These comments are submitted on behalf of the Kentucky Resources Council, Inc., a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization whose membership includes numerous individuals and organizations across the Commonwealth whose communities have been adversely affected by sanitary wastewater discharges into Kentucky waterways from inadequate wastewater treatment facilities, homes and on-site wastewater systems.
KRC appreciates this opportunity to comment, and asks that the KIA Board and staff consider amending Section 5 to refine the criteria for priority status, which is currently limited to the priorities under 33 U.S.C. 1296, existing drinking water supplies, outstanding resource waters, and general promotion of Clean Water Act and KRS Chapter 224 compliance, to give high priority to projects that will assist in implementation of the antidegradation requirements of the Clean Water Act.
Protection of the quality of outstanding resource waters is but one tier of the antidegradation policy that also provides for protection of existing water quality for streams where the water quality exceeds the minimum standards for that parameter for the designated use of the stream, and those streams that are impaired because the water quality fails to meet one or more standards necessary for the designated use(s). Priority should be given to those projects that result in appreciable improvement in attainment of designated uses or maintenance of the existing uses for waterbodies in al Tiers, and particularly for those that are designated as impaired for certain uses solely because of levels of pathogenic bacteria (as indicated by fecal or total coliform).
A significant number of stream miles in the state are classified as impaired, and are thus deprived of higher levels of protection for actual water quality, due to illegal wastewater discharges and discharges from inadequate treatment plants. Where upgrading or construction of wastewater treatment projects can remove the impaired designation, the project should be given priority status.
KRC requests that KIA consult with the Division of Water to assure that the priority language in Section 5 fully reinforces the states antidegradation policy and results in strategic investments in improving and maintaining water quality.
Thank you for this opportunity to comment.
cc: David Morgan, Director
Division of Water