Water Quality Standards
Every three years the State of Tennessee revisits its Water Quality Standards (Triennial Review). This review provides an opportunity to influence the decisions made on water quality standards for the next three years. TCWN plays a leadership role in the review and monitoring the State’s new procedures and rules and encourages citizen involvement in the public process. The Triennial Review includes a review of the anti-degradation policy and water quality criteria.
303(d) List of Impaired Waters
The State of Tennessee is required to put all waterbodies that do not meet water quality standards on a list of ‘Impaired Waterbodies’ also known as the 303(d) list. This is updated every two years.
In Tennessee, as in most states, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits (NPDES) are managed by the state, though the EPA has oversight. These permits are required for activities that cause pollution through point sources such as pipes. Activities covered under the NPDES program include sewage treatment plants; construction, municipal and industrial stormwater; industrial wastewater; mining; and confined farming operations. TDEC issues and enforces against NPDES permits.
In addition to the NPDES permit program, TDEC issues Aquatic Resources Alteration Permits (ARAP) for those activities proposing to physically impact waters of the state.
Check out TDEC’s permits database to find specific permits.
TMDLs are required by the Clean Water Act to be developed by each state for each waterbody that appears on the State’s 303(d) list. Many inadequacies exist in the development of these plans, particularly with respect to on-the-ground implementation.