Take Action: Comment on Kentucky’s Water Protections

The Kentucky Division of Water is currently considering revisions to water quality protections for the lakes, streams, and rivers of the state.  They’ve proposed several changes that are good, but have left other important issues out altogether.  The deadline for public comments is tomorrow evening (the 30th)! Be prepared–this is a little more technical.

First, they’ve proposed to modify the pollution limit for selenium in streams.  While we don’t love it, what the DOW has proposed is better than what they proposed back in 2012.  Now, they will effectively have both a limit for pollution in the water and a limit for contamination levels of fish tissue.

Second, they’ve proposed to use E. coli exclusively to judge the levels of bacteria that are safe enough for recreational use of waterways.  This means that fecal coliform will no longer be used.  This follows EPA’s recommendations on the matter.

Third, they’ve added both new segments and additional lengths to the Outstanding State Resource Waters list.  These waters are ones that have very high quality water conditions and/or contain threatened and endangered species.  These waters receive increased scrutiny and protections to ensure that any potential pollution impacts are sufficiently analyzed and investigated.  However, the additional protections provided are very limited, and the state could certainly add more protections for these waters.

Unfortunately, the state has left out some important issues.

They’ve not proposed to adopt EPA’s new ammonia pollution standard that is protective of aquatic life.  This is very important in Kentucky because of the protections this would provide to our great many freshwater mussel species.

They’ve not proposed any measures to deal with mercury pollution in the Ohio River, such as a more restrictive mercury pollution standard.

They’ve not proposed any measures to reduce nutrient pollution in our waterways – amidst an historic algal bloom on the Ohio River fed by excessive nutrient pollution.

We have very few pollution standards to protect from the myriad of fracking industry water concerns that are becoming more of a concern in Kentucky.

Tell the state that our waterways need more protections to ensure that we can recreate in them and eat the fish from them without having to worry about our health!  Take action! Submit comments by the evening of the 30th!

Just fill out the form below, modify the comments as desired, click “send” and it will send an email to the DOW staff.