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Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report

Alaska's Integrated Report (IR)

The Clean Water Act (CWA) mandates that each state develop a program to monitor and report on the quality of its waters and prepare a report describing the status of its water quality. The relevant CWA sections are Section 305(b), which requires that the quality of all waterbodies be characterized, and Section 303(d) which requires that states list any waterbodies that do not meet water quality standards (known as polluted or impaired waters). Alaska's Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report (Integrated Report) combines the information into a single comprehensive report.

DEC is seeking comments on updates to the Consolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology (CALM) and Pathogens Listing Methodology used in the Integrated Report. The listing methodologies provide guidance DEC uses to evaluate waters against Alaska Water Quality Standards. This guidance defines minimum data requirements and data evaluation methods used to complete waterbody impairment or attainment determinations. The CALM and Pathogens Listing Methodologies are updated periodically as needed.

Submit Public Comments by selecting the 2021 Consolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology (CALM) and Pathogens Listing Methodology Updates. The deadline to submit written comments is 11:59 PM Alaska Standard Time on April 18, 2021.

What are the Integrated Report categories?

There are five categories to which a waterbody can be assigned:

Categories 1 and 2 Waters for which there is enough information to determine that water quality standards are attained for all or some of their designated uses.
Category 3 Waters for which there is not enough information to determine their status.
Category 4 Waters that are impaired, but have one of several different types of waterbody recovery plans.
Category 5 Waters that are impaired and do not yet have waterbody recovery plans. Also known as 303(d) list impaired waters.

Impairment means that a waterbody persistently exceeds state water quality standards (18 AAC 70), usually determined after two or more years of water quality monitoring. DEC makes impairment decisions using publically available listing methodologies. EPA has approval authority over waters moving into and out of Category 5, also known as the impaired waters list. Waters in Category 4 are also impaired but have an EPA-approved waterbody recovery plan.

Draft 2020 Integrated Report

Public comment period open February 18, 2021 - March 22, 2021

The public comment period for the 2020 Draft Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report (Integrated Report) is now closed, the report will remain in Draft status pending EPA approval. Every two years, DEC is required to report on the condition of Alaska’s waters according to the federal Clean Water Act. This report categorizes waterbodies and includes the CWA reporting requirements for 305(b) and 303(d) list of impaired waters. The Integrated Report also helps the State prioritize waters for appropriate action such as data gathering, watershed protection, and restoration of impaired waters.

Approved 2018 IR

DEC submitted the final 2018 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report to EPA on March 26, 2020, including the 305(b) report on the status of State waters and the 303(d) Impaired Waters List. Major changes in the report including moving several creeks in the Bonanza Creek watershed from Category 5 to Category 2 for turbidity attainment, and moving Eagle River from Category 5 to Category 2 for ammonia, copper, lead, silver and chlorine attainment. For a more detailed summary of the report see the 2018 Integrated Report Fact Sheet. EPA approved Alaska’s Integrated Report on June 23, 2020.

For over 30 years DEC has prepared a “paper” Integrated Report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to satisfy the reporting requirements of the Clean Water Act. The water quality assessment information from the States is sent to the EPA and is managed and maintained in a system called ATTAINS (Assessment and Total Maximum Daily Load Tracking and Implementation System). EPA is revising and redesigning the ATTAINS system to be more streamlined.

Results from Alaska’s Integrated Report can now be found on Hows My Waterway, recently released by EPA. How’s My Waterway integrates data from the Integrated Report with local water quality data, information on aquatic recreation and harvest, and restoration and protection efforts.

The Water Quality Exchange (WQX) is the mechanism for data partners to submit water monitoring data to EPA.

Map of impaired waters as of the 2018 final integrated report.

Locations of impaired waters on this map are approximate, please contact Division of Water staff if you have questions.

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