Section 305(b) of the Federal Clean Water Act requires that states and other entities prepare and submit Watershed Assessment Reports to the US EPA on April 1 of every even-numbered year.
The EPA is required to summarize these reports and prepare a report of their own to Congress.
The 305(b) reports and monitoring data are used to compile a list of impaired waters, commonly referred to as the 303(d) list.
Impaired waters are polluted waters. They are waters that do not meet water quality standards for their designated uses, such as recreation, fishing, or drinking.
Impaired waters could be suffering from excess nutrients, low dissolved oxygen, toxins, bacteria, heat, or any combination of these problems. The most common causes are pathogens, such as bacteria, and nutrients, especially nitrogen and phosphorus. Most impairments come from nonpoint sources, which are harder to control.
When waters are identified as impaired on 303(d) lists, a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) must be developed.
Tributary Action Teams and other groups have recommended pollution control strategies and other types of watershed plans to improve the quality of our waterways.
The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will submit an updated report to EPA in 2022. It will have a draft ready for public comment in January.
To prepare, the Department is asking for public comment on its draft Methodologies for assessing and reporting on the health of Delaware’s watersheds. It also seeks additional data or information that may not already be considered for the draft report.
Comments on the draft Methodologies, and suggestions for data and information to include, are due to the Department by Nov. 1, 2021.
All comments received by that date will be considered in developing the Integrated Report. Comments may be sent to David Wolanski by mail, fax (302-739-6140) or e-mail. E-mail submissions are preferred.
Please call Stephen Williams at 302-739-9939 with questions or requests for additional information.
All of the 305(b) Reports and 303(d) lists that Delaware has submitted to EPA are available below. The Watershed Assessment Section actively solicits information from a wide variety of sources and evaluates the information for inclusion in 305(b) reports. If you have or know of information that should be used in the preparation of the report or the 303(d) list, please contact the section.