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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has established plans to improve water quality on four impaired water bodies within the Skippack Creek Watershed, located north of Philadelphia in Montgomery County.
The plans, which were developed by EPA in coordination with Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, establish "pollution budgets," known as Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) that set the maximum amount of specific pollutants that can be introduced into the river and its tributaries.
"We have worked closely with Pennsylvania to produce these plans that we believe will dramatically improve the environmental health of the Skippack Creek and its tributaries ," said Donald S. Welsh, regional administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.
Skippack Creek is a 15.2 mile stream in Montgomery County, Pa. that begins in Souderton Borough and flows generally southwest where it meets the Perkiomen Creek. Major tributaries in the creek’s 56-square mile basin include the West Branch of Skipppack Creek, Towamencin Creek and Zacharias Creek.
When a water body does not meet its water quality standards for a particular pollutant, the federal Clean Water Act requires the state to include the water body on its list of impaired waters. Pennsylvania had listed waters in the Skippack Creek Watershed as impaired by pollutants including sediment and excessive algal growth, as well as water/flow variability.
Once the water body is impaired, a TMDL must be developed to set the maximum amount of a specific pollutants that an estuary, lake or river can receive. After that load amount is calculated, specified sources of that pollutant in the watershed are required to reduce their contributions of the contaminant to specified levels. EPA developed these TMDLs to meet the requirements under a court order to resolve a civil suit.