. 

Hokanson said the WQEC will convey these points when it transmits the report to the UMRBA Board.

 

Jim Fischer asked whether the WQEC and WQTF envision the structure as being open to change as implementation proceeds.   He noted that while flexibility is certainly desirable, it may frustrate efforts to integrate the classification structure consistently into states’ water quality standards.  Shannon Lotthammer agreed, saying that states are at different stages of readiness to incorporate changes into standards.  As such, she explained, a state adopting sooner may end up with standards different from those of other states if the classification structure is subsequently refined.  John Olson agreed that modifications could produce potentially significant implementation challenges.  

 

Linda Holst said she would like to see the ALDU report recommendations integrated into water quality criteria as well as water quality monitoring.  Chris Yoder said the report’s recommendations provide a “natural classification” structure from which to work, but that a primary challenge is whether this can be supported in states’ water quality standards.  He said the structure allows for different expectations in different areas, adding that varying criteria for dissolved oxygen (DO) levels is a classic example of the ability to adapt expectations within a classification structure.  Matt Short said Illinois already has temperature and DO criteria in place that vary according to location.  Mark Osborn asked if Illinois’ DO approach is congruent with the ALDU report recommended classification structure.  Short said there are some differences, but Illinois’ approach is generally consistent with the ALDU report’s recommendations and functions essentially as a site-specific standard. 

 

Yoder said it is certainly possible to design a template for applying variable criteria, but said the challenge is fitting this back into individual states’ processes.  Lotthammer agreed, saying it is up to each state to determine how to fit these recommendations into its standards and rule-making processes.  She added that timing is also a consideration, as the states are on different schedules for their triennial standards reviews.  Lotthammer said the states need to create a mechanism to talk about these recommendations consistently when they enter into their own state-specific processes.  Olson agreed, suggesting that some form of template could be developed to help guide implementation. 

 

Other Water Quality Projects

Hokanson summarized the status of other recent and ongoing water quality projects, noting the following in particular:

§  Biological Assessment Guidance Document: 

ú  The document was completed in September 2011.

ú  Next steps include:

    incorporating recommendations into monitoring strategy work and revisiting certain technical and logistical issues, such as those regarding macroinvertebrate sampling methods and indices, in the process of strategy development;

    further examining the fish biological condition gradient (BCG) constructed in the project, with input from state and other UMR fisheries experts; and

    addressing assessment methodology questions (e.g., what rate of not reaching a threshold in a particular area triggers an impairment listing?).

 

§  UMR Nutrient Report and Nutrient Workshops:

ú  Both the UMR Nutrient Report and Workshops Report were completed in September 2011.

ú  Next steps include:

    Considering the reports’ recommendations in the context of the monitoring strategy project;

    pursuing further conversation with UMR water suppliers;

    continuing to communicate with state agriculture agencies, agricultural groups, and NGOs;

    summarizing state NPDES program requirements for nitrogen and phosphorus discharge monitoring; and

    acting as forum for information sharing regarding not only CWA efforts, but statewide nutrient reduction strategies, with another nutrient-focused workshop or similar conversation taking place in the next six to nine months.

 

§  UMR Human Health Uses/Arsenic Discussions:

ú  US EPA supplied comments on the issue paper in December 2011.

ú  The issue paper was finalized in January 2012.

ú  The WQEC had a conference call discussion with Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) program managers and Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA) representatives on January 24, 2012. 

ú  A next step is to continue conversations with SDWA programs, water suppliers, and ASDWA.

Regarding the UMR human health use/arsenic discussion, Holst said there is a national workgroup of state and EPA staff examining naturally occurring conditions.  She explained that this workgroup is supported through the Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA).  Hokanson said he had shared the issue paper with members of this workgroup.  

 

Nutrient Issues Discussion

State and US EPA Updates

Illinois

Good said Illinois EPA is updating its narrative criterion for offensive conditions.  This criterion can be used to identify nutrient-related impairments.  Holst said US EPA Region 5 had some concerns with Illinois’ approach, but is currently in the process of exploring and clarifying its issues.  Mike Coffey asked whether Illinois’ application of narrative criteria would pre-empt the potential use of numeric criteria.  Good responded that while the application of narrative criteria does not necessarily prevent future use of numeric criteria, Illinois is primarily focused on narrative criteria at this time. 

 

Iowa

Olson said Iowa has developed nutrient criteria for lakes to protect recreational use.  He explained that these are not numeric nutrient criteria for nitrogen or phosphorus, but rather Secchi depth and chlorophyll-a concentration thresholds.  Olson said Iowa DNR’s Tom Wilton is currently working on numeric nutrient criteria for streams, with these likely to be proposed next year.

 

Regarding statewide nutrient reduction strategy development, Olson said Iowa has been following an approach used by Kansas.  Under this strategy, Iowa DNR is primarily addressing point sources while the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is primarily addressing nonpoint sources.  For point sources, Olson said Iowa is considering discharge limits of 10 mg/L nitrogen and 1 mg/L phosphorus for major and selected non-major dischargers.  

 

Good asked Olson what his expectation is for the advancement of numeric nutrient standards in Iowa.  Olson replied that criteria recommendations would be forwarded for integration into Iowa’s water quality standards, but that he did not expect to see numeric criteria implemented any time soon.  He said many in Iowa prefer to see how the statewide nutrient reduction strategy efforts play out before further pursuing numeric criteria, something many see as consistent with Nancy Stoner’s March 2011 memo regarding nutrient reduction frameworks. 

 

John Ford asked how US EPA Region 7 had responded to Iowa’s proposed lakes criteria, since they do not include numeric values for nitrogen and phosphorus.  Olson replied that Region 7 had not expressed concern, as these criteria are focused on recreational use, rather than aquatic life.

 

Minnesota

Lotthammer said Minnesota’s proposed eutrophication-related nutrient criteria for rivers, including UMR Pools and Lake Pepin, will likely be out for public review in the late spring or early summer 2012.  She explained that these criteria focus on phosphorus, as that is typically the limiting nutrient for Minnesota rivers, but that a statewide nitrogen budget is also being developed.  Lotthammer said a separate, toxicity-based nitrogen criteria is also being developed. 

 

Matt Short asked whether the eutrophication-related nutrient criteria are intended to protect aquatic life use.  Lotthammer confirmed that these criteria are for aquatic life use protection.  Olson asked Lotthammer to further explain how Minnesota’s eutrophication-related criteria will work.  Lotthammer said it is a two-part standard, including both a stressor measurement (phosphorus concentration) and response variables (chlorophyll-a, dissolved oxygen flux, and five-day biochemical oxygen demand).  An exceedance of both the stressor measurement and at least one of the response variables would be needed for an impairment listing.  For the UMR, Lotthammer said Minnesota’s proposed phosphorus concentration is consistent with Wisconsin’s 100 µg/L criteria. 

 

Olson asked if this is the “dependent applicability” approach described by MPCA staff in previous discussions.  Lotthammer said “dependent applicability” has indeed been used to describe this approach, explaining that the two components – stressor and response – are integrated into a single criterion, thereby addressing “independent applicability” concerns.  She noted that MPCA drew on Florida’s criteria development efforts in creating this approach. 

 

Lotthammer said MPCA is also looking at how best to incorporate periphyton measurements into CWA assessment. 

 

Missouri

Mark Osborn reported that Missouri had proposed regionally-specific numeric nutrient criteria for lakes, but that US EPA Region 7 rejected the state’s proposal, with the exception of some site-specific standards.  He said Missouri DNR is working to address US EPA’s concerns regarding the lakes criteria, and may wait until its next triennial standards review (in 2015) to propose stream criteria. 

 

Olson asked why Region 7 had rejected Missouri’s proposed lakes criteria.  Osborn said Region 7 believed the concentrations were generally too high.  Holst asked whether Region 7’s concern had been the concentrations specifically or the process by which the numbers were derived.  Osborn replied that the concerns seemed to be more about the specific numbers, though Region 7 had also raised questions about some prediction curve calculations. 

 

Wisconsin

Fischer reminded the group the Wisconsin’s phosphorus criteria (100 µg/L for UMR pools) for flowing waters is in place, but to the state is not currently developing any other nutrient criteria.  In response to a question from Olson, Fischer said Wisconsin is using the phosphorus criterion in developing its 305(b) assessment and 303(d) impairment list.  He added that a biological response also must be demonstrated in order for a waterbody to be listed as impaired. 

 

US EPA Region 5

Holst said US EPA Region 5 is working with Wisconsin DNR on an implementation memo associated with the state’s recent phosphorus rule package.  Lotthammer said MPCA is also considering the implementation piece of its upcoming rule proposal.  Holst noted that Ted Angradi of US EPA’s Office of Research and Development is currently working on nutrient data analysis.

 

States’ NPDES Nutrient Monitoring Requirements

Hokanson said he has contacted UMR state CWA programs regarding their NPDES nutrient discharge monitoring requirements, consistent with the WQEC/WQTF’s priority follow-ups to the recent UMR nutrients report.  He said he has made initial contact with all the states and received responses from three programs so far, but has not yet compiled any of the responses.  Good asked the water suppliers present at the meeting whether they regularly monitor nutrients in their intake water.  Greg Swanson replied that the City of Moline does daily nitrogen monitoring, but does not do daily phosphorus monitoring.

Planning for Future UMR Nutrient Conversations and Activities

Hokanson said the UMRBA Board and the WQEC, during meetings in November 2011, expressed an interest in supporting continued nutrient-focused conversations among UMR stakeholders.  He said the WQEC and WQTF had also agreed in their November 2011 joint meeting that another nutrient-focused workshop or similar discussion should be held in the next six to nine months.  Hokanson asked WQTF members for specific suggestions regarding a next nutrients-focused conversation.

 

Lotthammer observed that the complexity of the issue and multiple parties involved makes it challenging to specify a next and most beneficial conversation.  Olson said fostering greater communication between US EPA Regions 5 and 7 would be very helpful.  Holst said Region 5 has worked extensively with its states as they have crafted their nutrient approaches, noting that other Regions may not fully appreciate the rationale for Region 5’s decisions unless they have reviewed the background documentation associated with its decisions.  Lotthammer agreed that a UMR nutrient discussion could be one place to facilitate communication among the US EPA Regions.  Linda Kinman suggested a focus on issues associated with agricultural drainage tiling. 

Interstate 305(b) Assessment and 303(d) Impairment Listing Consultation

Wisconsin 

Fischer said Wisconsin expects to list UMR Reach 1 (St. Croix River to Chippewa River) as impaired by phosphorus in its 2012 303(d) impairment listings.  In response to a question from Olson, Fischer said he anticipates that the other UMR impairments from Wisconsin’s 2010 list will likely remain in place.  However, Fischer noted that John Sullivan has raised some questions about the listings for mercury concentrations in the water column.  

 

Mike Coffey asked about the basis for Wisconsin’s PFOS listing on Reach 1 and Reach 2.  Olson said his understanding is that Wisconsin relies on concentration thresholds established by Minnesota.  Lotthammer confirmed this, adding that Minnesota utilizes concentrations of 200 ng/g for fish tissue and 7 ng/L for water to identify PFOS impairments.  She noted that Minnesota is revisiting its PFOS listing for UMR Reach 1, as levels in fish tissue have been declining.  Fischer said Wisconsin’s PFOS listing is also subject to change in light of new data.

 

Minnesota

With the exception of the possible removal of its PFOS listing for Reach 1, Lotthammer said Minnesota’s 2012 impairment listings for the UMR are expected to be the same as its 2010 listings.  She said MPCA will inform Wisconsin DNR of its decisions regarding PFOS listing.

 

Iowa

Olson said the only anticipated change in Iowa’s UMR impairment listings from 2010 to 2012 is removal of the mercury impairment in UMR Reach 6 (Wisconsin River to Lock & Dam 11) due to reduced levels of mercury in the two most recent rounds of monitoring for this reach.   

Olson said US EPA Region 7 has modified its advice on how to determine impairments due to indicator bacteria.  He said Region 7 is now advising the states to use a geometric mean calculated over the duration of the recreation season.  Olson said this may lead to a reduction in the number of recreation use impairments statewide.  In general, he said, Iowa would like to move away from using single sample E. coli values to trigger impairment.  Short asked if Iowa’s UMR listing for indicator bacteria continues to be based on Illinois’ fecal coliform listing for the same reach.  Olson said this is currently true, but is subject to change in the future.

 

Illinois

Good said Illinois’ 2008 impairment list remains partially approved by US EPA and its 2010 list has yet to be approved by US EPA.  Meanwhile, the state has initiated work on its 2012 list.  He said Illinois’ preliminary 2012 information should be posted in February, with the goal of completing an integrated report by the end of June 2012.  Good explained that, going forward, any Illinois impairment listings will be tied explicitly to an exceedance of water quality criteria and guidelines will no longer been used, as this has been among the issues delaying US EPA’s approval of Illinois’ recent impairment lists. 

 

Short said Illinois is using both fixed site and stratified random sampling data from USACE’s Long Term Resource Monitoring (LTRM) program in its 305(b) and 303(d) processes.  He said this is being done largely in response to the WQTF’s discussions and requests from US EPA. 

 

Good and Short also noted that current UMR manganese listings are under review and may change in 2012. 

 

Coffey asked Short about the status and success of Illinois’ recent PFOS monitoring project.  Short replied that, while there were some logistical issues, the process went largely as planned and Illinois EPA is currently awaiting sampling results.  Good said this project is being conducted jointly by Illinois EPA and US EPA-Research Triangle Park staff using CWA Section 106 supplemental funding.   

 

Missouri

Ford said Missouri is using its recently (2009) updated assessment database structure for the 2012 assessment cycle and is currently populating the database with new data.  He said a draft 2012 list should be released in May for a 100-day public review, after which it will be sent to US EPA for approval.  Ford noted that Missouri has a statewide fish consumption advisory for mercury, but that this does not show up in UMR listings, as there is a lack of relevant fish tissue data for the UMR in Missouri. 

 

Ford said the UMR reach in the St. Louis area, recently designated for whole body contact recreation use, is currently meeting applicable water quality criteria.  However, he said this may change in the future under new criteria and assessment approaches.  Olson asked whether Missouri uses fecal coliform as its indicator bacteria to assess recreation use.  Ford replied that Missouri began using E. coli several years ago and is moving towards the use of a single sample maximum for E. coli for beach advisories.  Olson clarified that his earlier comment regarding Iowa DNR’s desire to move away from single sample maximums for E. coli was specific to CWA assessment and listing, and that single sample maximums would continue to be used in beach advisories. 

 

US EPA

Holst said she had no further report from Region 5.  Olson noted that US EPA Region 7’s absence from WQTF meetings makes it difficult for the Region 7 states to know whether their Region is likely to be supportive of decisions made by the WQTF. 

 

Other Agency Updates

USFWS

Coffey discussed his comparison of UMR emerging contaminant data to adverse effect levels (for mussels) recently calculated by USFWS for fluoxetine, 17-α-ethinylestradiol, 4-nonlyphenol, PFOS, and PFOA.  In general, his work showed UMR concentrations of these emerging contaminants to be below currently identified levels of concern.  However, elevated PFOS levels near Cordova, Illinois did appear to be a potential concern for native mussel populations.  Coffey said USFWS is interested in continuing to work with Illinois EPA regarding potential impacts on mussels in this area. 

 

Wisconsin

Fischer said Wisconsin DNR is addressing a number of preliminary applications for hydropower installations on the UMR.  He noted that a proposal for Lock & Dam 8 is likely to be the first project to advance in the approval process.

 

Iowa

Olson said a proposal to shift water quality monitoring from Iowa DNR to the Department of Agricultural and Land Stewardship, as mentioned at the previous WQTF meeting, was not successful.  However, he said a new proposal has been made to move the Iowa Geological Survey into the University of Iowa. 

 

Illinois

Good said Illinois EPA continues to struggle with the loss of staff and limited ability to hire new staff.  He said the impact has been even more profound at Illinois DNR, which has been particularly detrimental to Illinois’ basin monitoring program.  Good said Illinois EPA has increased its use of contractors to execute much of its work, including water quality monitoring. 

 

UMR Water Suppliers Conversation

Hokanson set the context for the WQTF discussion with UMR water suppliers by giving background on both UMRBA broadly and the role of the WQTF specifically.  He also highlighted nutrients and arsenic as two topic areas on which the WQTF is particularly seeking to engage the water suppliers. 

 

Nutrients

Linda Kinman of the Des Moines Water Works shared some initial perspectives.  She said nitrate has been the most prominent water quality challenge for Des Moines.  An initial focus on treatment to address elevated nitrate levels may have taken some of the focus away from source water quality, according to Kinman.  She explained that the Des Moines is now using a combination of approaches, including multiple sources, off-river storage, and treatment, as needed to reduce nitrate levels.  Kinman noted that Des Moines is also trying to work in the watershed to address nutrient-related water quality issues. 

 

Kinman added that, while nitrate is Des Moines’ primary nutrient-related challenge, algal blooms are also a significant issue for the utility, in terms of both filter fouling and adverse impact on taste and odor.  She said the potential presence of cyanobacteria and associated algal toxins is also a concern associated with algal blooms. Kinman noted that in recent years algal blooms have been observed in flowing portions of the Raccoon River, with some annual variation.  She said ammonia can be another nutrient-related water quality challenge, particularly for smaller utilities.

 

Kinman asked Jeff Mitchell, also of the Des Moines Water Works, to describe the monitoring done by the utility.  Mitchell said Des Moines monitors for ammonia, nitrate, and phosphorus on a daily basis.  He added that testing for cyanobacteria is also done if algal blooms are present. 

 

Kinman said Des Moines has been working with Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance, an Iowa-based organization of agricultural products retailers, and that the Alliance has been able to provide Des Moines with water quality data collected throughout the watershed.  She said Des Moines has also collaborated with the Raccoon River Watershed Association in the use of in-stream monitors, and that Des Moines would like to see more real-time, in-stream monitoring in place. 

 

Good asked whether algal blooms have actually been increasing or whether it was more likely a case of greater recognition of this issue.  Kinman replied that blooms have indeed appeared to increase in frequency over the last few years. 

 

Regarding ammonia issues, Annika Bankstrom said ammonia concentration per se is not the issue.   Rather, she explained, ammonia decreases the effectiveness of chlorine and can lead to nitrification in the distribution system.

 

Hokanson asked whether surficial algal blooms are likely to impact intakes, as presumably these are set below the water’s surface.  The waters suppliers responded that this depends on the particular intake and the number of intakes used, explaining that settings of individual intakes can be adjusted or an intake closed if an alternative source is available.  Swanson said algae create problems not only surficial blooms, but also when suspended in the water column.

 

Swanson emphasized that a key nutrient-related consideration for surface water systems is the balance between microbial protection and disinfection byproduct formation.  Early concurred with Swanson’s observation, saying his utility has faced challenges presented by filamentous algae and disinfection byproduct formation.  Swanson added that the public does not understand the operational issues associated with balancing microbial control and disinfectant byproduct formation.  For nitrate, he said the challenge is not generally compliance with the maximum contaminant level (MCL), but rather nitrogen’s effects on the chlorination or chloramination process used by the utility for disinfection.

 

Ryan Schuler said Illinois American Water has employed blending, as described by Kinman in the case of Des Moines, as a method of reducing nutrient levels.  He added that utilities drawing from smaller water bodies have seen a greater impact from nutrients than those utilizing larger water bodies.

 

Swanson said the major nutrient and eutrophication issues for utilities relying on surface water are:

§  Physical disruptions from algal blooms, such as filter fouling and clogging, as well as adverse impacts on taste and odor.

§  Increased organic matter, particularly total organic carbon (TOC), which can lead to disinfection byproduct formation and trigger Safe Drinking Water Act requirements for TOC removal. 

§  Algal toxins, as an emerging issue.

 

Kinman added that increased treatment costs resulting from elevated nutrient levels come back to consumers in the form of higher water bills, an often overlooked issue. 

 

Matt Short asked if pesticides are creating problems for surface water supplies.  Swanson said pesticides, if present, are typically removed through existing treatment process.  Early added that raw water testing has revealed seasonal variations in pesticide levels.  Bankstrom said Minneapolis has added powdered activated carbon in the treatment process to aid pesticide removal.  Olson noted that 303(d) guidance at one time said if water supplies needed to use anything more than conventional treatment to remove pollutants, the source water body could be considered impaired.  The water suppliers replied that the use of powdered activated carbon or granular activated carbon is now quite commonplace for surface water systems, even if it is not considered conventional treatment per se.     

 

Good asked about the degree to which algal toxins have affected the water suppliers and if they have had to take any specific actions to deal with these toxins.  Swanson said this is an issue that brings concerns regarding nutrients closer to home, making it clear that the effects of nutrients are not just distant impacts such as Gulf Hypoxia. 

 

Good asked about the effects of water clarity on algal growth.  Swanson replied that there is seasonal variation in clarity, with the clearest water generally present in the winter.  Early said that very clear water can actually be difficult to treat, as coagulants do not work as well under these conditions. 

 

Good asked the utilities about the opportunities they see for collaborative monitoring and data sharing between water suppliers and CWA programs.  Swanson said one challenge is that utilities vary in terms of the monitoring they conduct, with at least some of their monitoring being driven by the specific water quality challenges the individual utility faces.  He also noted that data acceptability may be a challenge in trying to exchange information among CWA programs and water utilities. 

 

Schuler said data entry into STORET has been a challenge for his utility.  Bankstrom agreed, saying the Minneapolis Water Works had recently put a substantial amount of data into STORET, but that this had been a fairly elaborate process.  She added that, in general, MPCA is moving towards greater use of data from drinking water systems in its CWA programs.

 

Short asked the water suppliers if information collected by states’ Clean Water Act programs is likely to be of help to them.  Early said this may be a useful source of supplemental data.  Lotthammer suggested that CWA program data is likely more useful for those water systems engaged in watershed management activities. 

 

Arsenic

Swanson and Drake said arsenic is not an issue for their water systems.  Schuler said the place where arsenic is an issue is not on the drinking water side of their operations, but rather on the wastewater side.  He explained that drinking water suppliers are typically also wastewater permit holders, as they discharge a waste stream as a byproduct of the drinking water treatment process.  In the case of arsenic, low levels of naturally occurring arsenic in source water can be concentrated in the wastewater stream.  If an arsenic TMDL is in place for the receiving water, it may be difficult for a water supplier to meet discharge limitations without additional treatment.  Schuler says this situation can occur not only for arsenic, but other naturally occurring contaminants such as manganese.  Early agreed with Schuler’s observations, saying that residuals management is the place where an issue with arsenic and other naturally occurring contaminants is most likely to arise for drinking water suppliers. 

 

Next Steps for Water Suppliers Conversation

Lotthammer said it is important to continue the conversation between water suppliers and the WQTF.   Fischer said Wisconsin does not have any surface water systems using the UMR for drinking water, but there are systems utilizing ground water under the influence of surface water along the River.  He suggested that these suppliers might also be brought into the conversation.  Good emphasized the importance of exploring data sharing opportunities.  Osborn said the role of water suppliers as wastewater discharges is important and merits further investigation.  

 

Olson said Iowa DNR had dropped TOC monitoring in recent years, though the discussion today highlighted the importance of this parameter to water supplies.  He said this as an example of the current disconnect between drinking water (SDWA) and water quality (CWA) programs that further conversations can help address.

 

Confirming Priorities and Action Items

Hokanson noted the following as action items emerging from the day’s discussion:

§  Regarding aquatic life designated uses report:

ú  Integrate last modifications (per US EPA comments) and create summary flier.

ú  Bring the report to the UMRBA Board for approval in February 2012.

ú  Pursue implementation via the monitoring strategy project and by developing tools to help guide implementation within the states.

§  Regarding water suppliers conversation:

ú  Continue the conversation between water suppliers and the WQTF.

ú  Explore opportunities in monitoring and data sharing.

ú  Focus on nutrients as a key issue.  

 

With no further business, the meeting adjourned at 5:00 p.m. on January 31, 2012.