United States              Office of Water             EPA-823-N-96-004
                       Environmental Protection      Mai! Code 4305             NOVEMBER-DECEMBER
                       Agency                   Washington, DC 20460        1996	
&EPA           Water  Quality
                       Criteria  and
                       Standards

                        Newsletter
                                          BASINS

          .' The Office of Water has developed and released a PC-based toolcalled BASINS.  The
       acronym stands for Better Assessment Science'Integrating point and Nonpoint Sources.
       BASINS has been designed and developed specifically to support development of total
       maximum daily loads (TMDLs) as mandated by Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act. This
       further supports our belief that the technical backbone of the watershed management program
       lies in the development of TMDL calculations which identify the maximum amount of pollutants ,
       that can be assimilated by a watershed without impairing the designed use of the waterbody.
       BASINS combines a.Geographic Information System (GIS) with environmental fate and
       transport models to provide analytical capabilities;that exceed any we have had before. The
       BASINS software provides the user with a multitude of data sources to facilitate the prediction of
       point and nonpoint source impacts on water quality. One especially valuable feature of this
       system to States and local communities is its flexibility to incorporate local data to supplement or
       replace the nationally available data layers.                                          

             BASINS is suitable for many other applications beyond simply developing formal
       TMDLs. Its extensive variety of spatial .data layers and modeling tools along with its ability to
       query the underlying databases and then to display the results on a map, gives it broad
       applicability for anyone involved in community-based environmental protection.

             Supplied databases include general geographic and locational data including land use,
       roads, county and-urban area boundaries, and major streams (Reach File 1 stream network).
       Location and facility information are provided for Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) and Industrial
       Facilities (IFD) sites, Superfund sites, drinking water treatment facilities, U.S. Geological Survey
       (USGS) gage stations and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather
       stations. Other databases supply environmental data; for example Storage and Retrieval  of Water
       Quality "Data (STORET) provides selected water quality; the Permit Compliance System (PCS)

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provides pollutant-specific point source loading data, and the-National Sediment Inventory (NSI)
provides data on pollutant concentrations in bed sediments.

       BASINS has three major modules - targeting and assessment, nonpoint source modeling
to estimate loads to receiving waters, and modeling to integrate point and nonpoint source loads
and route the pollutants downstream. The targeting and assessment module helps the user
characterize a watershed by examining monitoring data. This facilitates identification of
potential sources and causes of water quality problems. Target screens a large geographic area,
such as a state, and identifies cataloging units which exceed a given threshold for a chosen
parameter. Assess then screens selected cataloging units and identifies specific monitoring
stations or discharge locations, categorized by their ambient water quality or pollutant loadings
Results are automatically displayed on.a map, to which any of the other themes may be added in
order to identify potential causes, sources, or land use practices which may contribute to water,
quality problems.

        The nonpoint source model is used to estimate nonpoint source loadings of nutrients,
 sediment, bacteria and toxic substances using data provided by BASINS. The model,   -
 Hydrological Simulation Program-Fortran (HSPF), predicts loadings in mixed land use
 watersheds, including agricultural, forested and urban areas. At a cataloging unit level, all data
 requked for modeling are provided; however, the user has the option to  add or modify input data.

        ToxiRoute, a screening level stream routing model that performs simple dilution
 calculations under mean and low flow conditions for entire watersheds,* "ntegrates "?T"*"
 point source loadings. ToxiRoute integrates the nonpoint source loadings described above with
 point source loadings obtained from permit limits  stored in PCS. It calculates the resulting
 concentrations of the pollutant in each stream reach, and then, returning to the GIS environment,
 displays the results on the watershed map. In this way a user can evaluate, alternative water
 Stfon control  strategies by predicting where water quality standards violations would occur
 Snd Different scenario^  Some pollution problems require a more detailed modeling ^^^^
 than used by ToxiRoute.  Where excessive loading of nutrients and organic ; material may occur,
 the EPA water quality model QUAL2E may be used; it is included within BASINS.

         Because of the tremendous amount of geographic and environmental data contained
  within BASINS,  the databases have been divided by EPA Region. Distribution packages contain
  the CD-ROM(s)  for a given Region, including the executable programs to run BASINS the
  underlying geographic and environmental attribute data, a data extraction tool to move the
  ^ectfic information the user desires from the CD to the PCs hard disk, and pre-recorded scripts
  to assist the user to explore the system andevaluate the watersheds of interest. A user s guide
  provides installation instructions, details on minimum and recommended hardware requirem^s
  examples of how to  navigate and use the various  BASINS modules and ^^^^
  on the supporting databases. BASINS requires a 486 or better IBM-compatible PC with a CD-
  ROM and ArcView 2 software.

         Recognizing mat many enhancements can be made to this tool, we already have initiated
                                                                                 T
some of them. Furthermore, use of atool as powerful as this one requires                 Q f
help meet this need we are planning a comprehensive training course to be offered ^ n 199  Our
effort in this first year will focus on providing training to the EPA Regions and Spates. We will
belo king with each of the Regions on the logistics of this; the Regions will coordinate the
training opportunities with the States. We encourage all users to maintain an open dialogue with

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 the developers of BASINS so that EPA can benefit from your experiences and so that our future
 development efforts may be closely coordinated with your needs.

       Requests for user guides and CD-ROMs for specific EPA Regions should be sent to U.S.
 Environmental Protection Agency, National Center for Environmental Publication and _
 Information, 11029 Kenwood Road, Building 5, Cincinnati, Ohio 45242 (513-489-8190), or via
 the Internet to Waterpubs@epamail.epa.gov. Please refer to the EPA document number for the
 specific EPA Region(s) you are requesting (see the accompanying table).  For more information
 call Jerry LaVeck at 202-260-7771 or Marjorie Coombs at 202-260-9821 (or via the Internet:
 laveck.jerry@epamail.epa.gov or codmbs.marjorie@epamail.epa.gov).
BASINS Users Guide
Region I
Region II
Region III
Region IV
Region V
Region VI
Region VII
Region VIII
Region IX
Region X
CT, ME,MA,NH,RI,VT
NJ,NY*. . .; ' . . ,:
DE,DC,MD,PA,VA,WV
AL,FL,GA,KY,MS,NC,SC,TN .
IL,IN,MI,MN,OH,WI
AR,LA,NM,OK,TX .
IA,KS,MO,NE
CO,MT,ND,SD,UT,WY
AZ,CA,NV* . '
ID,OR,WA *
EPA-823-R-96-001
EPA-823-C-96-001
EPA-823-C-96-Q02
EPA-823-C-96-003
EPA-823-C-96-004
EPA-823-C-96-005
EPA~-823-C-96-006
EPA-823-C-96-OQ7
EPA-823-C-96-008
EPA-823-C-96-009
EPA-823-C-96-010
 .-* Currently BASINS data layers are available only for the contiguous states.
fjU^JUOO.-^

  ELIZABETH,SOUTHERLAND
  ACTING DIRECTOR, STANDARDS
  & APPLIED SCIENCE  DIVISION
   IBS A. HANLON
 ACTING  DIRECTOR,  HEALTH  & '
ECOLOGICAL CRITERIA DIVISION
  PLEASE  NOTE: THIS  NEWSLETTER  IS  NOW  AVAILABLE ON THE INTERNET

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WATER QUALITY STANDARDS
BRANCH/SASD
FRED LEUTNER
(202)260-1542)

WATER QUALITY STANDARDS
REGULATION: INTERIM DRAFT
ANPRM-UPDATE

     On February 27, the Office of Water
      released for comment an interim draft
      of its Advance Notice of Proposed
      Rulemaking on the water quality
      standards regulation (ANPRM).
      Copies were sent in early March to
      representatives in each State and
      Territory, more than 100 Indian
      Tribes, and numerous environmental
      advocates, industry and municipal
      representatives and interested parties.
       The draft document contained
       discussions on numerous issues that
       have arisen out of the collective
       experiences of EPA, State and Tribal
       water quality agencies, environmental
       advocates, municipalities and
       industry and is organized around the
       key elements of the water quality
       standards regulation: uses, criteria,
       antidegradation, and general policies.

       In making this interim draft available,
       EPA provided the opportunity for all
       interested parties to become involved
       in the development of the ANPRM at
       an early stage.  This winter EPA will
       publish in the Federal Register the
       revised ANPRM that reflects this
       input. EPA with help from the public
       will try to identify possible
       amendments to the regulation and
       new guidance or policy that may be ,
       needed to address three objectives:
1) facilitate State and Tribal
implementation of holistic and
integrated watershed-based water
quality planning and management;

2) enhance State and Tribal capability
to incorporate current criteria and
water quality assessment science into
their water quality standards
programs, and;

3) improve the regulation so that it
may be implemented more
effectively.

Through this review and any
resulting changes to the regulation,
and/or its supporting policy and
guidance, EPA expects to facilitate
further water quality improvements
locally and nationally.

EPA requested comments by May 15
on the scope of the document and the
characterization of the issues and we
received 70 sets of comments from
73 respondents. The comments, for
the most part, suggested additional
issues that should be addressed in the
ANPRM as well as additional detail
and examples on issues already in the
draft. When the actual ANPRM is
published in the Federal Register,
EPA will request substantive   ..
comments that reflect commenter's
positions on the ANPRM issues.

After FR publication of the ANPRM,
EPA plans to hold several public
meetings to discuss the ANPRM
issues.  After these meetings and
after reviewing the comments on the
ANPRM, EPA will decide whether to
propose changes to the Water
Quality Standards Regulation.

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       Contact Rob Wood, (202) 260-9536
       orWood.Robert@epamail.epa.gov

NEW VIDEO RELEASED

A new video titled "Wetlands Water Quality
Standards" is available on loan.  The 28
minute production shows, through a series of
interviews, how States and Indian Tribes are
using water quality standards to protect
wetlands .within their jurisdictions. The
video may be obtained from the following:

Wetlands Hotline - 1-800-832-7828
Water Resource Center (202) 260-7786

EPA's Regional Offices:

Region 1 (617) 565-3539   .             .
Region^ (202) 637-3807
Region 3 (215) 566-5717       ,'.
Region 4 (404) 347-3555, Ex. 6633
Region 5 (312) 353-9024
Region 6 (2l4) 665-6643
Region 7 (913) 551-7441
Region 8 (303) 312-6943
Region 9 (415) 744-1997      /
Region 10 (206) 553-1834

EPA PROMULGATES FEDERAL
WATER QUALITY STANDARDS IN
ARIZONA

On May 7, 1996, EPA established federal
water quality standards in the State of
Arizona (61.FR 20686).  :This federal rule
contains a requirement for implementation of
a monitoring program for mercury levels in
fish, and designates the fish consumption
use for specific waterbodies. The intent of
the monitoring program is torassess both the
extent and magnitude of mercury
contamination in the prey base of the bald
eagle and other piscivorous birds in Arizona.
EPA also added the fish consumption use for
14 waterbodies where that use was not
applied. The rule satisfies an order by the .
U.S. District Court in Arizona (in Defenders
of Wildlife v. Browner) which directed EPA
to publish new or revised water quality
standards to supersede certain provisions in
Arizona's water quality standards which
were previously disapproved by EPA in 1993
and 1994.
              ')             '
Since EPA's earlier publication of the
proposed rule for Arizona on January 29,
1996 (61 FR 2766),  the State has worked
aggressively to adopt revised water quality
standards. In  fact, the State adopted revised
provisions in its water quality  standards
regulations which eliminated the need for
Federal promulgation of several provisions
contained in the proposed rule. Should EPA
approve the remaining documentation
submitted by the State, EPA will withdraw
the appropriate  portions of the Federal rule.
Contact: Karen Gourdine (202) 260-1328, or
email: gourdine.karen@epamail.epa.gov
       ~ /'     "
EPA PROPOSES FEDERAL WATER
QUALITY STANDARDS IN
PENNSYLVANIA

On August 29, 1996, EPA published ,
proposed Federal water quality standards for
the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to
comply with a court  order in Raymond
Profitt Foundation v. Browner. The.
proposed standards address aspects of
Pennsylvania's antidegradation policy that
were disapproved by EPA in 1994. The
proposed federal water qualtiy standards will
establish a three-tiered antidegradation,
policy consistent with federal minimum
requirements (contained in 40 CFR Part
131.12) for State water quality standards.

The public comment period for this proposed
rule closed on October 16,  1996. EPA is

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currently reviewing the comments received
and preparing to publish a final rule.
However, if the Commonwealth adopts
revisions to its antidegradation policy that
are consistent with the Federal requirements,
EPA will withdraw this Federal rule.  For
additional information, contact Bob Shippen
at (202) 260-1329 or at
Shippen.Robert@epamail.epa.gov..

ECOLOGICAL RISK ASSESSMENT
BRANCH/HECD
ALAN HAIS
(202)260-0658

BIOLOGICAL CRITERIA

PILOT REGIONAL TECHNICAL
ASSISTANCE CENTER
PROJECT

States have consistently stated that
impediments to developing Biological.
criteria for water resource management
include insufficient funds and a lack of
technical assistance. Although the EPA
Biological Criteria program provides grant
funds to the EPA Regions for State/Tribal
use in biocriteria development, and produces
technical guidance manuals for each surface
water body type, there is still a need for
regional specific applied technical assistance
as the States and Tribes use these manuals to
develop biocriteria programs.

In an effort to better promote biological
 criteria development, EPA has initiated a
pilot center for technical assistance in Region
 III. EPA staff with specialized training and
 experience in taxonomy, defining reference
 conditions, designing survey plans, and
 analyzing data will offer assistance to help
 the States and Tribes with environmental
problems and biological criteria
development. Cooperating local federal
agencies will be asked to provide resources
and staff specialists who have technical
know-how useful in biocriteria development
.and implementation.  The centers will help
States and Tribes not only implement
biocriteria, but will help them address other
environmental concerns as well. The benefit
for the involved agencies is mutually cost-
effective assistance and enhanced
cooperation between the States, Tribes and
the agencies involved.

Two projects have been incorporated in the
pilot effort: a watershed investigation
involving the Chester River on Maryland's
Eastern Shore; and a coastal marine project
investigating the effect of sewage effluent on
marine organisms at Ocean City, Maryland
and Bethany Beach, Delaware.

THE CHESTER RIVER PRO JECT

This pilot project is evaluating the use of the
biocriteria process to define the effect of
nonpoint source and nutrient loadings on
riverine water quality. This relatively small
watershed with discrete agricultural and
municipal land uses is particularly
appropriate not only for this evaluation, but
to initiate a community-based water quality
.enhancement effort involving State and
 County governments and joint Federal
 agency cooperation. Participants include:
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
 (DNR), EPA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
 (USFWS), and the Natural Resources
 Conservation  Service, U.S. Department of
 Agriculture (USDA) as well as faculty at
 Washington College in Chestertown,
 Maryland.

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 Ten mainstem stations were established on
 the Chester Riyer and measurements of N, P.,
 DO, pH, conductivity, pesticides, metals,
 benthic inverterbrates, and fish, were taken
 during the Spring and Summer of 1994 and
/ 1995.  Maryland DNR collected the samples
 and they were analyzed at the joint
 Maryland-National Oceanic and Atmospheric
 Administration cooperative laboratory in
 Oxford and the EPA Central Regional
 Laboratory in Annapolis, Maryland.

 PRELIMINARY RESULTS

 A parallel has been observed between high N
 and P in the agricultural headwaters of the
 river and diminished diversity indices of
 benthic invertebrates. A similar response is
 not yet evident in fish populations. Just
 below Chestertown and its municipal sewage
 discharge, the same effect is noted.  A third
 nutrient peak has also been detected just
 above the river's convergence with the'
 Chesapeake Bay and shows an increase in
 Chlorophyll-a. .Metals and poly-aromatic
 hydrocarbons are still being evaluated, but-
 appear to be high in sediments at  all stations.

 NEXT STEPS          .   :

 The sediment chemistry will be further
 analyzed and biological reference conditions
 for the upper and middle Chester will be
 established using data from rivers in the
 region. The mainstream stations will
 continue to be surveyed and potentially
 diagnostic tributary stations will also be
 established.  The State of Maryland has
 declared the Chester a "Priority Watershed"
 project.
THE COASTAL OCEAN OUTFALL
PROJECT

EPA surveyed a nine station transect
extending from above Bethany Beach,
Delaware to below Ocean City, Maryland.
This near field-far field transect parallels the
Atlantic coast and includes the sewage
outfall discharge sites for both of the above
ocean resort cities. Three years of
measurements of the benthic macro
invertebrate community have produced 
information which clearly define the impact
zones of both outfalls. This project is of
interest to EPA Region III for their National
Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
(NPDES) permit evaluations. It has also
attracted the interest of NO AA and the
USFWS  because the Army Corps of   .
Engineers is assessing the possibility of a
beach replenishment program in the area.

PRELIMINARY RESULTS

An EPA candidate biological monitoring
method has been established suitable for.both
NPDES Permits and other coastal discharge
assessments. The process appears to be
more responsive than traditional water
column chemical tests and will help
determine sewage treatment plant efficiencies
for both municipalities.  Summer benthic
macroinvertebrate communities at both
outfall stations show a marked decline in
species richness and diversity relative to the
other reference sites of the transect. Winter
benthos are not as responsive, and fish
survey results are inconclusive so far.

Next Steps

Efforts will now shift to cost reductions
including the use of larger sieve sizes for the

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benthos, surveys of epibenthos, and a              to question 1 of the Response Form.
searach for indicator taxa among both
invertebrates and fish. Staff at the EPA
Region 3 lab are also participating in training
sessions using these sites and samples to
improve their analytical proficiency as part of
the pilot project.

Future Steps For The Project

The Chester River project, in particular, is                                       .
intended to proceed from data gathering to       ,
land use coordination investigations, and
then to a recommended management
approach.  A report of .the project will be,
prepared and distributed to all EPA Regions.
The Regions can then use these results as
input in designing similar joint agency, ,
community-based cooperative watershed
management efforts. For more information,
contact George Gibson at (410) 573-2618 or   .                                ,
Gibson.George@epamail.gov or write him at
Biological Criteria Program, Health &                                    .
Ecological Criteria Division (4304), Office of
Science and Technology, U.S.                                            ,
Environmental Protection Agency,           '
Washington, DC 20460                                                   '

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      USEPA .   '              .  -     -'..-'
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      WASHINGTON, DC 20460
      treacy.micki@epamail.epa.gov                 

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