January 26, 2018

Regulation No. 37: Arkansas Nutrient Water Quality Trading Regulation

In 2015, the Arkansas General Assembly enacted a bill to establish a nutrient trading program. An advisory group (The Northwest Arkansas Nutrient Trading Research and Advisory Group) was formed to develop regulations outlining the "requirements, standards, and procedures governing the establishment and implementation of nutrient water quality trading programs, including without limitation program scope, eligibility, and threshold treatment requirements." 


On 26 January 2018, the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission unanimously voted to initiate rulemaking to adopt Regulation No. 37. White River Waterkeeper, Jessie Green, was the only person to give public comments at the APC&EC in opposition to the proposed regulation on the premise that, as it stands, it is currently lacking any substantive details outlining how credits will be quantified, monitored, and enforced. Without more details and guidance, the subjective language will result in further degradation of our state waterways while creating a legal loophole for dischargers to pollute waterbodies beyond their natural ability to assimilate nutrients. Nutrient enrichment stimulates nuisance algae blooms which can deplete oxygen and cause detrimental impacts to fish and other aquatic life. Excess nutrients that are flushed downstream are the cause of the Gulf Dead Zone which is reeking havoc on marine fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico and subsequently the sustainability and productivity of coastal resources and economy. 


White River Waterkeeper fully supports the idea of creating a monetary incentive and a private market for landowners to voluntarily take action to reduce non-point source pollution on their lands - a major source of nutrients that are largely unregulated. However, vague, arbitrary, and subjective regulations do not work

November 05, 2017

For the first time, ADEQ has opened the Assessment Methodology up for public participation and review. Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission Regulation No. 2 outlines the water quality standards for the state which outlines the expectations for a waterbody. These expectations, or criteria, are defined by narrative explanations (e.g., "materials stimulating algal growth shall not be present in concentrations sufficient to cause objectionable algal densities...") or numeric thresholds which defined limits for specific chemical parameters. When assessing the quality of our state waters every two years, as required by the Clean Water Act, states evaluate water quality data and information from a set time period to determine if waters are meeting standards. The Assessment Methodology outlines an objective approach for determining whether narrative explanations, which are subjective in nature, are being met. Also, the Assessment Methodology also defines how data will be evaluated (e.g., grouped by season, in combination with other factors, etc.) and sets the number of times standards can be violated before determining a waterbody should be listed as impaired. 


The impaired waterbodies list (aka 303(d) list) is utilized in determining which waterbodies need additional regulatory action to address concerns and ranks sites in order of priority. The 303(d) list is incorporated into a formal report, that summarizes the condition of all waters within a state, and is submitted to Congress every two years. Adequately characterizing the health of our rivers, streams, and lakes is not only a necessary exercise for determining where better pollution controls or restoration activities are needed, but it is also crucial in relaying information to our legislative body so needs for appropriating funding to address water quality can be properly considered. 


Since states are not required to open their Assessment Methodologies up for public participation, we have a unique opportunity to provide thoughtful comments and to gain understanding in controversial or lacking methodologies. Not only is ADEQ accepting feedback, but they have stated they will also be responding to comments. If responses thoroughly address concerns and provide a rationale for decisions, the level of transparency that will be offered through this process will be highly commendable and a major step forward in the ongoing efforts to protect water quality. 


Written input should be delivered or mailed to: Mary Barnett, Water Planning, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, 5301 Northshore Drive, North Little Rock, AR 72118. Email input should be sent to am-comments@adeq.state.ar.us. Comments will be considered if received no later than 4:30 p.m. (Central Time) November 13, 2017. 


If you haven't already, sign up to stay informed to be notified when our full comments are out for submission. To learn more out about our main concerns and for suggestions of comments and questions that you should consider raising, check out our Fact Sheets below. 

June 02, 2017

AR0035386 Marble Falls SID

Despite numerous known failures of the Marble Falls SID infrastructure, a proposed renewal of their permit for the defunct facility is proposed. By issuing AR0034088, ADEQ is making a statement that there are no longer any needs to be addressed and it makes it easier for the state to turn a blind eye to the apparent issues.

May 18, 2017

AR0035386 Future Fuel Chemical Company

Despite known cadmium contamination to the groundwater, ADEQ proposes a new no-discharge permit to allow the continued pollution of groundwater resources. With cadmium migrating to the White River, effects of bioaccumulation and biomagnification are of significant concern. 

March 06, 2017

5278-W Future Fuel Chemical Company

Despite the recognition that current waste disposal practices of waste disposal results in cadmium leaching into groundwater and migrating to the White River, 28 additional acres were proposed for land disposal. Without groundwater standards in Arkansas, those left relying on private drinking water wells don't have access to adequate water quality data and have no choice but to assume that neighbors are being good stewards of shared resources. 

April 06, 2017

5264-W C&H Hog Farm

"We cannot protect the recreational sustainability of our first national river, which was designated for its recreation potential and scenic beauty, by permitting facilities that don’t even provide enough social or economic benefit to outweigh the negative environmental effects."

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