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 Implementation Plan for Achieving Total Maximum Daily Load Reductions From Nonpoint Sources for the State of South Carolina

Submitted to EPA September 1998

   

As recommended by the EPA assistant administrator in his guidance of August 8, 1997 and in accordance with EPA Region Four guidance of June 26, 1998, this document outlines the State of South Carolina’s plan to insure that Total Maximum Daily Load pollutant loads allocated to nonpoint sources in impaired waters of the state will be implemented.  This plan integrates existing regulatory and non-regulatory tools currently available to State and local governments with current and proposed planning and funding mechanisms.

 

Assurances

 

            Given that some uncertainty exists in how effective various measures will be in eliminating NPS loads, the Department anticipates some refinements over time to TMDL recommendations.  These will normally correspond with the two year iterations of the 303(d) listing process.  Additionally, the state will continue to identify and implement remedial actions for all 303(d)-listed waters, regardless of whether a TMDL has been developed.  The Federal Clean Water Action Plan provides a methodology and resources for such activities.

            The State intends to achieve wasteload and load allocation reductions in 303(d) listed waters in order to achieve the water quality goals of the Clean Water Act.  This includes waters impaired solely or primarily by NPS sources.  For each such water, a TMDL will be established that includes specific recommendations for reducing NPS loads.  In making these recommendations various pollution control best management practices (BMPs) will be cited for specific applications.  The BMPs recommended will be selected from the total inventory available as described in EPA’s “Guidance Specifying Best Management Practices for NPS Control in Coastal Waters” as well as those that have been applied successfully in South Carolina and nationwide.  BMPs selected will have been proven effective and in most cases will have data available for pollutant removal efficiencies.  Innovative and novel solutions will be considered. 

            The State has an effective NPS Management Program that will be enhanced to implement NPS related TMDL recommendations.  Through the state’s 319 program, considerable expertise in advocating  and implementing NPS control BMPs has been gained by the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and its partner agencies, governments, and individuals.  Beginning in FY 1999 the State will integrate further the 319 Program with TMDL resolution by applying 319 funding preferentially to 303(d) listed waters.  As TMDLs are developed, the Department will refine and focus 319 program resources to effect implementation of specific recommendations contained in TMDLs.  However, the Department will not necessarily require an existing TMDL for 319 funded projects.  The Department recognizes that in some cases it is more efficient to take pro-active remedial action rather than waiting for TMDL development. 

            The State has regulatory programs that can and will be used to cause implementation of NPS load reductions where recommended.  As enumerated below, the Department has existing regulatory authority to compel BMP installation and maintenance in certain cases.  The Department will continue to enforce its NPS related regulatory authorities and will focus such efforts in TMDL watersheds as necessary. 

            DHEC will integrate other  programs, such as the Watershed Water Quality Management Program and NPS Education and Outreach with remedial efforts and TMDL implementation. The Department recognizes that for most 303(d) waters in which impairment results primarily from NPS loads, it will need to seek and obtain the support and voluntary involvement of key stakeholders in the watershed.  The Department has ongoing programs aimed at educating and enlisting the support of the citizenry towards the goal of reducing each person’s NPS contribution. Using the watershed approach, such programs have built and will continue to build partnerships between the Department and private and public stakeholders.

 

Public Participation

 

Public participation is required for all TMDLs under Clean Water Act regulations 40 CFR part 25.  This public participation will be especially vital for NPS TMDLs.  The Department has programs in place, some of which are described below,  that have been used for gaining public and inter-agency input on a variety of water quality related issues.  The Department will continue these programs and refine them to support NPS TMDL development and implementation with due consideration of applicable regulations and the recommendations contained in chapter seven of the July 7, 1998 TMDL FACA report.

 

Relevant Watershed Management Processes

 

The Department intends to utilize certain existing programs to enhance the implementation of NPS load reduction measures in watersheds requiring TMDLs.

 

Section 319 Program: The State’s 319 NPS Management Program will be an integral part of  TMDL implementation.  The State’s 319 Program will be a vital funding mechanism for implementation projects in watersheds requiring NPS load reductions.  The Program includes projects conducted both by DHEC itself or by other natural resource cooperators aimed at assessing and or mitigating all major classes of NPS pollution in the state including that from forestry, agricultural and urban landuses.  The program now has a watershed focus that prioritizes projects based on type and degree of impairment. TMDL integration with the 319 Program will be described in South Carolina’s NPS Management Plan revision. This plan will include South Carolina’s NPS Management Plan for Coastal Areas.

 

The Watershed Water Quality Management Strategy Program: Supported in part through Clean Water Act sections 104(b)(3), 205(j)/604(b),  and 319(h) funding, this program organizes the Department’s water quality efforts on a rotating basis among five major river basins.  Coordinated activities include permitting, monitoring, water quality assessment, strategy development, and wasteload allocation.  Assessment and mitigation of NPS problems has been a significant on going activity of the Watershed Managers assigned to the program.  The Watershed Managers are now responsible for developing TMDL’s identified as being primarily due to NPS sources.  They will utilize their knowledge of nonpoint source problems at the local level, and with existing and future partnerships among watershed stakeholders, will develop TMDLs.  They will then work to facilitate their implementation.

 

Source Water Assessment and Protection Program:  As called for in the 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Department has begun the planning and development of a statewide source water assessment and protection program.  Key components of the program will be the development of a watershed based source water protection delineation, contaminant inventory and a susceptibility analysis.  This information will be used in the prioritization, development and implementation of certain NPS related TMDLs.

 

208 Planning: 208 planning  has the potential of being a significant tool for NPS TMDL implementation by involving regional planning agencies and local governments, both key watershed partners, in TMDL implementation.  The Department currently has memoranda of understanding with the five designated councils of government (COGs) which outline cooperation on point source related TMDLs.  The COGs current role as mediators in wasteload allocation decisions related to point sources could potentially be expanded to include decision making ability for NPS controls in their planning areas, especially those sponsored by local governments.  As with point source related TMDLs the Department will, for example, encourage local governments and regional planning agencies to use 208 planning as a guideline for implementing some NPS controls. 

 

303(e) Planning: South Carolina participates in a continuing planning process (CPP) as described in section 303(e) of the Clean Water Act.  Our CPP planning document serves as an index to more specific program documents, statutes, and regulations.  This document describing TMDL implementation for nonpoint sources will be incorporated into the plan.

 

South Carolina’s Approach to TMDL Implementation

 

South Carolina will employ a multi-faceted approach to the implementation of TMDLs in which the complete array of tools, programs and methodologies available to the Department and its partners will be utilized.

 

Prioritization: Prioritization of TMDL implementation is based in part on regulation 40CFR130.7(b)(4) which requires that impaired waters be prioritized by the severity of impairment and the use support required of the water body.  The Department has incorporated this in the priority and targeting aspects of its 303(d) list.  Another key factor in prioritizing the implementation of  NPS TMDLs will be an evaluation of the existing or committed cooperation of key stakeholders and other NPS partners in the watershed of interest.  Since many NPS controls will be voluntary, close cooperation with  watershed partners will be vital for the success of implementation efforts.  Watersheds where these relationships are strong will usually receive higher priority for implementation.  Prioritization will also take into account other practical opportunities, such as TMDL nesting as recommended in the July 1998 TMDL FACA Report Chapter 4.

 

NPS Partnerships: Existing NPS partners such as USDA, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Clemson University Extension, Councils of Government, the state’s universities, and Conservation Districts have been vital to South Carolina’s NPS management program.  The Department will work to encourage these organizations to focus their water quality improvement efforts related to NPS pollution towards projects in 303(d) watersheds by means of the Department’s membership on the NRCS State Technical Committee, the State NPS Task Force, and other statewide workgroups.  As stated above, local partnerships are also being developed in 303(d) listed watersheds through current and future watershed management activities.  Input from these partnerships will involve both source assessment and implementation activities related to TMDLs.

 

Authorities, Mechanisms, Tools: The Department has the following tools available for use in implementing potential nonpoint source controls recommended in TMDLs:

 

Regulatory:

 

·        The South Carolina Pollution Control Act.

·        The State Storm Water Management and Sediment Reduction Act permitting and                   enforcement.

·        Navigable Waters permitting and enforcement.

·        Municipal and Industrial stormwater NPDES permitting and enforcement.

·        Section 401 Water Quality Certification.

·        On-site Waste Water permitting and enforcement.

·        Animal Feeding Operations permitting and enforcement.

·        Mining and Reclamation permitting and enforcement.

·        Solid Waste Handling Facility permitting and enforcement.

·        Solid Waste Landfill permitting and enforcement.

·        Hazardous Waste Facility permitting and enforcement.

 

Non-regulatory:

 

·        Watershed Water Quality Management Strategy.

·        BMP implementation through cooperative activities with federal, state and local resource conservation agencies.

·        BMP implementation through cooperative activities with local governments.

·        BMP implementation through cooperative activities with non-governmental watershed stakeholders.

·        Source Water Protection Program

·        South Carolina Water Watch Program

·        Nonpoint Source Education Program

 

Resources: The state of South Carolina and its partners will dedicate considerable resources towards the achievement of NPS load reductions called for in TMDLs.  The primary funding sources that the State will use to promote TMDL implementation are the 319 NPS grant and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.  Additionally, numerous DHEC organizational units will be active in the process.  Among those are:

 

·        Watershed Water Quality Management.

·        Environmental Quality Control Districts statewide.

·        Water Quality Monitoring.

·        Industrial and Agricultural Permitting.

·        Source Water Assessment and Protection.

·        Oceans and Coastal Resource Management.

·        Public Education and Outreach.

·        Shellfish Sanitation.

·        On Site Waste Water Management.

·        Water Quality Certification.

·        Water Enforcement

 

South Carolina’s NPS partners are expected to devote resources towards TMDL implementation.  Among these partners are:

 

·        Natural Resources Conservation Service

·        S.C. Forestry Commission

·        Conservation Districts

·        Department of Natural Resources

·        State and private universities

·        Clemson University Extension

·        South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium

·        Local Municipalities

·        Regional Councils of Governments

·        Nonprofit Cooperators

·        Community Associations

 

Based on continuing and past successes in combating NPS pollution at the statewide level and with the cooperation of our statewide NPS partners, the Department feels that this plan can provide a reasonable assurance that TMDL NPS load reductions can be achieved through implementation of theses recommendations.  It should be clear though that this plan will be an evolving process.  The above mentioned tools and programs will be refined and augmented as necessary to meet changing needs and to take advantage of new knowledge and opportunities.