EPA announced that the agency created a new website (found here) focused on nitrogen and phosphorous pollution. The EPA announcement states that the goal of the website is to “provide the public with information about this type of pollution– where it comes from, its impacts on human health and aquatic ecosystems, and actions that people can take to help reduce it.”
The new site also provides a significant amount of information directed at states seeking to develop their own state-level numeric nutrient criteria. EPA refers states to the March 16, 2011, guidance memo (PDF) that provides the framework to “encourage development and implementation of effective state strategies for managing nitrogen and phosphorus pollution.” In addition to the State Framework for Managing Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution, the state section of the new site includes technical references for states to consider when developing their own numeric nutrient standards. These technical documents include technical criteria development guidance documents for various water body types and ecoregional criteria documents. EPA also released a new Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution Data Access Tool. The goal of the tool is to support states in their nitrogen and phosphorus analyses by providing the most current data available on: the extent and magnitude of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution; water quality problems related to this pollution; and potential pollution sources in a format that is readily-accessible and easy-to-use. With this comprehensive data, EPA, the states, and other stakeholders will be able to more quickly gather additional, less-accessible data and develop effective source reduction strategies for nitrogen and phosphorus.
The final section of the new EPA website includes information on the status of state numeric nutrient criteria development. A map titled “Progress Toward Clean Water Act Adopted Numeric Nutrient Criteria” provides, in graphic format, a summary of the status of numeric nutrient criteria for all 50 states and U.S. territories. Links with more specific information on each state or territory program is also provided.