This report demonstrates the continuing failure of EPA's voluntary approach and the continuing and growing threats of unregulated nitrogen and phosphorus pollution. EPA has the power and the duty to act to require reasonable, common-sense regulations to address the growing scourge of nutrient pollution, and it should do so. Once again, MRC calls upon EPA to remedy this state of affairs, specifically recommending that EPA:
- Develop numeric phosphorus criteria for each of the eight states that have yet to adopt them, and numeric nitrogen criteria for all 10 states.
- Require states to assess their waters for nitrogen and phosphorus pollution and to prioritize TMDL development and implementation planning accordingly.
- Increase oversight of the state NPDES programs to ensure that both narrative and numeric nutrient criteria are implemented through limits in permits, including the use of Water Quality Based Effluent Limits (WQBELs) where appropriate.
- Disapprove TMDLs that lacking reasonable assurance that nonpoint source reductions are likely to occur and lack monitoring and timelines to ensure that planned reductions actually take place. Further, EPA needs to provide oversight to ensure consistency among EPA Regions in TMDL review and approval (especially in Regions 4 and 6.)
- Ensure that states' Nutrient Reduction Strategies contain implementation plans detailing point and nonpoint source reductions needed, responsible parties, funding mechanisms, milestones, measurement metrics, and reasonable timelines.
- Require states under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act to identify programs and practices for controlling nonpoint sources of pollution to the maximum extent possible.