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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified nutrient criteria development as a national priority and asked states to develop nutrient criteria development plans. Ecology developed a nutrient control plan and submitted it to EPA in May, 2004.
Washington’s nutrient control program combines prevention, carefully chosen trigger criteria, and comprehensive clean-up strategies to ensure that the beneficial uses of the state’s waters will remain protected from the effects of excess nutrients.
- Prevention: Statewide restrictions on phosphorous concentrations in detergents, nutrient control plans for dairies, and an antidegradation program for new or expanding wastewater dischargers form the backbone of the state’s prevention program.
- Trigger Criteria: Target criteria for phosphorus in lakes, dissolved oxygen and pH criteria that are very sensitive to changes in nutrients, and narrative prohibitions on excess algal growth are used together to identify where nutrients need to be controlled to prevent unhealthy conditions.
- Clean-up Programs: When water quality criteria are not met and the beneficial uses of a water body are impacted due to excess nutrients, comprehensive water body clean-up plans are developed to establish specific control objectives for all human sources of nutrients in the watershed.
For more information:
Nutrient Criteria Development in Washington State - Phosphorus (Ecology publication)
EPA’s Approval Letter for the Nutrient Control Plan (PDF)
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