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Statewide, OR—The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality will hold a public hearing on the proposed Willamette Basin Mercury Total Maximum Daily Load on Wednesday Aug. 7, 2019. Participants can join the hearing at DEQ’s Portland or Eugene office.

DEQ will accept public comments on the proposed document, commonly called a TMDL, and associated Water Quality Management Plan through Sept. 3, 2019. Subject to public review and comment, DEQ intends to issue the TMDL and Water Quality Management Plan by November 2019.

The public hearing meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. in Portland in DEQ’s 3rd Floor Conference Room, 700 NE Multnomah St. 2 and in Eugene at DEQ, 165 E. 7th Ave., Suite 100.

A TMDL 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 TMDL for mercury – the most recent one completed – to meet a 2011 standard for methyl mercury. The goal of the revised TMDL is to reduce mercury in the basin to levels allowing safe consumption of fish.

In September 2006, EPA approved DEQ’s mercury TMDL for the entire Willamette Basin. DEQ developed the TMDL to meet a mercury criterion in place at the time. Northwest Environmental Advocates filed a lawsuit in 2012, which argued the validity of the mercury TMDL and EPA’s approval of the TMDL. In April 2017, the US District Court issued a ruling requiring EPA to revise the TMDL by April 2019, and allowing the 2006 TMDL to remain in effect until EPA issues or approves the revised TMDL. The court has since approved a DEQ and EPA extension request to Nov. 29, 2019.

More information on the TMDL process is at:

Contacts: Katherine Benenati, DEQ, 541-687-7997,


Environment & Energy