Water quality based limitations (WQBLs) are imposed in wastewater permits when it is determined that technology based limitations are not sufficient to protect water quality (40 CFR 125.3). These limitations are based on state and federal water quality standards, as well as the assimilative capacity of the receiving stream.
EPD has developed a number of permitting strategies and reasonable potential analysis procedures to aid in the determination of effluent limitations in NPDES wastewater permits. More information on the development of limitations may be found on the Water Quality Modeling page.
In September 2023, EPD finalized Georgia's roadmap for the development of a comprehensive Nutrient Reduction Strategy for point and nonpoint source discharges. This document builds upon a draft roadmap focused on the development of a comprehensive nutrient permitting strategy for point sources that went through public review and feedback beginning in 2022. The document addresses existing laws, guidance documents, and permitting strategies, as well as EPD's proposed actions and timelines for revising or developing various related strategies and plans.
In 2011, EPD issued the memo Strategy for Addressing Phosphorus in NPDES Permitting which defined a framework for establishing effluent limits and monitoring requirements for permitted point source discharges. As part of EPD’s finalized Roadmap for Developing and Updating Nutrient Reduction Strategies (2023), the Division committed to developing and revising nutrient-related strategies and plans.
The Division is proposing revisions to the 2011 Phosphorus Strategy. A public meeting to present the proposed changes and solicit feedback will be scheduled and announced for Spring 2024.
Bacteria Equivalency Strategy for Using the Optimal Indicator Organisms for WQS and NPDES Permitting (Bacteria Strategy)
During the 2013 Triennial Review, Georgia adopted E. coli and enterococci as the pathogen indicators for waters designated as recreation where primary contact recreational activities such as swimming, water skiing, and white-water boating occur. As part of the 2019 Triennial Review, Georgia adopted E. coli and enterococci criteria for waters designated as fishing, coastal fishing, and drinking water to protect secondary contact recreators who may inadvertently ingest water. The Bacteria Equivalency Strategy for Using the Optimal Indicator Organisms for WQS and NPDES Permitting (Bacteria Strategy) provides a framework for the implementation of the changes to the bacteria criteria for water quality monitoring, 303(d)/305(b) listing purposes, Total Maximum Daily Loads, and wastewater and stormwater permitting.