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Clean Water Section 319(g) Petition for Mercury: an Innovative Tool for Implementing theNortheast Regional Mercury TMDL

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In the Northeast U.S., fish consumption advisories and impaired waterbodies resulting from elevated levels of mercury in fish are of great concern. The vast majority of this mercury can be attributed to atmospheric deposition, a significant portion of which comes from outside the region. The Northeast states have undertaken two efforts to address regional mercury impairments: the Northeast Regional Mercury TMDL and the Clean Water Act Section 319(g) Petition for Mercury. The TMDL quantifies necessary reductions in fish tissue concentrations and atmospheric deposition of mercury, parses out reductions from in-region and out-of-region sources, and recommends that more stringent federal controls are placed on coal-fired power plants and other mercury sources. Following approval of the TMDL in December 2007, the next step was to implement it. The states moved forward with developing and filing a petition under ยง319(g) of the Clean Water Act , which requires the EPA Administrator to convene a management conference to come to an agreement on how to address mercury pollution from out-of- region states. The Petition was filed with EPA Headquarters in October 2008 and in June 2010, the nation's first Section 319(g) management conference was convened in Philadelphia, PA. The conference served as an opportunity to share successes and challenges related to mercury control efforts, and to discuss strategies for reducing mercury emissions from national and international mercury sources moving forward.

Keywords: Mercury; TMDL; implementation

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-01-01

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