Salem, OR—The Willamette Basin Mercury Total Maximum Daily Load Advisory Committee will meet for the first time on Dec. 5.
The meeting will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the State Library of Oregon, Room 102/103, 250 Winter Street NE, Salem. The meeting is open to the public, but discussion will be limited to committee members. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality expects to hold a public comment period next year on proposed revisions to the Total Maximum Daily Load.
A Total Maximum Daily Load establishes the maximum amount of a pollutant allowed in a waterbody and serves as the starting point or planning tool for restoring water quality.
DEQ and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are revising the 2006 Willamette Basin Total Maximum Daily Load for mercury – the most recent one completed -- to meet a 2011 standard for methyl mercury and court-ordered deadline of April 2019. The goal of the revised Total Maximum Daily Load is to reduce mercury in the Willamette Basin to levels allowing safe consumption of fish. The 2011 standard is 10 times more stringent than the 2006 standard.
Earlier this year a District Court judge supported a claim by Northwest Environmental Advocates challenging EPA's 2011 approval of DEQ's Willamette Mercury Total Maximum Daily Load and set a two-year deadline for EPA and DEQ to revise the plan.
DEQ and EPA formed a team earlier this year to revise the 2006 Total Maximum Daily Load. The team consists of staff and management from DEQ, EPA Watershed Unit staff and regional mercury expert, and contractors.
The advisory committee will meet roughly once a month. DEQ expects to have a draft Total Maximum Daily Load in late 2018.
Katherine Benenati, Public Affairs Specialist, Eugene, 541-686-7997, firstname.lastname@example.org