CONTAMINANT REDUCTION Toxics contamination is considered one of the most serious and challenging problems facing the New York New Jersey Harbor Estuary P by ifs10909


									                       CONTAMINANT REDUCTION
                       Toxics contamination is considered one of the most serious and challenging problems facing the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary Program.
                       Contaminants such as mercury, PCBs, dioxins, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons made their way into the estuary years ago, accumulating and settling
                       in estuarine sediments.

                       Despite some progress made to clean past contamination and reduce or prevent more deposits, contaminants still enter the estuary via a variety of sources
such as erosion of historically contaminated sediments, combined sewer overflows, atmospheric deposition, and tributary runoff. Scientists are still studying the full range of
contaminant effects to the ecosystem; however, sediment toxicity and impaired benthic community structure are apparent and persistent problems.

THE NATIONAL ESTUARY PROGRAM IN ACTION                                                                   New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuar y Program

Reducing point and non-point        and increase the depth of the
sources of contaminants enter-      channel to accommodate in-
ing the harbor is one of many       creasingly   bigger   container
goals HEP has defined in its ac-    ships. With much of the harbor
tion plan to address contami-       sediment already contaminated,
nated sediment. Multi-partner       a large dredging project could
efforts are taking place to help    have serious impacts on habitat
reduce toxicity levels in new       and water quality. Dredging con-
sediment deposits as well as        taminated sediment requires
finding ways port operators can     proper treatment and/or disposal
safely dredge and reuse sedi-       of the material—a complex and
ment. In a similar vein, HEP is     expensive responsibility that no
taking a lead role in developing    single entity is equipped to un-
Total Maximum Daily Loads           dertake alone.
(TMDLs) for toxics in the harbor.
Of particular focus and concern     To determine the origins of con-
are efforts to dredge the harbor    tamination and to assess the va-

                                                                        Photo Credit: NY-NJ Harbor Estuary Program

EFFECTIVE                           •            EFFICIENT                             •                 ADAPTIVE                •            C O L L A B O R AT I V E
             riety of actions needed to reduce      The team also developed sedi-       can impact another, HEP is           tect, restore, and maintain the wa-
             inputs, the states and PANYNJ          ment decontamination process-       studying the interrelationships      ter quality and ecological integrity
             embarked on a 10-year, $30-mil-        es   and   considered    various    and impacts of all categories to     of 28 estuaries of national signifi-
             lion-dollar project collecting field   options for implementing man-       help enable states to roll out all   cance located in 18 coastal states
             data to develop a state-of-the-        agement programs. The U.S. En-      the TMDLs simultaneously. As a       and Puerto Rico.
             art model to identify areas with       vironmental Protection Agency       result, treatment plant operators
             the greatest threat to different       (EPA) plays an important role, as   and others will be able to imple-    For more information about the
             water body uses and set the            two of the largest sources of       ment the necessary load reduc-       NEP go to
             groundwork for developing ef-          sediment contamination to the       tion programs more efficiently       estuaries.
             fective management strategies.         harbor are designated Superfund     and cost-effectively. Meanwhile,
                                                    sites. HEP also facilitates and     managers can access the CARP
             A consortium of agencies and           supports research, mathemati-       tool and evaluate different sce-
             institutions evaluated contami-        cal modeling, and assessments       narios in order to assess their
             nant levels in water, biota, and       to inform regulatory actions tak-   potential contribution to the
             sediments and studied numer-           en by the states and the EPA.       quality of the Harbor Estuary.
             ous contamination sources, such
             as tributaries, legacy sediments,      HEP’s Toxics Work Group is cur-     Visit
             sewage treatment plants, land-         rently developing a technical       to learn more about this and
             fills, wastewater, combined sew-       analysis for attainment of stan-    other HEP efforts.
             er overflow, and stormwater dis-       dards for toxics and any neces-
             charges. In 2007, the group            sary reduction targets. HEP is      EPA’s National Estuary Program
             completed      the    Assessment       using the CARP model to assist      (NEP) is a unique and successful
             Phase of the Contamination As-         with creating the new TMDL for      coastal watershed-based program
             sessment and Reduction Project         toxics, which they plan to finish   established in 1987 under the
             (CARP)—considered by many              in early 2010, along with new       Clean Water Act Amendments.
             experts to be the largest and          TMDLs for pathogens and nutri-      The NEP involves the public and
             most advanced effort of its kind.      ents. And since one contaminant     collaborates with partners to pro-

The NEP: Implementing the Clean Water Act in ways that are Effective, Efficient, Adaptive, and Collaborative.                                                   EPA-842F09001

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