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NACWA works with members of the clean water community on 21st Century challenges facing clean water agencies every day. Many of the same issues the clean water community has dealt with in the past will remain front and center well into the future, but it has become clear that the Clean Water Act alone is no longer capable of ensuring continued improvements in water quality. Recently, our efforts have focused issue by issue and more broadly on exploring possible fixes to the way the nation approaches its water quality needs.

 

Nutrients

Municipal clean water utilities will continue to play a role in the control of nutrient pollution, however all nutrient sources should be more equitably controlled. NACWA believes that broader changes are needed to reduce the significant non-point source contributions.

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Emerging Contaminants

Research is documenting with increasing frequency that many chemical and microbial constituents that have not historically been considered as contaminants are present in the environment on a global scale. These emerging contaminants are commonly derived from households, municipal, agricultural, and industrial wastewater sources and pathways. There is a sound and reasonable approach to addressing this emerging issue.

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Water Quality Standards/Criteria

NACWA is tracking a wide array of water quality standards issues including designated use reviews, criteria development, antidegradation, biomonitoring implementation and mixing zone policies.

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Mercury

New analytical methods and sampling techniques are enabling clean water facilities to measure levels of mercury that were previously undetectable. Because of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new human health criterion for methylmercury in fish tissue and the increasing number of fish advisories based on mercury. More clean water agencies are facing mercury requirements. While NACWA believes each community must make the decisions that are right for its citizens, the Association favors a national, holistic strategy that fairly and equitably takes into account the various sources of mercury – air, industrial, national and international.

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Total Maximum Daily Loads

Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) have been used extensively by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state environmental agencies in implementing the Clean Water Act by establishing maximum pollution limits for industrial wastewater dischargers. EPA has a history of developing and approving TMDLs containing non-daily load expressions. NACWA has argued to request state water quality authorities and the EPA to address TMDL issues on their receiving waters in a non-daily format with few exceptions.

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