Alaska Nonpoint Source Pollution (14-AK-a)
Nonpoint Source Pollution Process
14-AK-a.1 - Will the Project Affect Impaired Waters
Nonpoint source water pollution is water pollution which does not come from an end of pipe discharge. Nonpoint source water pollution is not subject to obtaining a NPDES permit within the state system but is still subject to various Clean Water Act requirements.
Nonpoint source pollution control is primarily a voluntary mechanism of regulation except when the proposed development will affect an "impaired water." The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is charged with determining and providing a list of "impaired waters" on a two year cycle to submit to the EPA when the state Water Quality Standards are exceeded. This is often referred to as the 303(d) list (a reference to the Clean Water Act, Section 303(d)).
14-AK-a.2 to 14-AK-a.6 - Consult ADEC to Determine Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and Waterbody Recovery Plan Requirements
One of the first steps toward the abatement of nonpoint source pollution in an impaired waterbody is the development of the TMDL or Waterbody Recovery Plan. When waterbodies are determined to be impaired (when they exceed state Water Quality Standards for a particular pollutant), they are added to the 303(d) (referring to section 303(d) of the CWA) list of impaired waterbodies which is submitted to the EPA every two years.
The developer should consult with the ADEC to determine if there is a developed TMDL requirement for the specific stream reach impacted by the proposed project.
Restoration of an affected waterbody is accomplished through the development and implementation of either a TMDL document or a Waterbody Recovery Plan. While following different formats, both identify the source of and the means to reduce pollutants and the amount of pollutants that can be introduced to the waterbody while still allowing overall recovery to proceed. With this knowledge, parties who introduce pollutants are given an “allowance,” or “total maximum daily load” for that pollutant, and/or prescriptive actions called Best Management Practices (BMPs) that they must follow, to stay within that allowance. Under a Waterbody Recovery Plan, an allowance is not necessarily given but often a range of BMPs are identified to reduce or control the nonpoint source pollution that is impairing the waterbody.
14-AK-a.7 - Collaborate with Agencies to Incorporate BMPs and TMDL into APDES Permits and Water Quality Certification Permits
If either a water quality certification or APDES permit is required, the ADEC will work to incorporate any necessary nonpoint source pollution controls into those permits.
- 14-AK-b: Alaska Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit
- 14-AK-c: Section 401 Water Quality Certification
14-AK-a.8 - Does Developer Wish to Implement Voluntary Nonpoint Source Pollution Controls
Often, developers and local organizations can readily identify the problems of nonpoint source pollution within the area, but they are unable to implement the projects because of lack of funding. There are a number of funds available at the federal, state and local government level which can help provide limited funding for implementing nonpoint source pollution protection control strategies. (See Appendix E of Alaska’s Nonpoint Source Water Pollution Control Strategy for a list of possible funding sources).
14-AK-a.9 - Review Potential State/Federal Grants for Implementing Voluntary Nonpoint Source Pollution Control
Federal Funding Sources The EPA, Office of Water has developed the Catalog of Federal Funding Sources for Watershed Protection to inform watershed partners of federal monies that might be available to fund a variety of watershed protection projects. This web site is a searchable database EPA's Catalog of Federal Funding Sources for Watershed Protection of financial assistance sources.
Performance Partnership Grant The primary source of state funding for nonpoint source activities and projects is an annual Performance Partnership Grant (PPG) administered by EPA that combines funding from a variety of sources authorized in the Clean Water Act. These include funding from Section 319 Nonpoint Source Control, Section 106 Water Pollution Control, Section 106 Groundwater Protection, and Section 104(b)(3) grants. The Performance Partnership Grant funds require approximately 40% match from non-federal sources, which comes from both state funding and from local sources. The scope of work in the Performance Partnership Grant is negotiated annually with EPA and documented in a Performance Partnership Agreement (PPA). Funding from the PPG used to implement the Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program is allocated into four categories:
- DEC water quality programs;
- Collaborative projects with the Department of Fish and Game (DFG), Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and the University of Alaska;
- Grants to communities for local watershed protection and restoration projects;
- Contracts for highly technical projects.
Alaska Clean Water Fund (Revolving Loan Fund) The Alaska Clean Water Fund and the Alaska Drinking Water Fund provide loans and engineering support for drinking water, wastewater, solid waste and nonpoint source pollution projects, such as waterbody restoration and recovery. These loan programs are designed for cities, boroughs and qualified private utilities. Primary services include:
- Providing low-interest loans up to 20 years in duration for projects or eligible portions of projects.
- Providing refinancing of eligible projects.
- Assigning a project engineer to assist with plans, designs, construction and regulations.
- Assuring timely reimbursement for construction expenditures.
- Ensuring appropriate and effective use of loan funds.
ACWA Grant Funds In Alaska, multiple federal grant funds are administered through the ACWA initiative. These grant funds are the CWA Section 319 grant funds and DFG’s Sustainable Salmon grant funds. This is one of ADEC’s primary mechanisms for identification and abatement of nonpoint source water pollution.
14-AK-a.10 - Comply with all Municipal or Local Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Ordinances Affecting the Project
Aside from federal funding and Clean Water Act requirements to meet TMDL standards, many local municipalities and localities will have additional ordinances which affect nonpoint source pollution. The State of Alaska provides a list of Local Ordinances Affecting Nonpoint Source Water Pollution in Alaska which the developer should consult before continuing with the project.
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