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Idaho Draft Statewide Water Quality Status Report: Comments Due August 22, 2020

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Thursday, July 23, 2020

Water shapes economic growth, the environment, and the very social fabric of our communities.  Ensuring that Idaho's communities have access to safe, reliable, and affordable water and water treatment is the cornerstone of a sustainable and prosperous Idaho. 

The manner in which the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) assesses the quality of Idaho's streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs is one of a number of important programs implemented to comply with the federal Clean Water Act.  When surface waters of Idaho are found to be out of compliance with the water quality criteria necessary to support the designated uses, these water bodies must be reported to the US Environmental Protection Agency; followed by the development of a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL; i.e., pollutant budget) and implementation plan in order to bring the water quality back into compliance.

The draft 2018/2020 Integrated Report has been developed in order to meet these environmental and public health needs. Public comments on the draft 2018/2020 Integrated Report are being invited by the IDEQ by August 22, 2020. 

The 2018/2020 Integrated Report provides background information on the state's water resources, including DEQ’s water pollution control program and special concerns affecting water quality; an overview of DEQ’s surface water monitoring and assessment program, including attainment status results for all state surface waters and a discussion about public health issues; an overview of Idaho’s ground water monitoring and assessment efforts; and a summary of public participation in the development of the Integrated Report.

The following highlights are discussed in more detail in the draft Report:

  • Since the 2016 Integrated Report, the extent of stream and river miles fully supporting beneficial uses has increased from 31,398 miles to 31,923 miles, and the extent of stream and river miles not supporting beneficial uses has decreased from 34,404 miles to 33,021 miles.

  • DEQ de-listed (removed) 146 assessment unit-cause combinations from Categories 4 or 5 (impaired waters).

  • The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highlighted a Non-point Source Management Program success story for Lost Creek and Falls Creek in northern Idaho.

  • Restoration efforts resulted in sediment reductions and improved aquatic habitat conditions in both water bodies. As a result, DEQ removed Lost Creek and Falls Creek from the state’s 2016 list of impaired waters for sediment.

Sufficient water quality data and supporting analysis, coupled with public confidence that the pollutant targets will eventually be achieved, helps provide important justifications for revised management practices and the significant water infrastructure investments expected of municipal and industrial wastewater facilities.

The draft report provides background information on the state's water resources, including DEQ’s water pollution control program and special concerns affecting water quality; an overview of DEQ’s surface water monitoring and assessment program, including assessment results for all state surface waters and a discussion on public health issues; an overview of Idaho’s ground water monitoring and assessment efforts; and a summary of how the public can participate in the development of the Integrated Report. The draft report was developed using DEQ data and other readily available data collected within the last five years (2014–2018).

The following materials are available for review:

  • Draft 2018/2020 Integrated Report (PDF)
  • Draft 2018/2020 Integrated Report Appendix A: Clean Water Act Section 305(b) List and 303(d) List (PDF)
  • Draft 2018/2020 Integrated Report map of water bodies in the state (32 inches x 42 inches) (PDF)
  • Draft 2018/2020 Integrated Report Interactive Mapper (Online)


Written comments will be accepted through August 22 at 5 p.m. MDT.

Submit comments electronically on DEQ’s website or by mail or email to:

Robert Esquivel
Idaho Department of Environmental Quality
Water Quality Division
1410 N. Hilton
Boise, ID 83706
Email: robert.esquivel@deq.idaho.gov

 

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