Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet
State issues integrated water quality report covering all major river basins of Kentucky
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 27, 2006) - Kentucky is issuing a two-volume report on the quality of water in the streams, lakes and reservoirs of all major river basins of the commonwealth.
The report offers a statewide number of Kentucky waterways that are impaired - meaning their water quality does not support the uses for which they are designated. The number of impaired streams is greater than in previous reports because more water was assessed. For example, Volume II of the report reflects the first intensive watershed sampling in the Big Sandy River basin.
"This should not be interpreted as a declining trend in water quality but a reflection of increased monitoring," said David W. Morgan, director of the Division of Water (DOW) in the Department for Environmental Protection.
"Under the watershed approach, increased screening is now occurring in some regions of the state that previously had not been monitored to this degree," Morgan said.
Impaired waters total 5,163 miles on 910 stream segments and more than 98,300 acres on 45 lakes and reservoirs in five basin management units across Kentucky. Primary causes of impairment are sedimentation, bacteria, habitat alterations and nutrients.
The report indicates the majority of issues associated with impairment arise from "non-point source" pollution - meaning pollution that runs off the land rather than from a specific source, such as a pipe.
The "integrated report" combines and replaces two reports - known in the field as 305(b) and 303(d) - that the federal Clean Water Act requires of all states.
Volume II of the report - the portion required under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act - lists impaired waters and segments. For the first time, the list covers all of Kentucky.
As a result of the impairments, DOW is developing a series of calculations for allowable amounts of pollutants, known as Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), for the impaired waters.
Approximately 1,600 TMDLs are needed for impaired segments. Several TMDLs are being developed for DOW by outside parties, including the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, state universities, consultants and municipalities. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is also assisting the state with TMDL development.
Volume II is open for public review and comment through Feb. 26, 2007. It can be viewed online at the DOW Web site, www.water.ky.gov <http://www.water.ky.gov>.
Comments are preferred electronically and can be e-mailed to EPPCDOWWQB@ky.gov <mailto:EPPCDOWWQB@ky.gov>.
Comments can be submitted in writing to:
Kentucky Division of Water
14 Reilly Road
Frankfort, KY 40601