Skip Navigation LinksDEP > Businesses > Water > Bureau of Clean Water > Water Quality Standards > Integrated Water Quality Report 2014

Integrated Water Quality Report - 2014

2014 Pennsylvania Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report


Preface

This report is entitled the "2014 Pennsylvania Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report" (Integrated Report) and satisfies the requirements of both sections 305(b) and 303(d) of the Clean Water Act (CWA). The narrative report contains summaries of various water quality management programs including water quality standards, point and nonpoint source controls. It also includes descriptions of programs to protect lakes, wetlands and groundwater quality. A summary of the use support status of streams and lakes is also presented in the narrative.
 

DEP has an ongoing program to assess the quality of surface waters in Pennsylvania and identify streams and bodies of water that are not attaining designated and existing uses as "impaired." Water quality standards are comprised of the uses, including antidegradation, that waters can support and goals established to protect those uses. Uses include, among other things, aquatic life, fish consumption, recreation and potable water supply, while the goals are numerical or narrative water quality criteria that express the in-stream levels of substances that must be achieved to support the uses.

Section 303(d) of the act requires states to list all impaired surface waters not supporting uses even after appropriate and required water pollution control technologies have been applied. For example, a waterbody impacted by a point source discharge that is not complying with its effluent limits would not be listed on the 303(d) list. The department would correct the surface water impairment by taking a compliance action against the discharger. If the waterbody still did not meet water quality standards after achieving compliance with its permit requirements, it would be included on the 303(d) list of impaired waters. The 303(d) list includes the reason for impairment, which may be one or more point sources, like industrial or sewage discharges, or non-point sources, like abandoned mine lands or agricultural runoff and the pollutant causing the impairment such as metals, pH, mercury or siltation.
 
States or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must determine the conditions that would return the water to a condition that meets water quality standards. As a follow-up to listing, the state or EPA must develop a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for each waterbody on the list. A TMDL identifies allowable pollutant loads to a waterbody from both point and non-point sources that will prevent a violation of water quality standards. A TMDL also includes a margin of safety to ensure protection of the water.

A TMDL is designed to reduce pollutant loads to impaired waters and enable these waters to meet water quality standards. Pennsylvania has committed to developing TMDLs for all impaired waterbodies and will use both traditional and new approaches to correct water quality problems. Public participation is an important part of TMDL development. DEP publishes notice of the availability of each TMDL and provides a comment period as well as a public meeting. All comments are considered before the TMDL is submitted for EPA’s approval.
 
Waterbody assessment and data evaluation is a continuous process. The 2014 Integrated Report was developed using information from stream and lake surveys and other sources, including DEP’s Statewide Surface Water Assessment Program, the Non-point Source Program and, when available, existing and readily available data submitted by external groups and agencies.
 

I. Distribution of Waterbodies into Use Attainment Categories

The water quality status of Pennsylvania's waters is summarized by using a five-part categorization (lists) of waters according to their use attainment status. The categories represent varying levels of use attainment, ranging from Category 1, where all designated water uses are met, to Category 5, where impairment by pollutants requires a TMDL to correct. These category determinations are based on consideration of data and information consistent with the methods outlined in the Assessment Methodology. Each waterbody segment is placed in one of these categories. Different segments of the same stream may appear on more than one list if the attainment status changes as the water flows downstream. The listing categories are as follows:
 
Category 1: Waters attaining all designated uses.

Category 2: Waters where some, but not all, designated uses are met. Attainment status of the remaining designated uses maybe unknown because data are insufficient to categorize a water body consistent with the state’s listing methodology or may be impaired.
 
Category 3: Waters for which there are insufficient or no data and information to determine, consistent with the state’s listing methodology, if designated uses are met.
 
Category 4: Waters impaired for one or more designated use but not needing a TMDL. States may place these waters in one of the following three subcategories:
 
  • Category 4A: TMDL is approved.
  • Category 4B: Expected to meet all designated uses within a reasonable timeframe (three years).
  • Category 4C: Not impaired by a pollutant.
Category 5: Waters impaired for one or more designated uses by any pollutant and requiring the development of a TMDL. Category five includes waters shown to be impaired as the result of biological assessments used to evaluate aquatic life use even if the specific pollutant is not known unless the state can demonstrate that non-pollutant stressors cause the impairment or that no pollutant(s) causes or contribute to the impairment. Category five constitutes the Section 303(d) list that EPA will approve or disapprove under the CWA.
 

II. List Overview

The table below provides the links to the different category lists. The Assessment Methodology is an overview of the methods used to collect, analyze and evaluate the stream and lake assessment information. One through five are as described in the previous section. The stream and lakes are listed separately. The appendices document lists some of the associated administrative functions, including the solicitation of information from outside the department. All lists are sorted by Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUC) shown in Figure 1. After grouping and sorting by HUC codes, the records are sorted alphabetically by stream name. The "unt" abbreviation in the stream name column stands for unnamed tributary and the number is a code which identifies the specific unnamed tributary. List five includes the sources and causes of the problems (impairments), the date the problem first appeared on list five, and the projected date of TMDL completion. Designated uses are aquatic life, fish consumption, recreation or potable water supply.

 
Figure 1.
map
 

III. Using the Lists

The lists are long so they can be difficult to use. As a result, the use of WAVE (WAVE must be viewed utilizing Microsoft Internet Explorer) on the department’s website is recommended. The site provides the user with an interactive map making it easier to find waterbodies and geographic areas of interest. A link to WAVE & a tutorial are located at the bottom after the table. In addition, the data layers used to create the Integrated Report can be downloaded from the PASDA website. The streams are available as geodatabases with the attaining streams in the Integrated List Attaining data set and the impaired streams in the Integrated List Nonattaining data set. To quickly access the data files, once PASDA homepage loads scroll down to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection quick link on the laft hand side menu.  

To find records in the lists, use the Adobe Acrobat "find" function. For example, search on a stream name. However, some common stream names such as Pine Creek may appear many times so again WAVE is recommended in such cases. The best way to find a specific entry on the lists is to first locate the waterbody on WAVE and note the assessment-ID in the data table window. Type this assessment-ID into the appropriate list’s Adobe Acrobat "find" command and it will jump to the record of interest.
 
When commenting to the department on a record, please include the assessment-ID as this uniquely identifies the data record.
 
Note on the Formats: 
PDF: Viewing or printing PDF files requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.

  
2014 Pennsylvania Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Report Narrative 
(formerly 305(b) Report) 
Narrative Report (PDF)
2014 Integrated List of All Waters 
(formerly 303(d) Report)
Category determinations are based on consideration of data and information consistent with the methods outlined in the Assessment Methodology
List Description
List 1: All Uses Attained
Streams (PDF) Attaining all designated uses
Lakes (PDF)
List 2: At least One Use Attained
Streams (PDF) Attaining some designated uses and insufficient or no data available for remaining uses
Lakes (PDF)
List 3: Unassesed
Streams (PDF) Insufficient data or no data to determine if designated uses are met
Lakes
List 4: Impaired For One or More Designated Uses, Not Needing a TMDL
4a:
Streams (PDF) TMDL Has Been Completed
Lakes (PDF)
4b:
Streams (PDF) Compliance issues - expected to meet designated uses in a reasonable amount of time
Lakes
4c:
Streams (PDF) Pollution Impairments
Lakes (PDF)
List 5: Pollutants
Streams (PDF) Impaired for one or more designated uses by any pollutant and requiring a TMDL
Lakes (PDF)
Appendices
A (PDF) Listing of Groups Contacted for Existing and Readily Available Water Quality Related Information and Data
B (PDF) Copy of Postcard Sent to Groups Contacted for Existing and Readily Available Water Quality Related Information and Data
C (PDF) Copy of Information Sheet on DEP Website Available to Groups with Existing and Readily Available Water Quality Related Information and Data
D (PDF) Copy of Data Submission Form, Instructions, and Data Requirements to Use with Existing and Readily Available Water Quality Related Information and Data
Streams E (PDF) List of Streams De-listed from Category 5 in 2014
Lakes E (PDF) List of Lakes De-listed from Category 5 in 2014
F (PDF) List of causes changed in 2014
Streams G (PDF) List of Stream errors corrected in 2014
Lakes G (PDF) List of Lakes errors corrected in 2014
H (PDF) Availability of Public Comment Notice
I (PDF) Comment Response Document

To find a graphical representation of a particular stream of interest, go to WAVE, DEP's web-based GIS system. After zooming in on a geographical area of interest, open the streams folder. Select one or more of the stream attributes and click on refresh to make visible. For assistance using the WAVE application click on this tutorial (PDF) which will guide you through the steps to identify assessment records.

For questions or general assistance with the Integrated Report please contact the Division of Water Quality Standards at 717-787-9637 or send email to RA-WQAssessments@pa.gov.