Toxic pollutants are different from conventional pollutants such as sediment and bacteria in that they can cause biological impairment at low concentrations due to their high toxicity. Many toxic pollutants tend to bioaccumulate, in other words, their concentrations will increase along the food chain. Many are persistent and tend to attach onto suspended and bedded sediments, therefore the period of impact can greatly exceed the period of discharge.
The Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board is currently dividing the Toxics TMDL into five separate TMDLs based primarily on chemical class, and developing individual implementation plans for each TMDL. These TMDLs include:
Development of the selenium TMDLs and selenium site-specific objectives (SSOs) are being supported by the efforts by the Nitrogen and Selenium Management Program (NSMP), which is a watershed-wide collaborative effort to address nitrogen and selenium issues. The County of Orange is responsible for administering and managing the NSMP, as well as serving as Chair of the program. As the NSMP continues, it will be the primary mechanism for achieving compliance with the nitrogen and selenium TMDLs for Newport Bay watershed.
2014 Selenium TMDL Workshops
In 2009, working documents of the TMDL staff report and Basin Plan Amendment were prepared, but due to numerous scientific, legal and economic challenges, the TMDL development process was halted. Since then, Santa Ana Regional Board staff has continued to work with stakeholders and other regulatory and resource agencies to identify solutions to these challenges. To this end, a series of three workshops will be held to provide an opportunity for focused discussion on remaining issues. These workshops will form the basis for the NSMP stakeholders, acting as a third-party with consultant support, to assist the Regional Board in completing the staff report and Basin Plan Amendment by mid-2014. Regional Board staff intends to bring the selenium TMDLs forward for consideration by the Regional Board by the end of 2014.
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