Wyoming Nutrient Work Group May 2018 Feedback Opportunity and Update

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Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality

Wyoming Nutrient Work Group May 2018 Feedback Opportunity and Update

Opportunities to Provide Feedback

As identified in the Wyoming Nutrient Strategy, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ) has also developed a draft strategy to address harmful algal blooms in Wyoming. In addition, WDEQ has revised the Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Action Plan based on available information and lessons learned during the 2017 bloom season. WDEQ is hoping members of the Wyoming Nutrient Work Group will review the strategy and action plan and provide feedback to Lindsay Patterson at Lindsay.Patterson@wyo.gov or 307-777-7079 by May 30, 2018. Once we have reviewed the feedback, we will make any necessary changes and work with the Department of Health and Wyoming Livestock Board to finalize the documents. Once completed, WDEQ will post the documents on the HABs webpage. WDEQ also plans to host an informational webinar regarding HABs in the coming months and will send out a listserv notice with additional details.


Laboratory Equipment for Cyanotoxin Analysis

WDEQ recently began the process of acquiring the equipment necessary to conduct analyses for cyanotoxins at the Water Quality Laboratory in Cheyenne. Cyanotoxins can be produced by HABs and can cause several health effects in humans and animals. The equipment will be more economical than using contract labs and will improve our understanding of and ability to address HABs in Wyoming’s surface waters. WDEQ anticipates that the equipment will be available for the 2018 HABs season.

2018 Lake and Reservoir Sampling and Analysis Plan

The WDEQ has collected nutrient and related data on lakes and reservoirs annually since 2013. Additional sampling at seventeen reservoirs is planned for 2018. The sampling and analysis plan for this effort is available on the numeric nutrient criteria webpage. The primary focus for 2018 is reservoirs in southeast Wyoming and a handful of reservoirs that are used as public water supplies or have high use by recreationists for which limited or no nutrient data are available. The data will be used to support development of numeric nutrient criteria, evaluate the status of nutrient conditions in these reservoirs, and determine how these waters should be prioritized for protection and/or restoration under the Wyoming Nutrient Strategy.

Nutrient Criteria Development Plan and 2018 Nutrient Strategy Priorities

As identified in the February 2018 listserv notice, WDEQ asked for feedback on an updated version of the Wyoming Nutrient Criteria Development Plan and Draft 2018 Priority Items and Next Steps for implementation of the Wyoming Nutrient Strategy. WDEQ has revised the Nutrient Criteria Development Plan based on the feedback received and posted the updated plan on the numeric nutrient criteria webpage. WDEQ did not receive any feedback on the 2018 priorities, so will continue to operate under the February 2018 Draft that is posted in the resources on the Wyoming Nutrient Strategy webpage.

Boysen Reservoir Watershed Nutrient Strategy

WDEQ has recently finished compiling the available flow and nutrient data (i.e., total phosphorus, total nitrogen, and nitrate-nitrogen) in the Boysen Reservoir watershed. The goal of the data compilation is to identify and summarize available nutrient data, estimate loading of nutrients to the reservoir, and identify data gaps. WDEQ is now in the process of putting the information together so that it can be shared with the Wyoming Nutrient Work Group and other stakeholders in the watershed to determine next steps. WDEQ plans to host an informational webinar regarding Boysen Reservoir and will send out a listserv notice with additional details.

Wyoming Basin Lakes Numeric Nutrient Criteria

Three external peer reviewers have provided WDEQ with their feedback on the Wyoming Basin Lakes technical support document. WDEQ is currently evaluating the feedback, updating analyses as necessary, and revising the document. WDEQ is hoping to share a draft of the revised technical support document with the Wyoming Nutrient Work Group in late 2018/early 2019. On May 1, 2018, Eric Hargett shared the results of the analyses completed to date at the Western Numeric Nutrient Criteria Workshop in San Francisco, California. The workshop included presentations on nutrient criteria development and implementation from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and a number of western states and tribes.

Drinking Water Utilities to Monitor for Cyanotoxins

USEPA implements the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) in Wyoming and has been communicating with WDEQ about recent requirements that some public water supplies monitor treated drinking water for cyanotoxins under the fourth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 4). The Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule was included in amendments made to the SDWA in 1996 as a means to collect data for contaminants that are suspected to be present in drinking water, yet do not have health-based standards under the SDWA. UCMR 4 was published in the Federal Register on December 20, 2016 and requires some public water supplies to monitor for cyanotoxins twice a month for four consecutive months between 2018 and 2020. Large surface water systems in Wyoming (those that serve >10,000 people) that will be monitoring in 2018 include Cheyenne, Sheridan, Evanston, Green River, Rock Springs, and Casper. Laramie is scheduled to monitor in 2020. 

Rulemaking to Allow for Discharger Specific Variances

The Environmental Quality Council adopted changes to the Water Quality Rules and Regulations, Chapter 1, Wyoming Surface Water Quality Standards, regarding discharger specific variances on February 21, 2018. The final rule was filed with the Wyoming Secretary of State on April 24, 2018 and can be found in the Secretary of State’s rules database. WDEQ will be submitting the rule package to USEPA pursuant to the federal Clean Water Act.

Feel free to contact Lindsay Patterson at Lindsay.Patterson@wyo.gov or 307-777-7079 with any questions you may have.