Water Quality


Water Quality Information

MS4 permit writers …

June 2017

Do you want to know which Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permits have provisions for pesticides, metals, mercury, pH, temperature, oil and grease, trash, DDT, PCBs, marine debris, acid mine drainage, nutrients, sediment, pathogens, dissolved oxygen, or chloride?  EPA has released a new compendium of MS4 permits that include water quality-based requirements for specific pollutant parameters that are consistent with approved Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) and protecting designated uses.

EPA reviewed existing state and EPA permits and identified different ways of implementing TMDLs through quantitative requirements or pollutant-specific management measures, or a combination of both.  EPA gleaned examples of how permitting authorities measured progress of implementation of water quality-based requirements through review and approval of implementation plans, monitoring/modeling, and reporting requirements.  EPA also include examples of water quality-based requirements related to discharges to impaired waters without approved TMDLs.

This compendium is third in the MS4 Permit Compendium series.  These compendia feature examples from existing MS4 permits of clear, specific and measurable requirements:

Check out the new compendium for examples of how these pollutants are addressed in MS4 permits.



Comment Period on Impaired Waters List Open for 60 Days

May 3, 2017

The Kentucky Division of Water has opened a 60-day comment period on the 2016 draft 303(d) list of impaired waters, as required by the federal Water Pollution Control (or Clean Water) Act of 1972.  Section 305(b) of the Clean Water Act (the Act) requires each state to monitor, assess and report on the quality of water resources relative to designated uses established in accordance with Kentucky’s water quality standards.

Section 303(d) of the Act requires each state to identify those waters that have been monitored and assessed that do not or are not expected to meet state water quality standards for their intended uses. Section 303(d) also requires a state to develop a priority ranking of these waters, taking into account the severity of the pollution and the designated uses of the water (e.g. recreational contact, aquatic habitat, water supply). For each water body included in the list, the state must develop a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) which is a daily maximum allowance for each identified pollutant.

The TMDL is developed to support plans and strategies that will result in the water body meeting its designated uses. Water bodies that are proposed for removal from the list are also included in the report.  The identified waters and priority rankings are presented in the draft 2016, 303(d) list of impaired waters.

The 2016 draft impaired waters list is based primarily on results from monitoring and assessments performed on 646 stream miles in the Big Sandy River Basin Management Unit (BMU) and 1,833 stream miles in the Kentucky River BMU. Publicly accessible reservoirs (lakes) were monitored and assessed from those two BMUs from April 2012 to March 2014. The report also incorporates assessment data and results from monitoring that occurred outside of the BMUs of focus, totaling 1,573 stream miles and providing a statewide update of monitoring results.

The Excel© file containing the draft version of the 2016 303(d) list may be viewed on the Division of Water’s website at http://water.ky.gov/Pages/PublicNotices.aspx. Links to the summaries of new listings can be found in the ‘Draft 2016 New Listings’ tab in the Draft 2016 303(d) List Excel file, as well as on the Kentucky Water Health Portal at http://watermaps.ky.gov/WaterHealthPortal/.

Comments on the draft list may be sent to alicia.jacobs@ky.gov or mailed to Alicia Jacobs at the Division of Water, 300 Sower Blvd, Frankfort, KY 40601. Comments received by email or mail must be dated or postmarked no later than July 28, 2017.  For further information, please contact Ms. Jacobs at 502-782-69877.


Kentucky’s Water Health Guide


Kentucky’s Water Health Guide is a summary of the current and historic conditions, activities, trends and impacts on the health of the rivers and streams that flow through the Commonwealth.  This report describes the natural conditions of the streams and lakes in Kentucky, such as the types of rocks and soils, the land features, the types of vegetation, the quality of the water and how it moves.  It also describes the human activities and influences, such as: building and maintenance of homes, businesses, and industries; raising of crops and livestock; treatment of human waste; recreational activities; timber cutting; mining; construction and maintenance of water lines, sewer lines, roads, pipelines, and other types of infrastructure that support human populations.

All of these conditions and activities have an effect on the water that moves over and through the land as it drains into the streams and rivers.  This determines the quality of the water and influences the health of the waterways.  This report provides information about these influences and the water quality in Kentucky.

Click on Kentucky’s Water Health Guide to learn about all those topics and so much more!

The mission of the Watershed Management Branch is to protect and restore the beneficial uses of the waters of the Commonwealth by managing water quality and quantity, facilitating stewardship and promoting cooperation among stakeholders.  Link to KDOW’s Watershed webpage to learn more about the basin watershed planning areas near you.


EPA releases Route to Resilience Tool

April 2017

Maintaining and repairing aging drinking water infrastructure remains a significant challenge for the water sector.  Utilities must be able to increase their readiness and resilience to potential all-hazard incidents and adapt to future hazards that may impact their ability to provide safe and clean drinking water.

EPA is releasing the Route to Resilience (RtoR) tool that will help small and medium sized drinking water and wastewater utilities learn more about becoming resilient to all-hazards such as floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and contamination incidents.  The interactive desktop application guides utilities through 5 stops along the Route to Resilience — Assess, Plan, Train, Respond, and Recover. RtoR also provides utilities with a custom report that highlights products and tools that will help utilities on their path to resilience. 

To download the tool, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/waterresilience/route-resilience-drinking-water-and-wastewater-utilities.


EPA Approves of Kentucky’s 303(d) List of Surface Water

November 22, 2016

On Dec. 4, 2015, the KDOW submitted the 2014 Integrated Report to Congress on the Condition of Water Resources in Kentucky, Volume I and Volume II to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Volume II of the 2014 Integrated Report to Congress, 303(d) List of Surface Waters, requires approval from the E.P.A. The Division is pleased to announce on October 13, 2016, the E.P.A approved Kentucky’s 2014 Section 303(d) list.

The 2014 Integrated Report to Congress on the Condition of Water Resources in Kentucky, Volume I and Volume II is located on the Division’s website water.ky.gov.


EPA’s National Lakes Assessment Finds Nutrient Pollution is Widespread in Lakes

December 8, 2016

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released the results of a national assessment showing that nutrient pollution is widespread in the nation’s lakes, with 4 in 10 lakes suffering from too much nitrogen and phosphorus.  Excess nutrients can cause algae blooms, lower oxygen levels, degraded habitat for fish and other life, and lower water quality for recreation.  The National Lakes Assessment also found an algal toxin – microcystin – in 39 percent of lakes but below levels of concern.  Low concentrations of the herbicide atrazine were found in 30 percent of lakes.  

“America’s lakes and reservoirs provide many environmental and public health benefits; we use lakes for drinking water, energy, food and recreation, and our fish, birds, and wildlife depend on lakes for habitat,” said Joel Beauvais, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water at EPA.  “The National Lakes Assessment provides us with valuable information to help protect and restore our lakes across the country.”

The assessment is part of a series of National Aquatic Resource Surveys designed to provide information about the condition of water resources in the U.S.  The surveys are conducted in partnership with states and tribes to provide national-scale assessments of the nation’s waters.  An earlier National Lakes Assessment was conducted in 2007, but this latest study is expanded to include smaller lakes and increase the number of lakes assessed.  Lake managers can use the new interactive dashboard to evaluate site-specific information and to explore population-level results.  Conducted on a five-year basis, future lake surveys will help water resource managers assess broad-scale differences in the data and perform trends analysis. 

Nutrient pollution is one of America’s most widespread and costly environmental and public health challenges.  EPA is working on many fronts to reduce the severity, extent, and impacts of nutrient pollution in our nation’s lakes and other waters.  These efforts involve overseeing regulatory programs, conducting outreach and engaging partners, providing technical and programmatic support to states, financing nutrient reduction activities, and conducting research and development.  In September, EPA called upon states and stakeholders to intensify their efforts to reduce nutrient pollution in collaboration with EPA.    

For more information: https://www.epa.gov/national-aquatic-resource-surveys/nla.


Protecting Drinking Water from Harmful Algal Blooms

August 2016

Algal toxins are a growing problem in the US. Harmful algal blooms (HABs) produce algal toxins that can cause fish kills and contaminate drinking water supplies.  EPA has released a comprehensive strategic plan outlining actions to address algal toxins in drinking water.  Solving this complex challenge to our drinking water will require action at all levels of government and approaches that are collaborative, innovative, and persistent.

The KDOW continues to monitor Kentucky’s waters for Harmful Algal Blooms









KAMM mailing address: KAMM, PO Box 1016, Frankfort, KY 40602-1016.  

Have questions, contact us at help@kymitigation.org.