U.S. EPA Launches Effort to Analyze Stressors and the Delta

Last Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it will begin an investigation of the pollutants harming the water quality of the Bay Delta ecosystem. The review will focus on several broad areas, including agricultural pesticides, pharmaceutical, discharge from waste treatment facilities, salinity and other chemicals that make their way into the fragile estuary.

The EPA effort, called an “advance notice of proposed rulemaking,” comes in response to a 2009 directive by the Obama administration to do more on Delta problems. Much to the chagrin of some stakeholder groups, the EPA does not intend to coordinate this effort as a subset of the Bay Delta Conversation Plan (BDCP); rather, it will be a complementary scientific-analysis of the stressors to water quality harming the Delta ecosystem. Speaking to the importance of this report, Jared Blumenfeld, EPA regional administrator, stated “This, for the first time, tries to look holistically and say, ‘What should be done that isn’t being done, and are there things EPA should do that we’re not.’ “