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New York State Section 303(d) List of Impaired/TMDL Waters

The New York State Section 303(d) List of Impaired/TMDL Waters identifies those waters that do not support appropriate uses and that may require development of a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). The Section 303(d) List is updated every two years. The current List in effect is the Final Approved 2012 NYS Section 303(d) List (PDF, 448 KB) (June 2012; Revised February 2013)

The process to update the Section 303 (d) List for 2014 is currently underway. A DRAFT 2014 303(d) List is now available for public review and comment. More information regarding this effort can be found below.

The 2012 NYS Section 303(d) List

The Proposed Final NYS 2012 Section 303(d) List was "partially approved and partially disapproved" by USEPA on August 16, 2012. In its letter of partial approval/partial disapproval (PDF,308 KB), USEPA stated that it approved New York State's listing of all waterbody segments and associated pollutants included in its Proposed Final 2012 Section 303(d) List. However EPA also noted that it was disapproving the State's decision not to list the Lower Esopus Creek for silt/sediment.

Pursuant to its partial disapproval, USEPA opened a public comment period on September 6, 2012, to receive comments on its decision to add the Lower Esopus Creek to the State's 2012 Section 303(d) List. This comment period extended through October 9, 2012. After examining comment received during this period, USEPA made a determination to append the Lower Esopus Creek to the 2012 NYS Section 303(d) List. The Lower Esopus Creek is listed due to turbidity.

Prior to the USEPA partial approval/partial disapproval, a Draft 2012 Section 303(d) List was made available for public comment for a 45 day period that ended March 2, 2012. After considering comments received from the public, a Proposed Final List was submitted to USEPA prior to the April 1, 2012, date for State submittal of 2012 Lists. Additional discussion during the USEPA review of the List led to other revisions and the re-submittal of a revised Proposed Final List to USEPA in July 2012. Except for the decision to not include the Lower Esopus Creek, this version of the List was found by USEPA to meet the requirements of Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act and was approved in August 2012. Public comments received during the public notice of the Draft List and other issues raised by USEPA during their review of the List are addressed in a response summary (PDF,147 KB).

Background

The Federal Clean Water Act requires states to periodically assess and report on the quality of waters in their state. Section 303(d) of the Act also requires states to identify impaired waters, where designated uses are not fully supported. For these impaired waters/pollutants, states must consider the development of a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) or other strategy to reduce the input of the specific pollutant(s) restricting waterbody uses, in order to restore and protect such uses. The waterbody/pollutant listings in the Section 303(d) List are segmented into a number of categories. The various categories, or Parts, of the list include:

  • Part 1 - Individual Waterbodies with Impairment Requiring a TMDL
  • Part 2 - Multiple Segment/Categorical Impaired Waterbodies - Includes Acid Rain Waters, Fish Consumption Waters, and Shellfishing Waters
  • Part 3 - Waterbodies for which TMDL Development May Be Deferred - Includes Waters Requiring Verification of Impairment, Waters Requiring Verification of Cause/Pollutant, and Waters Where Implementation/Evaluation of Other Restoration Measures is Pending

Impaired Waters NOT Included on the NYS 2012 Section 303(d) List

Not all impaired waters of the state are included on the Section 303(d) List. By definition, the List is limited to impaired waters that require development of a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). A list of Other Impaired Waterbody Segments Not Listed (PDF,179 KB) on the 303(d) List Because Development of a TMDL is Not Necessary is also available. The purpose of this supplemental list is to provide a more comprehensive inventory of waters that do not fully support designated uses and that are considered to be impaired.

There are three (3) categories of justification for not including an impaired waterbody on the Section 303(d) List:

  • Category 4a Waters - TMDL development is not necessary because a TMDL has already been established for the segment/pollutant.
  • Category 4b Waters - A TMDL is not necessary because other required control measures are expected to result in restoration in a reasonable period of time.
  • Category 4c Waters - A TMDL is not appropriate because the impairment is the result of pollution, rather than a pollutant that can be allocated through a TMDL.

2012 Waterbody/Pollutant Delistings

A separate list of waterbody/pollutant combinations that were included on the previous (2010) Section 303(d) List, but that are NOT included on the 2012 List is also available. This list of 2012 Water/Pollutant Delistings (PDF,43 KB) provides some linkage and continuity between the previous and current Lists. The specific reason why a waterbody/pollutant was removed from the List (i.e., delisting action, reassessment, re-segmentation, etc.) is included in this document. Some of these waterbodies/pollutants (specifically, those that have been delisted but that remain impaired) also appear on the list of Other Impaired Waterbody Segments Not Listed Because Development of a TMDL is Not Necessary.

All Impaired Waters

A searchable, sortable spreadsheet of all impaired waters/pollutants is also available. The All Impaired Waters List (Excel, 300 KB) includes both Section 303(d) List waters, as well as Category 4a, 4b and 4c waters that are impaired but not included on the Section 303(d) List.

Consolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology

An outline of the process used to monitor and assess the quality of New York State waters is contained in the New York State Consolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology (CALM). The CALM describes the water quality monitoring, assessment and listing process in order to improve the consistency of assessment and listing decisions. Two components of the CALM, the Assessment Methodology (PDF, 229 KB) and Listing Methodology (PDF, 170 KB), were both used in compiling the Final 2012 Section 303(d) List.

The 2014 CWA Section 303(d) List

As noted above, Section 303(d) of the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) requires states to compile periodically (every two years) a list of impaired waters that do not meet water quality standards and where designated uses are not fully supported and where a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) plan is necessary to address the impairment. States are scheduled to submit their next Section 303(d) Lists to USEPA by April 1, 2014 and the process to update the New York State List is currently underway. A Draft New York State 2014 Section 303(d) List of Impaired/TMDL Waters (PDF, 471 KB) is currently available for public review and comment. Public comment on the List will be accepted for 45 days, through March 14, 2014.

Additionally, the state is required to maintain a Consolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology (CALM) to outline its process for monitoring and assessing the quality of New York State waters, and developing the Section 303(d) List. The CALM consists of three parts:

NYSDEC is currently conducting a review and revision of its CALM documents. An initial draft of a Revised Assessment Methodology (PDF, 357 KB) is also available for comment.

Public comments regarding the Section 303(d) List and/or the Assessment and Listing Methodologies should be mailed to Jeff Myers of the Bureau of Watershed Assessment and Management at 625 Broadway, 4th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-3502, or emailed to jamyers@gw.dec.state.ny.us.

In addition to availability on this website, copies of the Draft New York State 2014 Section 303(d) List and/or the revised Assessment and Listing Methodologies can also be requested by contacting the NYSDEC Bureau of Watershed Assessment and Management by mail at the address above, or by phone at 518-402-8179. An electronic version of these documents can also be requested by email to jamyers@gw.dec.state.ny.us.

A complete schedule for updating the List is as follows.

  • June thru September 2013 - Solicitation of the public for existing water quality data and information that may be useful in compiling the 2014 Section 303(d) List.
  • October thru December 2013 - Review of water quality data and information and development of the Draft 2014 Section 303(d) List for Public Comment.
  • Mid-January thru February 2014 - Public Notice and Comment Period for the Draft 2014 Section 303 (d) List.
  • March 2014 - Review of Public Comments and preparation of Proposed Final 2014 Section 303(d) List.
  • April 1, 2014 - Submittal of Proposed Final 2014 Section 303 (d) List of USEPA.
  • April thru May 2014 - USEPA review of Proposed Final 2014 Section 303 (d) List and NYSDEC response to public comments.
  • June 2014 - USEPA approval of Final NYS 2014 Section 303 (d) List.

Additional information regarding the NYSDEC Water Quality Assessment Program, including the Waterbody Inventory/Priority Waterbodies List assessments and Section 305(b) Water Quality Reporting can be found on the NYSDEC website.