Alaska Nonpoint Source Pollution Overview (14-AK-a)
Alaska’s Nonpoint Source Water Pollution Control Strategy is a statewide plan for protecting Alaska’s natural resources from polluted runoff, also known as nonpoint source pollution. Nonpoint source pollution is water pollution which does not come from an end of pipe discharge, but which comes from many diffuse sources, including precipitation, water drainage, and runoff from construction sites and paved surfaces. Alaska Admin. Code tit. 18 §§ 70.990(42). Nonpoint source pollution is the leading cause of water pollution in Alaska.
Alaska’s statewide plan identifies existing programs; sets a strategy for implementing these programs; establishes goals, objectives and timelines for completion of tasks; and outlines methods for determining success. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) is the agency charged with oversight and implementation of the statewide plan. ADEC places a high priority on obtaining water quality information for waters that may potentially be impacted by nonpoint source pollution.Nonpoint Source Pollution controls are relevant to several activities conducted in the process of constructing and operating a project. A developer is not required to obtain a NPDES permit within the State system. However, the State recognizes that everyone has a responsibility to work together to meet Alaska’s water quality needs. Alaska’s Nonpoint Source Water Pollution Control Strategy. Further, a project may still be subject to other Clean Water Act requirements. Alaska’s Nonpoint Source Water Pollution Control Strategy.
Nonpoint Source Pollution Overview Process
14-AK-a.1 - Will the Project Affect Impaired Waters?
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) is charged with identifying waterbodies within the State that exceed the State’s Water Quality Standards for any particular pollutant (“impaired waters”). Every two years, ADEC provides a list of "impaired waters" to the EPA. This list is often referred to as the 303(d) list (a reference to the Clean Water Act, Section 303(d)). Alaska’s Nonpoint Source Water Pollution Control Strategy.
It is the responsibility of the State and the EPA to work to restore impaired waters through the development and implementation of either a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) document or a Waterbody Recovery Plan. Although each follows a different format, both identify the source of pollution and means to reduce pollutants, and indicate the amount of pollutants that can be introduced to the waterbody while still allowing for overall recovery of the impaired water. Alaska’s Nonpoint Source Water Pollution Control Strategy.
14-AK-a.2 to 14-AK-a.5 – Consult the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) to Determine Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and Waterbody Recovery Plan Requirements
The developer should consult with ADEC to determine whether there is a developed TMDL for the specific stream reach that will be impacted by the proposed project.
ADEC may give the developer an “allowance,” or “total maximum daily load” for particular pollutants and/or prescribe actions called Best Management Practices (BMPs) that the developer can follow to stay within a given allowance. Under a Waterbody Recovery Plan, a range of BMPs is commonly identified in order to reduce or control the nonpoint source pollution that is impairing the waterbody. Alaska’s Nonpoint Source Water Pollution Control Strategy.
14-AK-a.6 to 14-AK-a.8 - Collaborate with Agencies to Incorporate Best Management Practices (BMPs) and TMDL into APDES Permits and Water Quality Certification Permits
If the developer must obtain a Water Quality Certification (WQC) or APDES permit for the proposed project, ADEC will work to incorporate any necessary nonpoint source pollution controls into the WQC or APDES permit.
For more information on Alaska’s Section 401 Water Quality Certification Process, see:
For more information on Alaska’s Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitting process, see:
14-AK-a.9 - 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.10 - Review Potential State/Federal Grants for Implementing Voluntary Nonpoint Source Pollution Controls
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.
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. funds. This is one of ADEC’s primary mechanisms for identification and abatement of nonpoint source water pollution.
14-AK-a.11 - Comply with all Municipal or Local Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Ordinances
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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