The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced this week that U.S. EPA has approved its recommendations to remove impairments from parts of three waterbodies from EPA’s List of Impaired Waters under Section 303(d) of the Clean Air Act. After stringent permitting and long-term investments in pollution abatement infrastructure and practices, parts of Upper Narragansett Bay, Mount Hope Bay, and the Blackstone River now meet water quality standards and have been delisted.
In October 2020, DEM held a virtual public workshop to present findings on its statewide assessment of water quality conditions, and showed that these three waterbodies had been addressed and were no longer impaired. DEM included the findings of its assessments for all waterbodies in the state’s Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report.
All states are required under the Clean Water Act to assess and report on the condition of its waters. Practices to bring those waters back to compliance may include addressing combined sewer overflows; addressing fish diversity and quantity concerns; and treating phosphorus, nitrogen, or dissolved oxygen impairment, among other activities.