As a part of the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for construction and operation of new or expanded treatment facilities specific Monitoring and Sampling Programs are required to be implemented prior to EPD’s authorization to operate the treatment facility. These Monitoring and Sampling Programs include the preparation of a Water-shed Assessment and Watershed Protection Plan.
When a City’s NPDES permit is issued it will include the requirement for these documents to be prepared, approved by EPD and implemented by City ordinance. According to EPD guidelines upon issuance of the City’s NPDES permit for the construction and operation of their upgraded and expanded wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) the City must conduct a watershed assessment and develop a watershed protection plan for all the watershed basins and sub-basins that are contained within the City’s Assessment Area.
Prior to the preparation of these documents the City must prepare a Watershed Monitoring Plan which outlines the assessment area and identifies the number and location of sampling sites along creeks and streams. With the construction or expansion of any treatment facility the current and future growth anticipated could impact State waters through: Point and non-point sources of pollution, Land disturbing ac-tivities and Ongoing land uses. These effects can be characterized through chemical, physical and biological monitoring. The watershed monitoring plan, watershed assessment and watershed protection plan are all related, but each has a specific purpose. Together they provide a basis for a watershed approach to protecting our State’s waters.
Watershed Monitoring Plan (WMP) – The WMP should identify and describe the watershed (Assessment Area) in detail and identify environmental influences contained in and around the service area. It should present these on a map and provide a listing of each. It should propose the field study that will be used to document current water quality and identify stressors that affect the quality of water resources within the service area. It should identify the number and location of monitoring sites where the chemical, physical and biological sampling will be performed for the watershed assessment. The WMP must be approved by EPD prior to preparing the watershed assessment.
Watershed Assessment (WA) – The WA includes much of the background information from the WMP. The majority of the WA consists of the chemical, physical and biological sampling of the monitoring sites, discussions of the results and the identification of sources of current water quality problems. The WA must be approved by EPD prior to preparing the watershed protection plan.
Watershed Protection Plan (WPP) – The WPP is considered an extension of the WA and includes strategies for the continued management, sampling, monitoring and protection of the watershed and State waters. The WPP must contain the steps necessary to improve and meet water quality standards. The WPP must include specific actions, schedules for implementation and be submitted to EPD for approval. Once EPD has issued their approval the final action to implement the WPP is for the City to adopt the WPP for implementation by City ordinance. A copy of the ordinance must be provided to EPD.