Coastal Non-Point Source Pollution Management
What is the Coastal Non-point Source Pollution Management Program?
The Coastal Nonpoint Source Program is a part of the Georgia Coastal Management Program that addresses water quality. It was mandated to all coastal states by Section 6217 of the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendment, and is administered at the federal level by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Thus, it is also referred to as the 6217 Program. It is a non-regulatory program that seeks to reduce non-point source pollution by providing funding, program development, and technical assistance for a range of activities that implement non-point source management measures, such as modifying existing construction design standards, local ordinances, public works and contractor training programs, and existing water quality protection programs. These management measures were mandated by the US EPA guidance document 840-B-92-002 (1993) and are non-numeric directives that seek to reduce non-point source pollution from sources that are exempt from regulation under federal or state environmental laws. That is, the 6217 management measures address pollution sources that were originally thought to be too insignificant to address by regulations. There are 56 of these measures.
Some examples of 6217 management measures that address urban and suburban activities are:
Some examples for marina operations include:
The Coastal Non-point Source Programs goal is to facilitate the development of any program that addresses the 6217 pollution management measures. Examples of qualifying programs include incentives programs to reduce pesticide use, educational programs aimed at the public and commercial sectors, flood control programs and initiatives, and stormwater Best Management Practice demonstration programs.
TMDLs and Non-point Source Pollution
TMDL stands for Total Maximum Daily Load. As part of the federal Clean Water Act, Georgia monitors representative waterways across the state for certain contaminants. In areas where these contaminants are found to persist, the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) develops a TMDL, which is the amount of a particular pollutant that the waterway under scrutiny can assimilate and still maintain its function as a fishable/recreational waterway. Many waterways across the State (and the nation) exceed their TMDLs for one or more pollutants. Thus, nearby local governments, industries, and other stakeholders within a particular watershed must come together and develop a plan for reducing their respective loadings of this pollutant to the waterway. Most often in coastal Georgia, a TMDL has been developed for fecal coliform, a bacteria that is associated with and indicative of the presence of sewage/septage in the water way. There are a few TMDLs for toxic metals, too. In the TMDL documentation developed by EPD for each waterway, two types of pollution entering the waterway are accounted for. One is the point-sources of pollution, meaning the wastewater discharges from industry and county/city domestic wastewater treatment plants. The other type is non-point source pollution, which is estimated by the types of land use in the watershed. For fecal coliform TMDLs, the non-point sources of pollution listed to be at fault are almost always septic systems and, in some areas, animal farms. Even a fairly small animal farm can contribute a great deal of sewage type bacteria to the nearby stream or ditch.
Materials for Educators and Speakers