Consolidated SPDES Renewals
In January 2001, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ("Department") submitted A Total Maximum Daily Load Analysis to Achieve Water Quality Standards for Dissolved Oxygen in Long Island Sound (hereafter the "LIS TMDL") to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Table 6 of the LIS TMDL identifies the sum of the New York and Connecticut Waste Load Allocations ("WLAs") from each of 11 management zones. Table 7 of the LIS TMDL contains equivalency factors that identify the relative impact of nitrogen from each zone on dissolved oxygen ("DO") conditions in Long Island Sound. Compliance with the LIS TMDL can be achieved through meeting the WLAs or through new allocations resulting in equal or greater water quality improvements, as defined by the Table 7 equivalency factors. The equivalency factors comprise river delivery factors (the amount of nitrogen discharged to a river segment that makes it the mouth of the river) and Long Island Sound transport efficiencies (the relative impact of nitrogen discharged from a management zone on the hypoxic hotspots). In other words, allocations among facility-specific WLAs can be modified without resubmitting a revised LIS TMDL as long as the new allocations resulted in equal or greater water quality improvements, as determined by the use of the exchange ratios identified in Table 7 of the LIS TMDL document.
The Table 7 transport efficiencies were established from predictions of the "LIS 3.0" water quality model developed in the 1990s. A new model, called the Systemwide Eutrophication Model ("SWEM") has subsequently been developed. The Department recognized early on that SWEM had certain advantages over LIS 3.0 and that the SWEM should be used in the future, once accepted. See Department Response to Public Comments on the LIS TMDL, Modeling Tools on pg 10-11 and Recent/Future Monitoring on pg 24 (January 2001), http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dow/responseliss.pdf. In fact, the LIS TMDL cites the application of SWEM as one of the elements to a planned revision of the LIS TMDL. See LIS TMDL, Reassessment on pg 48 and Table 14. SWEM contains a number of technical improvements over LIS 3.0 and has since been reviewed and approved by the Long Island Sound Study for application to Long Island Sound planning and management.
In light of its subsequent approval by the Long Island Sound Study and after consultation with and without objection from Connecticut DEP, the Department hereby proposes a limited amendment to the LIS TMDL to incorporate the insights from SWEM predictions of the relationship between the DO response to nitrogen discharges from zone 8 (the upper East River Management Zone) and zone 9 (the lower East River Management Zone). This limited technical amendment would support the New York City Department of Environmental Protection's ("New York City DEP") development of a long-term nitrogen control program to attain its WLAs for zone 8 and zone 9 discharges, without compromising water quality. The technical amendment would formalize the use of SWEM ratios in meeting the allocations to those zones in advance of a more comprehensive revision of the LIS TMDL. The Department is soliciting public comment on the proposed amendment before submitting it to the EPA for review and approval.
SWEM predicts a greater overall DO response from achieving the zone 8 and zone 9 WLAs than LIS 3.0. SWEM also predicts that the ratio of the transport efficiencies (the relative impact of nitrogen discharged from a management zone on the hypoxic hotspots) between zone 8 and zone 9 is 4:1, compared to the LIS 3.0 transport ratio of 2:1. Therefore, the Department proposes to modify the LIS TMDL Table 7 transport efficiencies for zone 8 and zone 9 to a 4:1 ratio from a 2:1 ratio. New York City DEP would comply with the LIS TMDL through meeting the WLAs or through new allocations using the updates to the Table 7 equivalency factors. This revision to the equivalency factors would only apply to reallocations between zone 8 and zone 9. Because SWEM predicts a greater overall DO response from achieving the zone 8 and zone 9 WLAs than LIS 3.0, this change places no additional burden on discharges from other zones to achieve water quality standards. The timeframe for using this amendment based on a combination of SWEM and LIS 3.0 ratios would be until the anticipated full SWEM technical update (and other technical updates) are incorporated into a complete LIS TMDL revision.
Public comment on the proposed amendment will be accepted for 30 days, through April 7, 2006. Comments should be submitted in writing to Philip O’Brien of Division of Water, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-3502, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Suffolk County - The New York State Department Of Environmental Conservation, as lead agency, has determined that the proposed Fire Island to Montauk Point Breach Contingency Plan Water Quality Certification Modification ( see Complete Application in this issue) will not have a significant adverse environmental impact. The action involves the applicant, the US Army Corps of Engineers, seeking a modification to the Water Quality Certification for the Fire Island to Montauk Point Breach Contingency Plan to extend the area covered by the Breach Contingency Plan to include the barrier islands east of Fire Island (east of Moriches Inlet) to the area of the Southampton mainland just west of Halsey Neck Lane. This extended area would include the 15-mile long barrier island containing Westhampton and Tiana beaches and the 4-mile segment which extends east of Shinnecock Inlet to the Southampton mainland. These additional areas were previously examined and considered under the Breach Contingency Plan study and received a full review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) but were not included in the Water Quality Certification which was ultimately issued. No changes to the components of the Breach Contingency Plan would occur. The Breach Contingency Plan would continue to authorize the filling and closing of breaches in the barrier islands, caused by coastal storms, utilizing a design template of a 150-foot wide sand berm and 9-foot high dune constructed between the Atlantic Ocean and the back bay blending into existing topography. Potential sand sources would continue to be from a variety of authorized sources including upland sources, strategic stockpiles, existing channel and harbor dredging operations or offshore borrow areas. The project is located at the South Shore Barrier Islands of Long Island from Fire Island Inlet east to the Southampton Mainland including Fire Island, barrier island containing Westhampton and Tiana beaches and the barrier extending 4 miles east of Shinnecock Inlet in the Towns of Babylon, Islip, Brookhaven and Southampton in the County of Suffolk.
Contact: John W. Pavacic, NYS Dept. Of Environmental Conservation, Division of Environmental Permits, Building 40, SUNY, Stony Brook, NY 11790-2356, phone: (631) 444-0365. fax: (631) 444-0360, e-mail: email@example.com.
Suffolk County - The New York State Department Of Environmental Conservation, as lead agency, has determined that the proposed Coram Materials Wetland Rehabilitation & Expanded Pond Excavation may have a significant adverse impact on the environment and a Draft Environmental Impact Statement must be prepared. The action involves expansion of a 20-acre pond extending 25 feet below the groundwater water table (which is currently under construction) and on an existing denuded site to a 54-acre pond extending 100 feet below the groundwater table. The project is located west of Miller Place - Yaphank Road and north of Whiskey Road in Miller Place.
Contact: John A. Wieland, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Environmental Permits, SUNY Bldg #40, Stony Brook, NY 11790-2356, phone: (631) 444-0367.