Hypoxia Task Force Issues Report Summarizing Loads from POTWs

(October 16, 2019) – The Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force (HTF) issued its second Point Source Progress Report in early October, documenting progress made by HTF states in adopting nutrient monitoring and discharge limits and progress in reducing point source discharges.

The October 2019 report shows increases in both monitoring requirements and discharge limits in permits for nutrients since the first Point Source Progress Report in 2016. The October 2019 report also includes a newly completed analysis that summarizes nitrogen and phosphorus loads from all major sewage treatment plants in the 12 HTF states discharging to the Mississippi/Atchafalaya River Basin. The HTF was formed to help coordinate the actions of participating states and federal agencies working on nutrient management within the Gulf of Mexico watershed.

Given the evidence that point source discharges are not the major contributor of nutrients to the watershed, NACWA has previously raised concerns with the HTF over its continued focus on highlighting point source progress. The HTF faced criticism from environmental groups during its meeting in Baton Rouge in May 2019 for its lack of progress in reducing the overall loading to the Gulf, and there is concern that the lack of progress on reducing nonpoint sources of nutrients may lead to renewed efforts to force EPA to develop a total maximum daily load (TMDL) for the entire watershed.

Members with questions can contact Chris Hornback, NACWA’s Deputy CEO.