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The U.S. Environmental protection Agency (EPA) 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 Region 3, which includes Delaware and Pennsylvania.
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.
The PCB TMDLs address all potential sources of PCBs, including stormwater runoff and runoff from Superfund sites, which are the major contributor of PCBs into the river. EPA, the states of Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and other stakeholders are in the process of developing pollution reduction strategies to address these major sources.
The TMDLs also will limit 142 permitted discharges from municipal wastewater and industrial facilities along the river that were identified as potential sources. These sources will be required to identify how and where the PCBs are entering their systems, and then devise a strategy to capture the PCBs so they don't pass through to the Delaware River.