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U.S. EPA Approves California’s List of 679 Polluted Waters; Proposes Adding Five More Waterways to List for Clean Water Plans

Release Date: 6/9/2003
Contact Information: Mark Merchant (415) 947-4297

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced its approval of California’s 2002 list of 679 polluted waters and pollutants of concern but is adding five water bodies to the list.

And to 15 water bodies on the state’s list, the U.S. EPA adding to the existing pollutants of concern.

The state’s list includes most major waterways throughout California. The listing, which is required under the federal Clean Water Act, is used by federal, state, and local agencies to set priorities for development of pollution controls.

"California did an excellent job assessing its waters to develop the 2002 list," said -Alexis Strauss, associate administrator of the U.S. EPA’s pacific southwest regional office in San Francisco. "We agree with their findings that many of California’s best-known waters still have pollution problems -- including San Francisco Bay, the Sacramento River, Lake Tahoe, the Salton Sea and San Diego Bay. We believe there are some additional bays and streams, and a few other pollutants, which also merit our combined attention."

California’s State Water Resources Board submitted its list of "impaired" or polluted waters needing pollution controls to the U.S. EPA in March. The state’s list is available at The U.S. EPA’s proposed additions will be available on the Internet this week at:

The five additional water bodies and 15 additional pollutants for water bodies already on the list that the U.S. EPA is adding are being included because available data indicates pollution problems in those waters.

A 30-day public comment period begins Friday and people and organizations are invited to submit written comments on these additions. After considering the public comments received, the U.S. EPA will make any necessary adjustments to its decision and submit the final list to the state.

The list will guide the state’s development of water pollution control plans -- called Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs -- for each water body and pollutant of concern. TMDLs are assessments of pollution sources in a given watershed, together with estimates of the maximum amount of each pollutant that a water body can absorb while still meeting local needs for clean water.

California plans to develop TMDL plans within the next two years to address high-priority pollution problems in more than 100 streams, rivers, and coastal waters including:

• the San Francisco Bay for mercury;

• Morro Bay for nutrients and sediment;

• the Los Angeles River for nutrients and bacteria;

• the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers for pesticides;

• Big Bear Lake for sediment and nutrients;

• and several San Diego County beaches.

TMDLs are critically important because they guide the implementation of regulatory and voluntary efforts to clean up polluted waterways. The U.S. EPA is working with California’s state and regional water quality control boards to develop TMDLs. More than 100 TMDL efforts are currently underway throughout California, and more than 200 TMDLs have already been completed by the state and U.S. EPA, including:

• the Trinity River for sediment,

• the San Lorenzo River for nutrients

• Malibu Creek for nutrients and bacteria

• the Los Angeles River for trash

• Newport Bay for sediments, nutrients, bacteria, metals, bacteria and other toxic pollutants,

• the Upper Sacramento River for metals,

• the San Joaquin River selenium;

• and the New River sediment and bacteria.

Written comments will be accepted until July 7, 2003. Written comments should be sent to:
David W. Smith
75 Hawthorne St.
San Francisco, CA 94105