The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has established an environmental plan to reduce polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) released along an 85-mile segment of the Delaware River from Trenton, N.J. downstream to the head of the Delaware Bay, near Liston Point, Del.
"This plan is a critical milestone in removing toxic impairments and ending fish consumption advisories throughout the Delaware estuary," said Donald S. Welsh, regional administrator for EPA's mid-Atlantic region, which includes Delaware and Pennsylvania.
Jane M. Kenny, EPA regional administrator for New York and New Jersey, commented: "We will work diligently with our partners to make a dramatic improvement in the condition of the Delaware River. Though we no longer put PCBs in our products, their widespread use in the past means that they still contaminate our waters and aquatic life. Imposing limits on PCBs in the Delaware estuary is another of the many ways EPA is working to remove these chemicals from our environment once and for all."
The states of Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey consider the Delaware estuary to be impaired due to elevated levels of PCBs in the tissue of fish caught in parts of the Delaware River from Trenton to the Delaware Bay. EPA has established the TMDL plan on behalf of those states based on the work of the Delaware River Basin Commission.
The plan establishes four "pollution budgets," known as Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL), that set the maximum amount of a specific pollutant – in this case PCBs – that can be introduced into the river. For the purpose of implementing the PCB limits, the Delaware River from Trenton to Liston Point has been divided into four segments, each with its own TMDL.