United States
Office of Water EPA - 823-F-09-001
oEPA Environmental Protection
Agency	4305T	January 2009
Determination that New or Revised Nutrient Water
Quality Standards are Necessary for Florida
EPA has determined that new or revised numeric
water quality standards for nutrients are
necessary to meet the requirements of the Clean
Water Act (CWA) for the State of Florida. This
determination will support Florida in building
upon its already strong record of water quality
protection, result in standards protective of
applicable designated uses, and further expand
and strengthen the numerous partnerships and
collaborative projects Florida has led and
supported to date.
EPA recognizes Florida as a national leader in
its efforts to manage nutrient-related pollution.
The state currently has a narrative nutrient
criterion in its water quality standards and
assessment procedures in the Impaired Waters
Rule (IWR) for determining impaired waters
based on the narrative criterion. Additionally,
Florida implements Total Maximum Daily
Loads (TMDLs) through Basin Management
Action Plans, and has developed and
implemented other innovative approaches for
addressing point and nonpoint source pollution
in the state.
Despite Florida's widely recognized efforts,
substantial water quality degradation from
nutrient over-enrichment remains a significant
challenge in the state and one that is likely to
worsen with continued population growth and
environmental and land-use changes. EPA has
determined that numeric nutrient water quality
standards are necessary for the State of Florida
to meet the CWA requirement to have standards
that protect applicable designated uses.
Additionally, numeric nutrient standards will
create clear water quality goals and easily
measurable quantitative baselines to support
stronger collaboration and more effective
partnerships with both point and nonpoint source
dischargers of nutrient pollution.
The combined impacts of urban and agricultural
activities along with Florida's physical features
and important and unique aquatic ecosystems
make it clear that the current use of the narrative
nutrient criterion alone is insufficient to ensure
protection of applicable designated uses.
Numeric nutrient standards will strengthen the
foundation for identifying impaired waters,
preparing TMDLs and developing National
Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
(NPDES) permits. In addition, numeric
standards will support the state's ability to
effectively partner with point and nonpoint
sources to control nutrients, thus providing the
necessary protection for the designated uses of
the state's water bodies.
EPA expects to propose numeric nutrient
standards for lakes and flowing waters within 12
months, and for estuaries and coastal waters
within 24 months. EPA expects to work closely
and collaboratively with the State of Florida to
ensure that these numeric nutrient standards are
protective of applicable designated uses, based
on sound scientific rationale, responsive to the
specific needs of Florida's waters, responsive to
available public and stakeholder input, and
sufficient to meet the needs of the state's
complete suite of water quality management
For More Information
For further information on EPA's determination
that new or revised water quality standards for
nutrients are necessary for Florida's surface
waters, you may call Christina Jarvis at (202)
566-0537, or you may send an email to