1996 305b PART III: SURFACE WATER ASSESSMENT


Chapter 1. Surface Water Monitoring Program

Fixed Station Long-Term Surface Water Quality Network
Water Quality Data Storage
Stage/Flow and Hydrology
Toxic Substances Monitoring Program
Fish Tissue Monitoring Activities
Engineering Section Water Quality Surveys

Special Studies
Use Attainability Studies

Biotoxicity Monitoring Summary
Biological Monitoring

Volunteer Monitoring
Ecoregion Sampling

Early Warning Organic Compound Detection System

Chapter 2. Assessment Methodology and Summary Data

Assessment Methodology
Water Quality Summary
Section 303(d) Water Bodies

Chapter 3. River and Stream Water Quality Assessment

Summary of River and Stream Water Quality Assessments
Suspected Causes of Non-Support of Designated Uses
Suspected Sources of Non-Support of Designated Uses

Chapter 4. Lake Water Quality Assessment

Summary of Lake Water Quality Assessments
Suspected Causes of Non-Support of Designated Uses
Suspected Sources of Non-support of Designated Uses
Issues Concerning Lake Water Quality
Control Methods
Restoration Efforts
Impaired and Threatened Lakes
Toxic Effects on Lakes

Chapter 5. Estuary and Coastal Water Quality Assessment

Summary of Estuary and Coastal Water Quality Assessments
Suspected Causes of Non-Support of Designated Uses
Suspected Sources of Non-support of Designated Uses
Coastal Zone Statistics
The Gulf of Mexico Program
Coastal Nonpoint Source Program
Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program
Hypoxia in the Near Shore Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana Coast

Chapter 6. Wetlands Water Quality Assessment

Summary of Wetland Water Quality Assessments
Suspected Causes of Non-Support of Designated Uses
Suspected Sources of Non-support of Designated Uses
Extent of Wetland Resources
Integrity of Wetland Resources (Wetland Loss)
Wetland Protection and Restoration Activities

Water Quality Certification
Wetlands Reserve Program
Louisiana Coastal Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Authority (LCWCRA)
Tensas River Basin Watershed Protection Plan
Wetlands and Wastewater Discharges

Chapter 7. Public Health/Aquatic Life Concerns

Water Bodies Affected by Toxicants or Sediment
Fishing and Swimming Advisories Currently in Effect
Pollution-Caused Fish Kills/Abnormalities
Shellfish restrictions/closures currently in effect
Restrictions on Surface Drinking Water Supplies for Calendar Years 1993-1995
Restrictions on Swimming
Incidence of Waterborne Diseases
Toxic Related Concerns

Calcasieu Estuary
Bayou Bonfouca, Subsegments 040907 and 040908
Bayou Trepagnier, Subsegment 041202
Devil's Swamp Lake, Subsegment 070203
Capitol Lake, Subsegment 070503
D'Arbonne Hills Lake, Segment 0801
Wham Brake, Segment 0809
Sibley Lake, Subsegment 101001
Tensas River, Subsegment 081201
Ouachita River, Subsegment 080101

Non-Toxics Related Concerns

Tangipahoa River, Subsegments 040701 and 040702


Chapter 1. Surface Water Monitoring Program

The DEQ, OWR's surface water monitoring program is designed to measure progress toward achieving water quality goals at the state and national levels, to gather baseline data used in establishing and reviewing the state water quality standards and to provide a data base for use in determining the assimilative capacity of the waters of the state. Information is also used to establish permit limits for wastewater discharges.

The surface water monitoring program consists of a fixed station long-term network, intensive surveys, special studies and wastewater discharge compliance sampling. Each of these components of the state monitoring program is addressed below.

Fixed Station Long-Term Surface Water Quality Network

OWR's fixed station long-term monitoring network provides data from 189 monitoring sites. The basic network includes 44 fixed benchmark water quality monitoring stations that have provided data over a 30-year period of record. The remaining 145 stations were established to address data needs in high priority areas, or were located in order to obtain baseline information on conditions not covered by the benchmark stations. If the data acquired with the program indicates something unusual or unique, then a more detailed study tailored specifically to the situation could be instituted. For 1996, 178 stations on 129 water body subsegments were used for monitored water quality assessments. A listing of the ambient water quality monitoring stations utilized in this assessment is provided in Appendix C (see also Figure 3.1.1).

Samples collected monthly, or bi-monthly, from the stations are analyzed in DEQ's laboratory using procedures detailed in the state and EPA approved Quality Assurance Plan (DEQ, 1994a). Parameters monitored in the field or analyzed in the laboratory are listed in Table 3.1.1.

Sampling station locations and frequencies may not be sufficient to positively define and delineate a particular problem area, which can be an inherent problem with the fixed station, fixed frequency type of monitoring program. However, these stations essentially act as an early warning system for changes in water quality, and the data gathered can be used as justification to conduct a more intensive survey.

Table 3.1.1

Parameters monitored under the monthly ambient surface water quality network for DEQ at 189 stations.

pH

temperature

dissolved oxygen

salinity

alkalinity

hardness

turbidity

conductivity

sulfates

true color

chlorides

total Kjeldahl nitrogen

total dissolved solids

total suspended solids

arsenic

cadmium

chromium

copper

mercury

lead

nickel

nitrate and nitrite nitrogen

total phosphorus

total organic carbon

coliform bacteria

 

Water Quality Data Storage

Following water quality sample collection and laboratory analysis, the resulting data is input by personnel in OWR's Planning and Assessment Section. Sample collection is done by personnel in the DEQ regional office Surveillance Section, while laboratory analysis is done by the DEQ Water Laboratory. Data is input using a menu-driven system based on a Digital Equipment Corporation VAX (DEC VAX) cluster. FOCUS and SAS computer software packages are used for data storage, retrieval and analysis. All data is checked and verified twice during entry to assure accuracy.

Figure 3.1.1 Louisiana Ambient Water Quality Monitoring Network Sites.

Stage/Flow and Hydrology

OWR obtains stage and flow data from USGS for 72 stations in the fixed station network. USGS provides this information to OWR through an interagency agreement. On a monthly basis the information is entered into EPA's STORET (Storage and Retrieval System). USGS also provides assistance in gathering flow/discharge data for additional stream surveys as needed.

Toxic Substances Monitoring Program

OWR activities include collection of environmental samples for analyses of toxic substances including pesticides and other anthropogenic organic compounds. Samples analyzed to date encompass various environmental matrices including ambient water, industrial and municipal effluents, fish, shellfish and sediments. Due to limited state funding, emphasis is placed on areas of known contamination, such as the Calcasieu River and Bayou d'Inde and the Mississippi River. Other areas with potential toxic substance concerns are also included as part of special studies. A few of these are listed below.

The Mississippi River Toxics Inventory Project (MRTIP) is a three year study of fish and shellfish tissues which was begun in 1990. It was designed to test for the presence of a variety of organic and inorganic contaminants in fish tissue. For more information on the MRTIP and the Mississippi River, refer to Part II, Chapter 4, Special State Concerns.

In addition to the MRTIP, DEQ maintains an ambient water monitoring network of 6 sites on the Mississippi River. This network tests samples of Mississippi River water for the presence of volatile organic compounds at all six sites on a monthly basis. In addition, a full priority pollutant scan is conducted each month for two of the six sites. These sites are St. Francisville and Pointe a la Hache.

A new study conducted in cooperation with USGS has been established to respond to the need for more information concerning mercury contamination of fish tissue in some Louisiana water bodies. This study was initiated after high levels of mercury were detected in fish, primarily largemouth bass, taken from the Ouachita River and Bayou D'Arbonne. The study will address the possible connection between water body pH and tissue mercury levels. It will also assess the potential need for additional fish consumption advisories related to mercury contamination. More information on this topic can be found in Part II, Chapter 4, Special State Concerns.

Fish Tissue Monitoring Activities

OWR does not maintain a regular fish tissue monitoring program. However, fish are frequently sampled in response to significant complaints, as a result of enforcement actions, or in response to other problems as they occur. For example, fish sampling and tissue analysis was done as part of the Mississippi River Toxics Inventory Project. Results of this study are presented in Part II, Chapter 4. Fish taken from Bayou d'Inde and the Calcasieu River near Lake Charles, and Sibley Lake near Natchitoches are being analyzed as a result of enforcement actions taken against companies discharging to these two water bodies. Results of these tissue analyses are forwarded to DEQ for statistical and risk assessment analysis. Summaries of activities on Bayou d'Inde, the Calcasieu River and Sibley Lake are provided in Part III, Chapter 7. Currently, fish are being collected from a number of streams and lakes in Louisiana so that they may be analyzed for mercury contamination. This is being undertaken in response to findings that fish from the Ouachita River were contaminated with levels of mercury above the FDA action level of 1.0 ppm (U.S. FDA, 1986). The status of this effort is described in detail in Part II, Chapter 4.

In addition to the sampling efforts described above, DEQ keeps abreast of fish contamination research done in Louisiana and other states. The current mercury study is a prime example of this. In this instance, research done in Wisconsin and Florida was used to assist in setting priorities for which water bodies are to be sampled and in what order. This will enable DEQ and USGS to target those water bodies which are both popular fishing areas and most at risk to contain mercury contaminated fish.

Engineering Section Water Quality Surveys

Engineering Section Water Quality Surveys (ESWQSs) provide physical, chemical and some biological data necessary to define water quality problems, calibrate and verify mathematical models, and develop total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) and wasteload allocations (WLAs). Data acquired through ESWQSs is also used to assess and revise water quality standards. These surveys provide a part of the basic water quality data required for the development and revision of the state water quality management plans. Wasteload allocations provide a source of water quality based effluent limitations for dischargers of wastewater to the state's waters. The state has set up a program of "reference stream" sampling to provide data to assist in the assessment and revision of water quality standards and to provide background data for TMDLs and WLAs on impacted streams. Louisiana conducted surveys during fiscal years 1994 and 1995 to determine effluent limitations and to provide data to assist in the revision of water quality standards. These surveys are listed in Tables 3.1.2 and 3.1.3.

Table 3.1.2

Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, Office of Water Resources, Engineering Section Water Quality Surveys for FY 1994.

Stream Name

Name of Discharger

Segment Number

Survey Type

Bayou Blanc

Rayne

050201

Survey for TMDL/WLA

Joseph Branch

Greensburg

040501

Survey for TMDL/WLA

Tete Bayou

Iberia Parish S.D. #1

060701

Survey for TMDL/WLA

Bayou Plaquemine Brule

Crowley

050201

Survey for TMDL/WLA

Bayou Mallet Tributary

Eunice

050103

Survey for TMDL/WLA

Redwine Creek

Grambling & Grambling State University

081401

Survey for TMDL/WLA

Chauvin Bayou

Community wastewater treatment systems

080102

Survey for TMDL/WLA

Patrick Bayou/Sawyer Ditch

Community wastewater treatment systems

080904

Survey for TMDL/WLA

Bayou Lafourche

 

020401

Survey for time of travel model

 

Table 3.1.3

Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, Office of Water Resources, Engineering Section Water Quality Surveys for FY 1995.

Stream Name

Name of Discharger

Segment Number

Survey Type

Chauvin Bayou

Community wastewater treatment systems

080102

Survey for TMDL/WLA

Patrick Bayou/Sawyer Ditch

Community wastewater treatment systems

080904

Survey for TMDL/WLA

W. Fork Thompson Creek

 

070502

Reaeration data

Mill Creek

Saline

100801

Survey for TMDL/WLA

Alexander Creek

 

070502

Reaeration data

Poly Creek

 

070502

Reaeration data

Williams Creek

 

070502

Time of travel

Pearl Creek

 

110202

Reference Stream

Calcasieu River

 

030103

Reference Stream

Kisatchie Bayou

 

101103

Reference Stream

Special Studies

OWR plans and/or conducts special studies in reported or known problem areas or concerning particular issues. Some of these studies have included nonpoint source pollution studies, a study of the closure of oyster harvesting areas, acid deposition, and studies of toxics-contaminated water bodies.

Use Attainability Studies

This is a structured scientific assessment of the factors (chemical, physical, biological, economic) affecting the attainment of a designated use, upon which recommendations for revision of the water quality standards may be based. The survey involves the collection of physical and chemical data peculiar to the system under consideration, as well as the collection of biological information (flora and fauna) and types of land use in the area. The data is evaluated to determine the ability of a water body to attain the designated uses (primary contact, secondary contact, or fish and wildlife propagation) and to develop appropriate water quality criteria to support those uses.

Biotoxicity Monitoring Summary

DEQ's Bioassay Laboratory analyzes on a monthly basis eight random water samples (one from each regional office) and two specific water samples (from the Mississippi River at St. Francisville and at Pointe a la Hache). The samples are collected from statewide ambient water quality monitoring sites. Generally, a chronic vertebrate test and a chronic invertebrate test are initiated on fresh water samples. A chronic vertebrate test and an acute vertebrate test are usually initiated on saline samples. The test species utilized and the methods used follow EPA protocols as closely as possible. In addition to the monthly testing, ambient water samples are collected as a result of fish kills, complaints, spills or special studies. Acute testing, utilizing both a vertebrate and an invertebrate species, are initiated on most fish kills, complaints and spills. Acute and chronic tests are initiated in special studies depending on the scope of the study. Acute tests can be either static renewal, in which the sample water is replaced daily; or static nonrenewal, in which the organisms are exposed to the same water for the entire testing period. Acute tests run for 24, 48 or 96 hours. Chronic tests are static renewal and run for approximately one week.

The criteria used to determine toxicity in water samples are based on parameters established by EPA. Data is analyzed using a statistical computer software package called Toxstat. A statistical method known as a t-test is utilized to determine if an endpoint or measured effect in the sample is significantly different from the control, and 95% confidence levels are used to determine significance. In acute testing, survival is the only measured effect. In chronic testing, survival and growth of larvae or reproduction of young are the measured effects.

Since the Bioassay Laboratory only analyzes eight random sites monthly, individual sites are not tested frequently. Therefore, caution should be exercised when interpreting bioassay data. If a test result is positive for toxicity it does not by itself indicate that a water body is toxic to aquatic organisms. Problems in some streams may be incidental in nature. Every effort should be made to retest sites where toxicity has been found. Also, field coordinators should be contacted, as they have the most knowledge about activities and problems in their regions. DEQ recognizes that a potential for false readings exists. On occasion, samples may be found to be toxic when in actuality outside factors caused the test to fail. Factors such as stress on the organisms, poor synthetic water quality conditions or environmental factors that act synergistically with certain elements can cause water quality degradation in the sample. This degradation may lead to false toxicity results. For example, the toxicity threshold of metals has a linear response in relation to the hardness of water. As the hardness is lowered the toxicity of many metals increases and can directly impact the organisms in the lab.

Based on the above discussion, it is important to note that biotoxicity monitoring cannot be utilized as the only determinant of the existence of pollution in a water body. Rather, biotoxicity monitoring must be considered along with other reliable data sources such as water quality monitoring, sources of pollution, and water sample test results for organic and inorganic contaminants. DEQ will continue to perform biotoxicity monitoring as an additional tool for the determination of water quality.

Biological Monitoring

Volunteer Monitoring

Volunteer monitoring is increasingly becoming a valuable tool in the assessment and management of water resources in numerous states. Programs range from beach sweeps to semi-intensive water quality monitoring. There are three general categories of volunteer monitoring: 1) visual observations; 2) chemical and physical measurements; and 3) biological assessments. DEQ is investigating a biological monitoring program for volunteers as an educational component of the state's Nonpoint Source Program. Biological monitoring provides a fairly simple, accurate and easy-to-understand method for determining if a stream has been impacted by pollution.

Biological monitoring in Louisiana waters can be an intense and tedious process, and it will be necessary to evaluate citizens' interest and willingness to collect quality biological data. Therefore, several pilot projects have been implemented in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the program as an educational tool and to allow DEQ to assess the quality of data collected. The first pilot project was initiated in the summer of 1993 and continues to be implemented in the Bogue Falaya River watershed (management subsegment 040804 of the Lake Pontchartrain basin). The second project was initiated in the spring of 1995 in the Tangipahoa River watershed (management subsegments 040701 and 040702 of the Lake Pontchartrain basin). Both areas have several active environmental groups, providing an opportune setting for implementation of volunteer monitoring programs.

The Bogue Falaya River project is being coordinated by the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation (LPBF). Funding for the project is administered through EPA Region 6 under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act (federal fiscal year 1990). The Tangipahoa River project is being coordinated by Citizens for a Clean Tangipahoa (CFACT). Funding for the Tangipahoa project is administered through EPA Region 6 under Section 104(b)(3) of the Clean Water Act (federal fiscal year 1992). Both projects are managed by DEQ's NPS Program.

The Bogue Falaya River encompasses approximately 192 square miles of total drainage area. The river stretches 29 miles in length from its headwaters to the confluence at the Tchefuncte River just south of the city of Covington in St. Tammany Parish. The Tangipahoa River stretches through Tangipahoa Parish approximately 79 miles from its headwaters until it opens up into a cypress/tupelo swamp and enters Lake Pontchartrain. Both rivers are designated as scenic under the Scenic Rivers Program of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

These watersheds have been targeted through DEQ's urban nonpoint source program for implementation of educational programs and BMPs. The area north of Lake Pontchartrain is one of the most rapidly developing areas in the state; according to the 1990 census, St. Tammany Parish experienced a 30 percent increase in population over the last decade. The watersheds only partially meet their designated uses. Because of high levels of fecal coliform bacteria, LDHH has posted swimming advisories on portions of both rivers. The exact causes of the high coliform counts are known with identified sources coming from septic systems, municipal wastewater, pasture lands and animal operations.

The primary goal for the DEQ sponsored volunteer monitoring program is to educate and involve the public in the protection and restoration of state water resources. It is believed that hands-on monitoring will activate residents to address water pollution concerns at the local level. The idea that everyone, individually and collectively, has an impact on water quality has been emphasized throughout program implementation. Another goal of the project is for DEQ to review the accuracy of the data collected and determine its usefulness as a water quality evaluative tool.

The pilot projects utilize sampling protocols adapted from DEQ's water quality standards biological monitoring program (ecoregion program). DEQ and Save Our Streams (SOS - Izaak Walton League of America) refined the ecoregion sampling protocols to be utilizable by volunteers. DEQ, SOS and LPBF stream-tested the protocols so that further refinements could be made to the protocol prior to citizen training. A quality assurance/quality control plan was developed for the program. The volunteers are trained through a half-day workshop including slide presentations, sampling demonstrations and macro invertebrate identification. The volunteers' sampling and identification skills are evaluated four months into the program; additional training and education is provided if necessary.

The sampling method calls for the use of a dip net to collect stream macro invertebrates which are then identified to the taxonomic levels of order or family. The macro invertebrates are collected from four different habitats found within Louisiana streams, including: steep banks/vegetated margins; sandy/ gravel/rock substrates; silty substrates with organic debris; and woody debris with leaf packs. The survey incorporates species diversity and pollution tolerance indices for organisms to determine stream quality.

In conjunction with biological monitoring, volunteers assess the habitat conditions of the river. Physical characteristics such as temperature, color, weather conditions, odor, flow rate and algal distribution are documented. Volunteers note the type of land uses occurring in the watershed. The types and abundances of riparian vegetation are recorded and substrate composition is estimated. The combined biological monitoring/habitat assessment technique provides for a comprehensive volunteer monitoring program and can be useful for identifying problems in streams impacted by nonpoint source pollution.

In Louisiana, a volunteer monitoring program has been working effectively, providing a tool to properly educate the public in the management and restoration of water resources. The public is learning that behavioral modifications are necessary to restore the quality of Louisiana waters and that individuals can make a difference. Interest is growing in this volunteer program with another pilot program planned in the Bayou Vermilion area. DEQ may be able to utilize the data collected from a quality controlled program as an evaluative tool to provide a foundation for more intensive studies. Louisiana, like most other states, is working with limited resources; the ability to monitor state water bodies adequately is also limited. A quality controlled volunteer monitoring program may help Louisiana better assess, restore and manage its water resources.

Ecoregion Sampling

Ecoregions are regions with similar ecological characteristics. Ecoregions are delineated based on characteristics such as climate, land surface form, soils, vegetation, land use and hydrographic modifications (levee systems) to form management units with similar biological, chemical and physical features (Omernik, 1987). All states bordering Louisiana are currently implementing an ecoregional framework under the guidance of the EPA Environmental Research Laboratory in Corvallis, Oregon (Gallant et al. 1989). Louisiana is implementing an ecoregion program to assess water quality and ecological conditions in representative least-disturbed streams. These least-disturbed streams will be used as reference streams to refine use designations and associated water quality criteria for similar water bodies within an ecoregion. Louisiana has adopted the ecoregion program as a tool for the management of state water resources. Instead of developing individual water quality standards for individual water bodies, standards may be developed on an ecoregion basis (DEQ, 1992b).

The delineation of ecoregions in Louisiana was based on an EPA delineation for Louisiana's ecoregions, through the use of maps, geographic information and related water quality data. Louisiana has tentatively delineated eight ecoregions with one divided into two subregions (Figure 3.1.2). As delineation work is still underway, the region's boundaries are considered draft at this time. The regions are as follows:

The South Central Plains ecoregion, located in northwestern Louisiana and bisected by DEQ-designated Red River Alluvial Plain ecoregion. It also overlaps eastern Texas and southwest Arkansas.

The Mississippi Alluvial Plain ecoregion where the eastern boundary of its upper component is formed by the Mississippi River levee system, the western boundary of the upper portion is formed at the interface between the Red River Alluvium and the Coastal Plain soil associations near the Ouachita River, and the southern extent of the upper portion terminates at the Red River. The lower section of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain is bisected by the Mississippi River.

The Red River Alluvial Plain ecoregion which bisects the South Central Plains ecoregion.

The Western Gulf Coastal Plain ecoregion, located in southwestern Louisiana (excluding the coastal area) and ranging westward along the eastern coast of Texas.

The coastal area of Louisiana is divided into two sub-regions, the Coastal Chenier Plain sub-ecoregion, located along the southwest coast of Louisiana, and the Coastal Deltaic Plain sub-ecoregion which is bounded on the west by the Vermillion Lock and extends east around the Mississippi River levee system, terminating at the Intracoastal Waterway east of the Mississippi River.

The Sabine River ecoregion, located on the western border of Louisiana, which includes Toledo Bend Reservoir and the Sabine River.

The Atchafalaya Basin ecoregion, situated between the Western Gulf Coastal Plain, the Red River Alluvial Plain and the lower Mississippi Alluvial Plain ecoregions.

The Mississippi River ecoregion which extends within the levee system for 569 miles from the Arkansas-Louisiana state line to the river's delta in southeast Louisiana.

The Terrace Uplands ecoregion which consists of the EPA's Mississippi Valley Loess Plains, Southern Coastal Plain and Southeastern Plains ecoregions (DEQ, 1992b).

DEQ has completed collecting data in two of Louisiana's twelve draft ecoregions - the Upper Mississippi Alluvial Plain and South Central Plains. In 1994, DEQ began sampling which will be used to characterize wadeable, reference streams in the Western Gulf Coastal Plain (WGCPE) and Terrace Uplands (TUE) ecoregions. Data collection in the WGCPE and TUE, including macro invertebrate and fish sampling, hydrology, physical habitat assessments and water chemistry, was continued in 1995 and will be completed in 1996. Sampling of additional ecoregions will begin at that time.

Early Warning Organic Compound Detection System

During the first half of 1995 the Early Warning Organic Compound Detection System (EWOCDS) continued to perform very well, analyzing over 6,500 Mississippi River water samples for presumptive volatile organic compounds (VOC) content. Of the 6,535 samples analyzed from January 1995 to June 1995, over 98% (6,417) were free of detectable amounts of contaminants. Of the 118 samples with detections, only 25, less than one half of one percent of all samples, exceeded DEQ drinking water supply criteria. This highlights the trend of increasingly Aclean@ river water samples that has been noted over the last several years. Besides the usual isolated detections of VOCs (detections not related in space or time to other detections) there were only two notable plumes of contamination of short duration. EWOCDS stations did monitor a small plume of tetrahydronapthalene, a compound not regularly tested for by the system. The tetrahydronapthalene was from a reported spill. There were several reported accidents and mishaps reported by barges and ships on the Mississippi River, however, none of these were of any significant consequence. Figure 3.1.3 shows the relationship between samples collected and the number of samples with detectable concentrations of VOCs.

Figure 3.1.2 Ecoregion delineation map for DEQ, Office of Water Resources, Ecoregions Program. 1995.

Key to EWOCDS Locations

Exxon Exxon Company USA St. James St. James Parish Utilities
  4045 Scenic Highway   La. Hwy. 18
  Baton Rouge, LA 70805   Vacherie, LA 70090
  River mile 232   River mile 152.2
       
Dow Dow Chemical USA Shell ShellChemical Company
  La. Highway 1   265 River Road
  Plaquemine, LA 70764   Norco, LA 70079
  River mile 209.6   River mile 126
       
Vulcan Vulcan Chemicals Monsanto Monsanto Agricultural Products
  Ashland Road   700 S. River Road
  Geismar, LA 70734   Luling, LA 70070
  River mile 183.8   River mile 120
       
PWSC The People's Water Service N.O. New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board
  303 Mississippi Street   8800 S. Claiborne Avenue
  Donaldsonville, LA 70346   New Orleans, LA 70118
  River mile 175.5 N. O.-CAR Carrolton: River mile 104.7
    N.O.-ALG Algiers: River mile 95

Figure 3.1.3 Louisiana Early Warning Organic Compound Detection System samples for January 1995-June 1995.


Chapter 2. Assessment Methodology and Summary Data

Assessment Methodology

In this Water Quality Inventory Report data and information on water bodies are assessed at two levels for the years 1994 and 1995. This two-tiered assessment is based on EPA guidance for preparation of 305(b) reports. Assessment involves the use of continuous ambient monitoring data (Monitored Assessments) and the use of less continuous information, such as fish tissue contaminants data, complaint investigations and spill reports (Evaluated Assessments). Both levels of assessment, where available, are used to determine water quality conditions and use support. All water bodies have evaluated assessments provided by regional field staff. In addition to use support determinations, field staff also provided suspected causes and sources of water body impairment. In some cases a particular water body may be both evaluated and monitored. Waters which are only evaluated are those for which the assessment is based on information other than continuous site-specific ambient monitoring data (when no ambient data is available), such as land use, location of point and nonpoint sources, citizen complaints, short-term fisheries surveys, intensive surveys and general observations of the water bodies. Monitored waters are those which can be assessed in part based on continuous site-specific ambient data. In summary, all water bodies have evaluated assessments while some water bodies have both evaluated and monitored assessments. For water bodies which are both evaluated and monitored, the worse of the two assessments, if there is a difference, is reported in Tables 3.2.1 through 3.2.4 and Appendix A. Appendix B contains results of the monitored assessments only. Evaluated assessments were not taken into account within Appendix B.

Evaluations of assessed water bodies were conducted through questionnaires distributed to the eight regional offices of the Water Quality Management Division. Regional coordinators were provided with questionnaires for water bodies within their regions that were completed for each assessed water body. Regional personnel were asked about use support, water quality conditions, suspected causes and possible sources of impairment. The information provided is based upon their general knowledge and observations of the water bodies gained through complaint and fish kill investigations, short-term intensive surveys and any special short-term monitoring or sample collection efforts. Conclusions regarding use support of unmonitored water bodies are based upon this information as well as land use adjacent to the water bodies and location of pollutant sources in the watershed. It is important to note that any single suspected cause and source of impairment cannot be considered the direct and only cause of use impairment. Rather, all cited causes and sources must be considered as a whole because in most cases they are interrelated.

Monitored water bodies were assessed through application of a computer-programmed use impairment assessment procedure. The degree of designated use support and the water quality parameters causing nonsupport were determined by this impairment assessment procedure. The procedure allowed for a comparison between monthly ambient monitoring data collected over a period of years and the water quality standards, in order to evaluate overall use impairment at a particular monitoring station. For the 1996 assessment, the use impairment procedure was run using five years (1991-95) of monthly water quality data. Results of this monitored assessment are presented in Appendix B. Metals, toxics and organic/inorganic compound data were not applied in the procedure. Similarly, numerical criteria for nutrients and turbidity (for many water bodies) have not been established and, therefore, with the exception of turbidity in certain instances, were not considered by the procedure. Use impairment determination was calculated based on the frequency of exceedance of water quality criteria for specified parameters. Details on the procedure can be found in Appendix B. The Louisiana Water Quality Standards define seven designated uses for surface waters: primary contact recreation (PCR), secondary contact recreation (SCR), fish and wildlife propagation (FWP), drinking water supply (DWS), shell fish propagation (SFP), agriculture (AGR) and outstanding natural resource (ONR) waters. Definitions of these uses can be found in the glossary. The use impairment procedure evaluated the following criteria with respect to the defined uses at each monitoring station: dissolved oxygen, temperature, high and low pH, turbidity, fecal coliform bacteria, chloride, sulfate and total dissolved solids. In general, the primary criteria considered in the determination of use attainment are listed below.

Primary Contact Recreation

Fecal Coliform Bacteria - 400/100 mL

Secondary Contact Recreation

Fecal Coliform Bacteria - 2,000/100 mL

Fish and Wildlife Propagation

Dissolved Oxygen - 5 mg/L (fresh water) & 4 mg/L (estuaries)

Public Water Supply

Total Coliform Bacteria - 10,000/100 mL

Fecal Coliform Bacteria - 2,000/100 mL

The dissolved oxygen criteria of 5 mg/L for fresh water and 4 mg/L for estuaries is a general case which was used in previous assessments. For the 1996 assessment, actual dissolved oxygen (DO) criteria established in the Louisiana Administrative Code have been used. In addition, DO criteria for some water bodies have been modified to more accurately reflect seasonal variations. This establishes different DO criteria for different times of the year. Seasonal DO criteria were utilized for monitored assessments where necessary.

Water Quality Summary

The degree of use support is reported herein in terms of size by water body type (river, lake, estuary and wetland), as required by EPA Guidelines for Preparation of the 1996 State Water Quality Assessment (U.S. EPA, 1995). Some terminology used in this report, especially in the following tables, originated with EPA Guidelines. The glossary at the end of this report provides definitions of key terms used. The summary degree of use support in assessed rivers, which includes bayous, creeks, canals and rivers, is reported in miles in Table 3.2.1. River miles were computed by hand with a planimeter from U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) topographic maps (7.5' and 15' maps) and, in some cases, extracted from EPA River Reach Files. Part III, Chapter 3 provides more information on water quality of Louisiana rivers and streams. Summary use support for lakes is reported in acres in Table 3.2.2, with more detailed information on lakes provided in Part III, Chapter 4. Estuary use support is reported in square miles in Table 3.2.3, with additional details in Part III, Chapter 5 and wetland use support, also in square miles, is found in Table 3.2.4 and Part III, Chapter 6.

Table 3.2.1

Designated use support of selected rivers and streams in Louisiana. 1996 305(b) assessments. (Reported in miles)

Degree of Use Support

Assessment Basis

Evaluated

Monitored

Size fully supporting

11,123

1,460

Size partially supporting

3,104

2,369

Size not supporting

1,396

1,152

TOTAL

15,623

4,981

Table 3.2.2

Designated use support of selected lakes in Louisiana. 1996 305(b) assessments. (Reported in acres)

Degree of Use Support

Assessment Basis

Evaluated

Monitored

Size fully supporting

463,920

154,438

Size partially supporting

187,776

184,704

Size not supporting

9,332

9,248

TOTAL

661,028

348,390

Table 3.2.3

Designated use support of selected estuaries in Louisiana. 1996 305(b) assessments. (Reported in square miles)

Degree of Use Support

Assessment Basis

Evaluated

Monitored

Size fully supporting

3,810

233

Size partially supporting

1,134

650

Size not supporting

---

---

TOTAL

4,944

883

Table 3.2.4

Designated use support of selected wetlands in Louisiana. 1996 305(b) assessments. (Reported in square miles)

Degree of Use Support

Assessment Basis

Evaluated

Monitored

Size fully supporting

1,479

---

Size partially supporting

135

---

Size not supporting

---

---

TOTAL

1,614

---

Section 303(d) Water Bodies

Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act requires the identification, ranking and development of total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) for waters that do not meet applicable water quality standards after implementation of technology-based controls. The 303(d) listing was prepared using all existing and readily available water quality related data and information in order to comply with rules and regulations under Section 303(d) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (Clean Water Act) (33 U.S.C. section 1313 and 40 CFR Ch. 1 section 130.7). All water bodies evaluated as partially or not supporting overall designated uses were included in the 1996 Section 303(d) list. In addition, water bodies for which fishing or swimming advisories exist were included on the list. Appendix E lists these water bodies in priority order for development of TMDLs.

Water bodies which were determined to be on the Section 303(d) list were ranked by their designated use support classification, survey/TMDL history, new permit requirements, designation as an outstanding natural resource (ONR), and fish consumption or swimming advisories . Ranking was based initially on the water body's use support designation. Water bodies classified as not supporting their overall designated uses, and having supporting water quality network monitoring data, were given a higher priority (priorities 1-3) than those partially supporting uses (priorities 4-6). Water bodies were then further ranked, first by their survey history, and second by the status of TMDL development. Waters currently under study by DEQ, OWR ranked above those with no surveys initiated (priorities 1-2 and 4-5), while water bodies with TMDL work initiated (priorities 1 and 4) were given highest priority within their larger ranking (not or partial support). This was done to assure that work on these waters will continue until TMDLs are completed. Priority 3 and 6 waters have no survey or TMDL work initiated. The next ranking, within the initial overall not supporting (priority 1-3) or partially supporting (priority 4-6) ranking, was based on the need for TMDLs due to permit requirements. Those waters where more facility permits are expiring in 1996-1998 were ranked higher than those with fewer expiring permits. Classification as an ONR represented the next ranking priority. Streams considered an ONR were ranked above other streams. A similar prioritization was then used for water bodies partially supporting their overall designated uses and having water quality network monitoring data. Water bodies for which TMDLs have been approved for one or more suspected pollutants but which have other suspected causes of impairment were retained on the 303(d) list but reduced in priority (priority 7). All water bodies which currently have fishing or swimming advisories in effect were placed on the list if they were not already present due to other concerns. Water bodies added to the 303(d) list due primarily to fishing or swimming advisories were placed in eighth priority because these problems are being addressed by a number of activities (priority 8). Water bodies not or partially supporting overall uses (priorities 9 and 10, respectively), but lacking confirming water quality network monitoring data, were placed next on the list. DEQ, OWR intends to develop additional water quality network monitoring sites in the future in order to more accurately assess these waters. Next, four fully supported coastal water body subsegments located near the hypoxic zone of the Gulf of Mexico were added due to their proximity to the zone (priority 11). However, DEQ recognizes that hypoxic zone problems cannot be corrected solely by actions within Louisiana. This is due to the fact that the hypoxic zone is caused by the discharge of Mississippi River nutrients which derive largely from sources in the Midwest. Louisiana has very few tributaries to the Mississippi River, and none of these are major sources of nutrients. In addition, the vast majority of the hypoxic zone lies outside Louisiana State waters. Finally, water bodies fully supporting overall uses but with one or more individual uses partially or not supported were added last (priority 12). Water bodies present on the 1994 303(d) list but attaining overall full support for the 1996 305(b) assessment were removed from the 303(d) list.

For 1996, targeting was based on expected completion of TMDLs for those water bodies where work is in progress. In 1994 six water bodies, the Mermentau, Tangipahoa and Dugdemona Rivers, Bayous Plaquemine Brule and Grand Caillou, and Bogue Lusa Creek were targeted for TMDL work because survey work was underway. Each of these water bodies remained on the 303(d) list for 1996. Bogue Lusa Creek was reduced in priority because it had an approved TMDL for organic enrichment/low DO and ammonia. However, it remained on the 303(d) list because of pathogen indicator problems.

The Dugdemona River attained full support of designated uses; however, primary contact recreation is not supported, also due to pathogen indicators. The Mermentau River has a TMDL completed but not yet approved by EPA. Bayou Plaquemine Brule and Bayou Grand Caillou currently have TMDL work in progress or in review. The Tangipahoa River dropped to a lower priority because there is no TMDL survey work in progress on the river, and no expiring or pending permits are expected. However, there is much work in progress to address the nonpoint source contributions of fecal coliform to the Tangipahoa River. No-discharge lagoons are being installed at dairy farms in the Tangipahoa River watershed and educational workshops and meetings are being conducted regarding proper treatment of home sewage and maintenance of individual waste treatment systems. More information about the ongoing activities in the Tangipahoa River watershed can be found in Part III, Chapter 7.

The lower Calcasieu River Basin, including Bayou d'Inde, has an approved TMDL for organic enrichment/low DO, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, phosphorus, chlorophyll and salinity and has a TMDL for priority organics in progress. Bayou Petite Caillou and Bayou Chauvin were part of an extensive TMDL for the Terrebonne Basin near Houma and are included in an approved TMDL for organic enrichment/low DO and ammonia. The Vermilion River has an approved TMDL for organic enrichment/low DO, suspended solids and ammonia. Bayou Teche has an approved TMDL for organic enrichment/low DO, suspended solids and TKN. Bayou Segnette was part of an extensive model of the Westwego receiving stream system and has an approved TMDL for organic enrichment/low DO and ammonia.


Chapter 3. River and Stream Water Quality Assessment

Summary of River and Stream Water Quality Assessments

The figures reported in Table 3.3.1 "Individual Use Support Summary" are based upon the level of use support for fish and wildlife propagation (fishable), primary contact recreation (swimmable) and secondary contact recreation (boating) determined through both the evaluative and monitored assessments. The miles of impaired water bodies identified as being affected by various suspected causes through the evaluative assessment are shown in Table 3.3.2. The miles affected by various suspected sources are shown in Table 3.3.3. These last two tables referenced suspected causes and sources for those water bodies which were assessed as either partially or not supporting designated uses. The tables are not ranked by order of impact.

Table 3.3.1

Individual use support summary for Louisiana rivers and streams, 1996 305(b) assessment. (Reported in miles)

Use

Supporting

Partially Supporting

Not Supporting

Unknown

Fish and wildlife propagation

11,067

1,999

2,558

---

Primary contact recreation

9,869

2,045

3,682

28

Secondary contact recreation

12,277

1,985

1,362

---

Suspected Causes of Non-Support of Designated Uses

Table 3.3.2

Total sizes of Louisiana rivers and streams not fully supporting designated uses due to various suspected causes, 1996 305(b) assessment. (Reported in miles)

Suspected Cause Categories

Major Impact

Moderate/Minor Impact

Ammonia

 

60.1

Chlorine

 

6.1

Exotic species

54.0

 

Flow alteration

251.5

416.9

Habitat alterations

228.5

573.5

Metals

26.0

210.1

Nonpriority organics

4.0

109.1

Noxious aquatic plants

97.6

216.5

Nutrients

820.6

1,630.9

Oil and grease

26.0

1,382.5

Organic enrichment/low dissolved oxygen

1,505.1

1,490.5

Other inorganics

4.0

277.0

Pathogen indicators

1,448.1

2,511.9

Pesticides

14.0

1,741.0

pH

 

127.0

Priority organics

16.1

709.1

Radiation

 

49.0

Salinity/TDS/chlorides

56.0

927.1

Siltation

104.0

870.0

Suspended solids

1,319.9

970.5

Taste and odor

 

131.0

Thermal modifications

 

20.0

Total toxics

 

12.0

Turbidity

1,375.9

974.1

Unknown

 

10.0

Unknown toxicity

 

7.0

Suspected Sources of Non-Support of Designated Uses

Table 3.3.3

Total sizes of Louisiana rivers and streams not fully supporting designated uses due to various suspected sources, 1996 305(b) assessment. (Reported in miles)

Suspected Source Categories

Major Impact

Moderate/Minor Impact

Industrial point sources

38.0

284.0

Major industrial point sources

104.1

492.5

Minor industrial point sources

43.1

2,393.4

Municipal point sources

8.0

418.0

Major municipal point sources

26.0

840.5

Minor municipal point sources

31.0

2,269.5

Package plants (small flows)

230.6

1,617.4

Sewer/stormwater overflow

 

496.5

Inflow and infiltration

131.0

1,012.5

Domestic wastewater lagoon

 

298.6

Agriculture

120.0

69.0

Nonirrigated crop production

435.0

1,311.6

Irrigated crop production

966.0

371.4

Specialty crop production

 

133.0

Pastureland

32.0

1,317.6

Rangeland

 

406.6

Feedlots (confined animal feeding)

10.0

146.6

Aquaculture

 

128.0

Animal holding/management areas

10.0

93.0

Manure lagoons

10.0

122.0

Silviculture

 

588.0

Harvesting/restoration/residue mgmt.

 

391.0

Forest management

 

289.0

Logging road construction/maintenance

 

60.0

Construction

   

Highway/road/bridge construction

54.0

159.4

Land development

66.0

892.9

Bridge construction

 

166.5

Urban runoff/storm sewers

185.0

1,577.1

Nonindustrial permitted

54.0

143.0

Industrial permitted

 

75.0

Other urban runoff

26.0

193.6

Resource extraction

   

Surface mining

30.0

180.0

Petroleum activities

137.0

1,906.4

Mine tailings

30.0

40.0

Dredge mining

 

85.0

Land Disposal

   

Wastewater

 

606.5

Landfills

 

415.0

Industrial land treatment

 

57.1

Septic tanks

208.0

1,775.0

Hazardous waste

 

84.7

Septage disposal

10.0

107.0

Sludge

 

14.1

Hydromodification/habitat modification

 

100.0

Channelization

291.5

506.1

Dredging

116.5

350.0

Dam construction

37.0

22.0

Flow regulations/modifications

138.0

555.0

Bridge construction

 

166.5

Removal of riparian vegetation

91.0

482.5

Streambank modification/destabilization

11.0

272.9

Drainage/filling of wetlands

 

51.0

Marinas

 

48.0

Other

   

Waste storage/storage tank leaks

 

355.7

Highway maintenance and runoff

54.0

367.0

Spills

36.0

875.0

Contaminated sediments

6.0

90.6

Natural sources

15.0

339.0

Recreational activities

 

274.0

Upstream impoundment

17.0

110.0

Groundwater loadings

 

48.1

Upstream sources

22.0

788.4

Unknown Source

 

89.0


Chapter 4. Lake Water Quality Assessment

Summary of Lake Water Quality Assessments

The figures reported in Table 3.4.1 "Individual Use Support Summary" are based upon the level of use support for fish and wildlife propagation (fishable), primary contact recreation (swimmable) and secondary contact recreation (boating) determined through both the evaluative and monitored assessments. The acres of lakes identified as affected by various suspected causes through the evaluative assessment are shown in Table 3.4.2. The acres affected by various suspected sources are shown in Table 3.4.3. These last two tables referenced reported causes and sources for those lakes which were assessed as either partially or not supporting designated uses. The tables are not ranked by order of impact.

Table 3.4.1

Individual use support summary for Louisiana lakes, 1996 305(b) assessment. (Reported in acres)

Use

Supporting

Partially Supporting

Not Supporting

Fish and wildlife propagation

177,186

265,888

217,953

Primary contact recreation

457,712

193,024

10,292

Secondary contact recreation

463,690

188,006

9,332

Suspected Causes of Non-Support of Designated Uses

Table 3.4.2

Total sizes of Louisiana lakes not fully supporting designated uses due to various suspected causes, 1996 305(b) assessment. (Reported in acres)

Suspected Cause Categories

Major Impact

Moderate/Minor Impact

Flow alteration

2,112.0

84.0

Habitat alterations

 

84.0

Metals

60.0

181,760.0

Nonpriority organics

60.0

24.0

Noxious aquatic plants

12,192.0

181,760.0

Nutrients

11,360.0

84.0

Oil and grease

60.0

24.0

Organic enrichment/low dissolved oxygen

14,304.0

84.0

Other inorganics

 

60.0

Pathogen indicators

9,248.0

184,832.0

Pesticides

 

84.0

Priority organics

84.0

 

Siltation

11,360.0

960.0

Suspended solids

3,072.0

 

Taste and odor

60.0

 

Total toxics

2,112.0  

Turbidity

960.0

 

Suspected Sources of Non-support of Designated Uses

Table 3.4.3

Total sizes of Louisiana lakes not fully supporting designated uses due to various suspected sources, 1996 305(b) assessment. (Reported in acres)

Suspected Source Categories

Major Impact

Moderate/Minor Impact

Industrial point sources

60.0

 

Major industrial point sources

24.0

9,248.0

Minor industrial point sources

 

9,248.0

Municipal point sources

   

Major municipal point sources

 

2,944.0

Minor municipal point sources

  181,784.0

Package plants (small flows)

9,248.0

185,664.0

Sewer/stormwater overflow

 

84.0

Inflow and infiltration

9,248.0

181,760.0

Domestic wastewater lagoon

 

181,760.0

Agriculture

   

Nonirrigated crop production

 

960.0

Silviculture

 

184,704.0

Harvesting/restoration/residue mgmt.

 

2,944.0

Logging road const./maintenance

 

2,944.0

Construction

 

24.0

Land development

9,308.0

24.0

Urban runoff/storm sewers

9,308.0

24.0

Resource extraction

   

Petroleum activities

 

3,904.0

Acid mine drainage

 

960.0

Land Disposal

   

Wastewater

 

24.0

Landfills

 

24.0

Septic tanks

 

191,968.0

Hazardous waste

84.0

 

Hydromodification/habitat modification

   

Channelization

11,360.0

 

Dredging

 

24.0

Flow regulations/modifications

60.0

 

Removal of riparian vegetation

9,248.0

 

Other

   

Waste storage/storage tank leaks

60.0

 

Highway maintenance and runoff

 

60.0

Spills

60.0

 

Contaminated sediments

84.0

 

Upstream sources

2,112.0

9,248.0

Unknown source

  181,760.0

Issues Concerning Lake Water Quality

For the purpose of this lake quality assessment, all fresh water lakes greater than or equal to one square mile in surface area are considered significant publicly owned lakes. Refer to Part II Background Information for the number and acreage of publicly owned lakes. Louisiana's lakes are categorized in this report into two groups: inland fresh water lakes and coastal fresh water lakes. All of the lakes greater than or equal to one square mile in surface area are listed in Tables 3.4.4 and 3.4.5. Map numbers in these tables refer to Figure 3.4.1.

Table 3.4.4

Listing of major inland freshwater lakes in Louisiana.

Segment

Name

Latitude

Longitude

Map

No.

Surface Area

(acres)

1101

Toledo Bend Reservoir

31E 10' 32"

93E 34' 04"

1

81,760

0105

Grand Lake

29E 50' 30"

91E 24' 00"

2

40,960

1003

Caddo Lake

32E 42' 15"

93E 55' 10"

3

32,640

0816

Catahoula Lake

31E 34' 30"

92E 03' 38"

4

26,880

1005

Lake Bistineau

32E 19' 20"

93E 25' 02"

5

17,216

0806

Bayou D'Arbonne Lake

32E 42' 44"

92E 20' 26"

6

15,251

1007

Black Lake

31E 50' 52"

92E 57' 30"

7

12,909

1006

Wallace Lake

32E 19' 07"

93E 40' 13"

8

9,248

1008

Saline Lake

31E 51' 02"

92E 56' 47"

9

8,960

1003

Cross Lake

32E 30' 30"

93E 50' 00"

10

8,838

1013

Iatt Lake

31E 33' 05"

92E 39' 25"

11

7,104

1006

Lake Claiborne

32E 44' 20"

92E 54' 18"

12

6,400

0601

Cocodrie Lake

31E 00' 00"

92E 22' 46"

13

6,099

0103

Opelousas Bay

30E 20' 00"

91E 45' 30"

14

4,352

0701

Eagle Lake

32E 30' 00"

91E 00' 00"

15

4,275

1105

Lake Vernon

31E 10' 38"

93E 21' 28"

16

4,224

0702

Raccourci Old River

30E 50' 00"

91E 34' 00"

17

4,160

1003

Black Bayou Reservoir

32E 52' 57"

93E 53' 40"

18

3,968

1002

Lac aux Siene

31E 07' 00"

92E 00' 00"

19

3,347

0809

Turkey Creek Lake

31E 54' 15"

91E 45' 53"

20

3,098

0503

Millers Lake

30E 45' 00"

92E 21' 30"

21

3,002

1006

Smithport Lake

32E 06' 59"

93E 33' 50"

22

2,944

1201

False River

30E 39' 00"

91E 29' 00"

23

2,912

0816

Honey Brake Lake

31E 24' 00"

91E 54' 30"

24

2,842

1105

Anacoco Lake

31E 05' 39"

93E 23' 20"

25

2,598

0808

Cheniere Brake

32E 27' 10"

92E 11' 30"

26

2,598

0812

Bruin Lake

31E 57' 00"

91E 12' 30"

27

2,342

0602

Indian Creek Reservoir

31E 06' 00"

92E 25' 30"

28

2,250

1015

Larto Lake

31E 20' 00"

91E 56' 10"

29

2,176

1010

Sibley Lake

31E 45' 01"

93E 06' 38"

30

2,176

1002

Bayou de la Bay

31E 07' 00"

91E 57' 30"

31

2,150

1016

Lake St. John

31E 43' 00"

91E 27' 00"

32

2,118

1203

Lake Fields

29E 38' 30"

90E 34' 30"

33

2,112

0701

Yucatan Lake

32E 02' 30"

91E 07' 30"

34

1,997

1015

Saline Lake

31E 19' 45"

92E 00' 54"

35

1,971

1007

Kepler Lake

32E 18' 56"

93E 09' 10"

36

1,926

0806

Corney Lake

32E 54' 23"

92E 43' 55"

37

1,920

1012

Cotile Reservoir

31E 19' 30"

92E 44' 00"

38

1,792

0305

Bundicks Lake

30E 43' 36"

93E 05' 40"

39

1,747

0807

Black Bayou Lake

32E 35' 15"

92E 03' 45"

40

1,645

0602

Lake Chicot

30E 49' 00"

92E 16' 00"

41

1,626

201

Lake Boeuf

29E 47' 30"

90E 38' 00"

42

1,600

1009

Nantaches Lake

31E 37' 00"

92E 47' 00"

43

1,581

1002

Bayou du Lac

31E 04' 30"

91E 58' 00"

44

1,472

1011

Cane River Lake

31E 34' 02"

92E 58' 21"

45

1,350

0811

Lake Providence

32E 48' 44"

91E 11' 31"

46

1,229

0809

Boeuf River Reservoir

32E 10' 20"

91E 56' 58"

47

1,216

0609

Spanish Lake

30E 03' 30"

91E 51' 30"

48

1,210

0812

Lake St. Joseph

32E 03' 17"

91E 13' 33"

49

1,197

0701

Marengo Bend

31E 35' 10"

91E 24' 47"

50

1,158

1016

Black River Lake

31E 28' 00"

91E 44' 30"

51

1,139

0807

Bayou de Siard

32E 34' 15"

92E 07' 06"

52

1,101

1015

Shad Lake

31E 22' 30"

91E 57' 00"

53

1,069

1016

Lake Concordia

31E 37' 00"

91E 31' 00"

54

1,050

1016

Cocodrie Lake

31E 30' 07"

91E 42' 10"

55

986

1203

Long Lake

29E 35' 00"

90E 33' 30"

56

832

0701

Gassoway Lake

32E 57' 52"

91E 13' 00"

57

800

0105

Lake Chicot

30E 06' 00"

91E 28' 30"

58

768

0701

Albemarle Crevasse

32E 35' 44"

91E 01' 06"

59

749

0701

Rodney Lake

31E 49' 00"

91E 17' 00"

60

666

0507

White Lake

29E 45' 00"

92E 30' 00"

61

51,840

0203

Lake Salvador

29E 41' 20"

90E 12' 13"

62

44,800

0507

Grand Lake

29E 55' 00"

92E 45' 00"

63

32,000

0105

Six Mile Lake

29E 45' 00"

91E 20' 00"

64

19,200

0607

Lake Fausse Pointe

29E 56' 02"

91E 33' 07"

65

15,360

0202

Lac Des Allemands

29E 53' 31"

90E 32' 25"

66

14,720

1202

Lake Verret

29E 49' 24"

91E 06' 31"

67

14,080

1202

Lake Palourde

29E 41' 48"

91E 05' 46"

68

11,520

0203

Lake Cataouatche

29E 50' 30"

90E 14' 00"

69

9,280

0504

Lake Arthur

30E 03' 00"

92E 42' 30"

70

3,840

0105

Flat Lake

29E 45' 00"

91E 12' 00"

71

3,328

0108

Sweetbay Lake

29E 35' 00"

91E 14' 00"

72

2,688

0108

Wax Lake

29E 36' 30"

91E 24' 30"

73

2,496

0507

Collicon Lake

29E 49' 30"

92E 39' 30"

74

2,432

0506

Lake Misere

29E 55' 10"

92E 52' 02"

75

2,432

Table 3.4.5

Listing of major coastal freshwater lakes in Louisiana.

Segment

Name

Latitude

Longitude

Map

No.

Surface Area

(acres)

0203

Petit Lac Des Allemands

20E 46' 54"

90E 26' 10"

76

2,304

0607

Dauterive Lake

30E 05' 00"

91E 38' 30"

77

1,472

1204

Lake Theriot

29E 28' 00"

90E 50' 00"

78

1,408

1202

Grassy Lake

29E 45' 42"

91E 06' 43"

79

1,024

0609

Lake Peigneur

29E 58' 08"

91E 59' 11"

80

960

0507

Catfish Lake

29E 51' 00"

92E 50' 00"

81

870

1204

Lake Penchant

29E 26' 30"

90E 55' 00"

82

832

0105

Duck Lake

29E 48' 00"

91E 18' 00"

83

640

0503

Moss Lake

30E 07' 00"

93E 20' 00"

84

640

0506

Little Lake Misere

29E 55' 00"

92E 56' 30"

85

621

0507

Latania Lake

29E 55' 00"

92E 50' 00"

86

435

0507

Alligator Lake

29E 48' 30"

92E 38' 00"

87

403

0507

Turtle Lake

29E 47' 00"

92E 37' 30"

88

371

0507

Blackfish Lake

29E 51' 00"

92E 37' 30"

89

320

0507

Mud Lake

29E 48' 00"

93E 27' 30"

90

320

0507

Lake Benoit

29E 49' 30"

92E 44' 30"

91

237

0507

Round Lake

29E 51' 30"

92E 39' 00"

92

224

0507

Lake LeBleu

29E 49' 00"

92E 36' 30"

93

218

0507

Snake Lake

29E 53' 00"

92E 39' 30"

94

192

1204

Lake Hatch

29E 31' 00"

90E 48' 00"

95

186

0507

Long Lake

29E 49' 00"

92E 43' 00"

96

160

0507

Grand Lac L'Huit

29E 47' 00"

92E 38' 30"

97

160

0507

Grande Volle Lake

N/A

     

0507

Bear Lake

N/A

     

311

Boudreaux Lake

N/A

     

1204

Plumb Lake

N/A

     

Most of the inland fresh water lakes are either reservoirs or oxbow lakes. Some of the reservoirs are used primarily for flood control and may only exist asa lake during periods of abundant rainfall and flooding. The coastal fresh water lakes are natural wetland lakes or, in some cases, widenings of rivers. These lakes exhibit fresh water characteristics in water quality and in vegetation. However, they do receive tidal influx and migratory marine species do invade them. Most of the coastal fresh water lakes named herein lie within Louisiana's Coastal Management Zone. Louisiana has many more coastal water bodies which are called lakes but are actually estuaries and are, therefore, not included in Table 3.4.5.

Presently, DEQ collects ambient water quality data from fourteen lakes as part of its ambient monitoring program. Without water quality data from more of the state's lakes, a more accurate determination of use support or impairment and lake water quality trends cannot be made. The monitored data is augmented by an evaluation based upon land use adjacent to the lakes, potential point and nonpoint sources which could affect lake water quality, pollution complaints, spills, fisheries surveys and/or fishing success stories and general observations made by field staff. This evaluation indicates that seven of the lakes assessed are partially supporting designated uses and three lakes are not supporting designated uses. The most commonly cited sources believed to be affecting those lakes considered as partially supporting uses are nonpoint sources such as sewage from unsewered areas, agricultural runoff, urban runoff and natural swamp drainage. One of the three lakes not supporting uses is Capitol Lake in Baton Rouge, which is closed to fishing due to toxic organic compound (PCB) contamination of the lake sediment. Lake Providence was also severely impacted by toxic organic compounds (pesticides) in the past. Capitol Lake is discussed in detail in Part III, Chapter 7.

In general, all Louisiana lakes are considered eutrophic due to their shallow depths and high nutrient levels. In many of our lakes the shallow depths are a result of the geologic and hydrologic processes which formed and maintain them. Due to the mild climate and lengthy growing season, Louisiana lakes have a high level of primary productivity. Most conventional trophic indices also classify our lakes as eutrophic for the same reasons. However, these lakes support diverse, productive fisheries and provide tremendous recreational opportunities for the residents and visitors of the state. In order to address this apparent disparity between the negative connotation associated with eutrophic conditions and the positive recreational aspects, DEQ sponsored a study to develop a classification system specifically designed to represent the water quality conditions of Louisiana's fresh water lakes and reservoirs. Since DEQ's ambient monitoring network does not include many lake stations, this effort also provided an opportunity to collect water quality data in additional selected lakes. Results of this study can be found in both the 1992 and 1994 Louisiana Water Quality Inventory reports (DEQ, 1992a; DEQ, 1994b).

Control Methods

Refer to Part II, Chapter 2 for a description of DEQ's methods to control point and nonpoint source pollution to lakes and other water bodies.

Restoration Efforts

Restoration efforts have been initiated on D'Arbonne Hills Lake and completed on Sibley Lake. An extensive summary on each lake, including pollution sources and causes, and the restoration efforts underway or completed is in Part III, Chapter 7 on Public Health/Aquatic Life Concerns.

Impaired and Threatened Lakes

Refer to Appendix A for lakes that are partially or not meeting their designated uses, as determined by analysis of conventional water quality parameters and field staff evaluation. Until the state obtains the additional resources for monitoring lake water quality, more in-depth assessment of lake water quality and trophic status will not be possible.

Toxic Effects on Lakes

Water bodies affected by toxics and sediment contamination are addressed in Table 3.7.1 of Part III, Chapter 7 Public Health/Aquatic Life.

Figure 3.4.1 Map of Louisiana inland and coastal fresh water lakes. Numbers are referenced in Tables 3.4.4 and 3.4.5.


Chapter 5. Estuary and Coastal Water Quality Assessment

Summary of Estuary and Coastal Water Quality Assessments

The figures reported in Table 3.5.1 "Individual Use Support Summary" are based upon the level of use support for fish and wildlife propagation (fishable), primary contact recreation (swimmable) and secondary contact recreation (boating) determined through both the evaluative and monitored assessments. The square miles of estuaries identified as affected by various suspected causes through the evaluative assessment are shown in Table 3.5.2. The square miles affected by various identifiable suspected sources are shown in Table 3.5.3. These last two tables referenced reported causes and sources for those estuaries which were assessed as either partially or not supporting designated uses. The tables are not ranked by order of impact.

Table 3.5.1

Individual use support summary for Louisiana estuaries, 1996 305(b) assessment. (Reported in square miles)

Use

Supporting

Partially Supporting

Not Supporting

Fish and wildlife propagation

3,488

1,365

91

Primary contact recreation

3,785

1,160

---

Secondary contact recreation

4,073

871

---

 

Suspected Causes of Non-Support of Designated Uses

Table 3.5.2

Total sizes of Louisiana estuaries not fully supporting designated uses due to various suspected causes, 1996 305(b) assessment. (Reported in square miles)

Suspected Cause Categories

Major Impact

Moderate/Minor Impact

Flow alteration

20.0

92.9

Habitat alterations

 

449.9

Metals

 

400.9

Noxious aquatic plants

 

91.0

Nutrients

150.0

932.4

Oil and grease

32.0

1,010.0

Organic enrichment/low dissolved oxygen

 

715.4

Pathogen indicators

 

1079.0

Priority organics

 

272.4

Radiation

 

400.9

Salinity/TDS/chlorides

 

859.9

Siltation

 

151.9

Suspended solids

 

1.9

Total toxics

 

20.0

Suspected Sources of Non-support of Designated Uses

Table 3.5.3

Total sizes of Louisiana estuaries not fully supporting designated uses due to various suspected sources, 1996 305(b) assessment. (Reported in square miles)

Suspected Source Categories

Major Impact

Moderate/Minor Impact

Industrial point sources

 

92.5

Major industrial point sources

 

1.5

Minor industrial point sources

249.0

732.4

Municipal point sources

559.0

91.0

Major municipal point sources

 

150.0

Minor municipal point sources

 

155.0

Package plants (small flows)

30.0

188.5

Sewer/stormwater overflow

 

91.0

Inflow and infiltration

559.0

63.5

Agriculture

 

91.0

Nonirrigated crop production

 

335.0

Specialty crop production

 

91.0

Pastureland

 

276.0

Aquaculture

 

1.9

Construction

   

Land development

 

91.0

Urban runoff/storm sewers

559.0

153.0

Industrial permitted

 

155.0

Other urban runoff

 

62.0

Resource extraction

   

Petroleum activities

115.9

864.0

Land disposal

   

Septic tanks

30.0

808.0

Hydromodification/habitat modification

 

91.0

Channelization

21.9

 

Dredging

1.9

187.0

Other

   

Waste storage/storage tank leaks

 

338.9

Spills

270.9

709.0

Contaminated sediments

 

358.9

Natural sources

1.9

62.0

Recreational activities

 

121.0

Upstream sources

 

772.9

Coastal Zone Statistics

Louisiana's coastal zone encompasses approximately 2,550,821 acres of tidal wetland habitat distributed across nine coastal basins. This includes the following major habitat types (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1992).

swamp 392,109 acres
fresh marsh 533,577 acres
intermediate marsh 441,046 acres
brackish marsh 820,378 acres
saline marsh 363,711 acres

Within coastal zone basins, the largest amount of swamp acreage occurs in the Pontchartrain, Barataria and Atchafalaya basins while the greater acreage of fresh marsh occurs in the Mermentau and Barataria basins. The largest amount of intermediate marsh occurs in the Mermentau and Calcasieu/Sabine basins while the largest acreage of brackish marsh occurs in the Calcasieu/Sabine, Teche/Vermilion, Pontchartrain and Barataria basins. The largest acreage of saline marsh is found in the Barataria, Breton Sound and Pontchartrain basins. Among all coastal basins, the Mississippi River and Atchafalaya basins are the least diverse consisting primarily of swamp and fresh and intermediate marsh while the Barataria and Terrebonne basins have the most diverse wetland acreage with no one type composing more that 30% of the total. Overall, the Barataria basin contains the largest coastal zone wetland acreage, 565,144 acres or 22.2% of the total while the Mississippi River basin with 61,038 acres, 2.4%, has the least. The Deltaic Plain has 1,485,729 acres or 58.2% of the state's coastal wetland habitat and the Chenier Plain has 1,065,092 acres or 41.8%.

Estuarine open water comprises another 4.9 million acres of Louisiana's coastal resources. The coastal zone also includes several thousand acres of canals and spoil banks and a lesser amount of mud flats and black mangrove habitat. With over 40% of the nation's coastal wetlands and at least 25% of all wetlands in the nation, Louisiana has one of the largest and most valuable estuarine wetland areas in the world.

The Gulf of Mexico Program

The Gulf of Mexico Program (GOMP) was created in 1988 as an intergovernmental program to address the long-term environmental damage that was becoming evident in the Gulf. The program seeks to develop and implement management strategies for the protection, restoration and maintenance of the health and productivity of the Gulf. The GOMP has established partnerships with 17 partner agencies including federal, state (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas) and local government agencies as well as users of the Gulf of Mexico. The program is managed through a Policy Review Board, Management Committee, Citizens Advisory Committee, Issue Committees and a Technical Advisory Committee composed of representatives of the five Gulf states. Administration of the program is through a Program Office housed in the Stennis Space Center, Mississippi. The program has developed issue committees to address the eight identified issues of concern: habitat degradation, marine debris, fresh water inflow, nutrient enrichment, toxic substances and pesticides, public health, coastal erosion and living aquatic resources. Two other committees have been created to assist the issue committees in data and information transfer and public information and outreach. The EPA provides administrative support and office staff for the program headed by a program director. Through federal partnership agreements, five other federal agencies, Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) serve as a Directorate for the GOMP with designated representatives housed at the Program Office.

DEQ staff along with staff of other Louisiana state and local agencies have become actively involved with the GOMP to take advantage of the program's interagency and multi-state approach. The Governor has appointed the DEQ Secretary as the state representative on the Policy Review Board. One DEQ staff member serves as state co-chair of the Nutrient Enrichment Committee while other staff serve as members of various issue committees. Such staff level participation has led to cooperative programs between DEQ and the GOMP. One such program is a coastal nonpoint source management project to foster consumer awareness on the use of low phosphate detergents. The goal of the project is to reduce phosphate loadings to both state waters and the Gulf of Mexico. Other cooperative programs involve municipal wastewater discharges for coastal wetland and water quality enhancement and information transfer of GOMP goals and activities.

Program Issue Committees of the GOMP have completed three levels (generations) of action agendas that detail goals, objectives and specific activities to address the eight issues of concern. A fourth generation is underway to establish a strategic assessment process for accomplishing program goals as set out in the action agendas. Over the eight years of the GOMP, numerous meetings, workshops and seminars have been sponsored that have heightened interest in and proposed solutions to Gulf of Mexico environmental problems. In addition, three major Gulf-wide symposia have been held in New Orleans, Tarpon Springs and recently in Corpus Christi to generate continued support and foster goals of the program.

Coastal Nonpoint Source Program

A Coastal Nonpoint Source Program (CNSP) was required under authority of Section 6217(g) of the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendment of 1990. The CNSP is to be jointly administered by the state NPS Program as authorized by Section 319 of the Water Quality Act of 1987, and the state Coastal Zone Management Program as authorized by the Coastal Zone Management Act. These programs are overseen by EPA and NOAA at the federal level and by the Louisiana Departments of Environmental Quality and Natural Resources at the state level. (Nonpoint source pollution and Section 319 are described in more detail in Part II, Chapter 2 Nonpoint Source Control Program.)

Pathogens, nutrients and organic enrichment are three of the primary problems identified as contributing to NPS water quality problems in the coastal areas of Louisiana. The suspected sources of these pollutants are agriculture, urban runoff and unsewered or poorly sewered communities. Coastal nonpoint source management measures specifically target five categories of NPS pollution: agriculture, silviculture, urban, marinas and hydromodification. These program management measures are presently under review and comment. Louisiana submitted the draft Coastal Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program in 1995 for review and comment by EPA and NOAA.

Within DEQ, the state's existing NPS Program already includes activities addressing nutrient and bacterial contamination problems in coastal watersheds. Three project areas are:

1. consumer education on phosphorus and phosphate/nonphosphate detergents;

2. education aimed at reduction of bacterial contamination associated with agricultural and community sewage runoff; and

3. nutrient management education related to sugar cane production.

The consumer awareness education program on low phosphate detergents was submitted through the Nutrient Enrichment Committee of the GOMP. The purpose of the consumer awareness program is to educate the public about the amount of phosphorus discharged to water bodies of the state that is directly related to the use of phosphate-based detergents. A three parish pilot project (Caddo, Lafourche and St. Tammany) was implemented to determine if the project could be effectively implemented statewide. During FY 95-96, the program began to be expanded to a statewide effort. The project was implemented by the Louisiana State University Extension Homemaker Club of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service. Some of the project objectives included:

1. train agents on phosphates and home laundry;

2. hold demonstrations on phosphorus environmental consequences, phosphorus content labels and the purpose of detergent components;

3. conduct surveys on consumer knowledge of both laundry detergents and the phosphorus content of detergents; and

4. publish and release to the media phosphate laundry detergent information.

The education program for reduction of bacterial contamination associated with agricultural and community sewage runoff addresses the contribution of excess nutrients and bacteria to water bodies that drain into estuarine systems. The septic tank and unsewered communities portion of this problem has been addressed through the septic tank section of the state's NPS Management Program. The agricultural portion is being addressed through the Sugarcane Nutrient Management Project (SNMP), an interagency educational information and demonstration project in the Barataria-Terrebonne Basin sugar cane areas. The Natural Resource Conservation Service has nutrient management practices that have been implemented within these agricultural lands to reduce the level of nutrients entering coastal water bodies of Louisiana. DEQ has worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture as well as the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry to select sites for the implementation and evaluation of these management practices for the SNMP. The education portion of the SNMP has involved dissemination of information through the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service Office and the Soil and Water Conservation District Offices. Educational materials have been developed in cooperation with the National Estuary Program and the Nutrient Enrichment Committee of the GOMP.

Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program

In October 1989, the state nominated the Barataria-Terrebonne Estuarine Complex as an estuary of national significance and requested the development of a comprehensive management plan pursuant to Section 320 of the Water Quality Act of 1987. In September 1990, a cooperative agreement between the state of Louisiana and EPA was signed enabling work to begin on the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP), one of 17 nationwide, and one of five in the Gulf of Mexico region. The estuarine complex encompasses 6,300 square miles in the Mississippi Deltaic Plain within the Barataria and Terrebonne basins and is bordered by the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers. The area is host to many recreational, commercial and industrial activities; and is important habitat for migrating waterfowl, commercial and sport fish species, fur-bearing animals, and aquatic and terrestrial plants.

Problems faced by BTNEP include pollution, habitat loss, contamination of shellfish waters and coastal erosion. Specific priority problems were identified as follows:

1. Hydrologic modification. The construction of flood protection projects, navigation channels, canals and spoil banks has resulted in interruption of seasonal fresh water inputs from both the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers. This reduction in fresh water and its associated sediments and nutrients has resulted in increased salt water intrusion, deterioration of wetland vegetation and habitat loss.

2. Sediment loss. Major economic uses of the Mississippi River and coastal zone, including navigation, flood control and oil and gas exploration, have led to the construction of projects which either reduce seasonal overflow of sediment rich water into the coastal wetlands or encourage the deposition of those sediments in deep Gulf of Mexico waters. Without the seasonal introduction of sediment, wetland soils are more prone to the degenerative processes of subsidence and erosion.

3. Habitat loss/modification. Wetland loss is the most important type of habitat loss or modification. This loss is usually caused by: (1) subsidence which results in the area being converted to open water; (2) covering by fill; or (3) isolation by spoil banks.

4. Changes in living resources. Estuarine and wetland habitat loss affects fish yields. Salinity intrusion and eutrophication within the basin has reduced nursery grounds for fish, shrimp and oysters.

5. Eutrophication. The increase in the level of nutrients in water is characterized by frequent algal blooms, dominance by undesirable fish species and fish kills from low levels of dissolved oxygen. The major sources of nutrients causing eutrophication in the Barataria-Terrebonne Complex are agricultural and urban nonpoint source runoff.

6. Pathogen contamination. Pathogen contamination, potentially from septic tanks, urban and agricultural runoff, outfalls from publicly owned treatment works, and hunting and fishing camps causes the loss of designated uses of water bodies in the basin and seriously affects the oyster industry.

7. Toxic substances. Pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals and other toxic materials are introduced into the estuary from a variety of sources including urban areas, petrochemical industries and agricultural activities.

The state identified six objectives for BTNEP. These objectives are, in short:

1. Manage hydrology to optimize the longevity of estuarine habitats and productivity.

2. Reduce habitat loss and degradation.

3. Improve and manage environmental quality by controlling the inputs of toxics and nutrients and by enhancing the ability of the estuaries to assimilate wastes.

4. Maximize the long-term productivity of fish and wildlife resources.

5. Protect human health and welfare by providing storm protection and minimizing disease risks.

6. Inform and educate the public concerning the estuarine environment's problems, their causes and solutions to those problems (BTNEP,1991.)

Funding for the BTNEP began in October 1991, and is presently scheduled to continue through September 1996. Throughout this five-year planning effort the five committees that comprise the BTNEP have been involved in a consensus building process. This process serves as a forum for open discussion, cooperation and compromise that will ultimately lead to the development of a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP). The plan serves as a blueprint for restoring and maintaining the estuary by specifying goals and objectives for the estuarine complex.

The estuary program proceeds through three major phases during its effective five-year planning process. The planning initiative phase is the organizational phase in which the program builds its management framework. The program has successfully developed and held organizational meetings of all five operational committees. The next phase, the characterization phase, includes describing the quality of the estuary, identifying priority problems, and beginning to develop action plans for the protection and restoration of the estuarine complex. Numerous scientific studies were conducted within this stage to fill identified data gaps. Status and trends reports were developed for the above identified priority problems. These reports, for the first time, combine information from many sources to assess the historical trends and current status of environmental problems that the ecosystems of the Barataria-Terrebonne are facing. The third phase is the development of the CCMP. Currently, two components of the CCMP have been developed. The first component is entitled "The Estuary Compact" which includes information about the Program, why the plan was developed, how the plan was developed, and brief descriptions of each of the action plans. The other component is entitled "Barataria-Terrebonne Action Plans: Technical Supplement". This document includes all of the information pertaining to each action plan including objectives, description, background, benefits, implementation schedule and economic considerations. It is expected that the other two components of the CCMP will be finished in June 1996 at which time the entire CCMP will be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency for review and approval. Once this is accomplished, implementation of the plan will occur.

Hypoxia in the Near Shore Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana Coast

Over the last few years, the state of Louisiana has become increasingly concerned about a large area of oxygen-depleted waters that develops seasonally each year in the near shore Gulf of Mexico near the mouth of the Mississippi River. The size of the oxygen-depleted area varies from year to year and has extended from the mouth of the Mississippi River west to near the Texas border. Oxygen-depletion is typically associated with the bottom waters but can extend above the bottom. Oxygen depletion in the near shore Gulf can exceed 7,000 square miles in size and may form as early as February and last as late as October with the most widespread and persistent conditions occurring from mid-May to mid-September.

The area of oxygen depletion in the Gulf has been called the "dead zone" in the media but is more appropriately called "hypoxia" or "hypoxic waters" which refers to waters with dissolved oxygen concentrations of less than 2 parts per million (ppm). Two ppm dissolved oxygen is generally accepted as the limit for most aquatic life survival and reproduction. Much of our knowledge of the hypoxia in the northern Gulf of Mexico has been derived from the results of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Nutrient Enhanced Coastal Ocean Productivity Study with support from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Louisiana Sea Grant College Program, the Louisiana Board of Regents and the Minerals Management Service.

Louisiana is concerned about this problem because the affected near shore Gulf of Mexico and associated Louisiana coastal deltaic marshes support nationally important fisheries. Approximately 40% of the U.S. fisheries landings, including a substantial part of the nation's most valuable fishery (shrimp), come from this productive area. In addition, the area also supports a large and valuable sport fishery.

Although hypoxic waters occur near the mouths of other large rivers around the world, the northern Gulf of Mexico hypoxia represents one of the largest zones of oxygen-deficient bottom waters in the western Atlantic Ocean. The areal extent of the hypoxic zone is greater than that of Chesapeake Bay and, in recent years, has rivaled the hypoxic regions of the Baltic and Black Seas.

Presently available research has shown a relationship between Mississippi River flow, riverborne nutrients, plankton productivity and bottom water hypoxia. The hypoxia is believed to be due to both the effects of stratification of the fresh and marine waters that restricts vertical reoxygenation of bottom waters and the oxygen-consuming breakdown of organic material mostly derived from the river stimulated plankton. The hypoxic conditions vary spatially and seasonally depending on the phasing and amplitude of the Mississippi River discharge but are also effected by physical features such as water circulation patterns, density stratification, wind mixing, tropical storms and thermal fronts.

The nature of the hypoxia problem is complicated by the fact that some nutrient load from the Mississippi River is vital to maintaining the productivity of the Gulf fisheries. The concern is that the hypoxic area, which may have always existed to some extent, has been slowly enlarging since the 1960s due to human activities in the watershed which have increased nutrient loads. This includes both impacts on water quality and the leveeing of the River from its natural floodplain. The impacts of expanding Gulf hypoxia, either currently documented or potential, include:

- altered coastal phytoplankton-based food webs;

- noxious algal blooms;

- altered benthic ecosystems; and

- both direct and indirect impacts on fisheries such as direct mortality and altered migration which may lead to declines in populations and landings.

The Gulf of Mexico Program, a cooperative program of federal, state and local agencies as well as businesses and citizens, has been studying the northern Gulf of Mexico oxygen problem for several years and much of the above information has been derived through the Gulf Program. The Nutrient Enrichment Committee of the Gulf of Mexico Program, in particular, has funded studies of the nutrient concentrations in the Mississippi River which indicate that the larger load of nutrients delivered to the Gulf come from the upper Mississippi and Ohio River watersheds.

Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico Program are looking into all aspects of the problem including other sources of nutrient loads such as atmospheric deposition and coastal upwelling that are not related to drainage from the upper watershed. They are also evaluating what reductions in nutrient loadings will be required, if appropriate, to halt the increase in the size of hypoxia as well as looking more closely at the linkage between hypoxia and the Gulf's coastal fisheries. Efforts are also ongoing to divert river water into Louisiana's eroding coastal wetlands and restore Mississippi River floodplains to address the problem.

Border states of the upper Mississippi and Ohio River watersheds as well as other interested states are beginning to work with Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico Program to address the hypoxia problem. They are becoming more familiar with the problem and working more closely with the existing programs already in place in the watershed to control the runoff and discharge of nutrients. The EPA has established, under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, a nonpoint source program that is functioning in all states in the watershed. Through the national nonpoint program, Louisiana and many other states have initiated cooperative projects with local, state and federal agencies as well as farmers and citizens to combat nonpoint runoff problems including nutrients. Staff of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality have attended meetings around the country and discussed nonpoint controls for nutrients with nonpoint source coordinators from states in the Mississippi and Ohio River watersheds.

The Natural Resource Conservation Service, formerly the Soil Conservation Service, also maintains ongoing programs in most states to address the nutrient runoff and discharge problem. The agricultural community has been supportive of water quality improvement through the National Association of Conservation Districts, Cooperative Extension and experiment stations and local Soil and Water Conservation Districts. All of these agencies are working on nutrient controls. In addition to nonpoint controls, Louisiana has worked closely with industries and municipalities to reduce nutrient enrichment and has already seen benefits to receiving water bodies.

Recently, the Gulf of Mexico Program, in cooperation with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, Lower Mississippi River Conservation Committee and Mississippi Soil and Water Conservation Commission, held a First Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Management Conference, December 5-6, 1995, in Kenner, Louisiana. The conference brought together scientists, local, state and federal government officials, environmental groups and the general public to discuss hypoxia in the Gulf and potential solutions. The management conference was the first in a strategic assessment process to address the hypoxia problem. Subsequent conferences will be convened to explore strategies for reducing nutrient loads to levels which will support the abundant fisheries in the Gulf while reducing the extent and severity of the hypoxic area.


Chapter 6. Wetlands Water Quality Assessment

Summary of Wetland Water Quality Assessments

The figures reported in Table 3.6.1 "Individual Use Support Summary" are based upon the level of use support for fish and wildlife propagation (fishable), primary contact recreation (swimmable) and secondary contact recreation (boating) determined through both the evaluative and monitored assessments. The square miles of water bodies determined to be affected by various identifiable suspected causes through the evaluative assessment are shown in Table 3.6.2. The square miles affected by various identifiable suspected sources are shown in Table 3.6.3. These last two tables referenced reported causes and sources for those water bodies which were assessed as either partially or not supporting designated uses. The tables are not ranked by order of impact.

Table 3.6.1

Individual use support summary for Louisiana wetlands, 1994 305(b) assessment. (Reported in square miles)

Use

Supporting

Partially Supporting

Not Supporting

Unknown

Fish and wildlife propagation

1,467

147

---

---

Primary contact recreation

1,467

---

135

11

Secondary contact recreation

1,479

135

---

---

Suspected Causes of Non-Support of Designated Uses

Table 3.6.2

Total sizes of Louisiana wetlands not fully supporting designated uses due to various suspected causes, 1994 305(b) assessment. (Reported in square miles)

Suspected Cause Categories

Major Impact

Moderate/Minor Impact

Filling and draining

 

135.0

Flow alteration

 

135.0

Habitat alterations

 

135.0

Pathogen indicators

 

135.0

Siltation

 

135.0

Suspended solids

 

135.0

 

Suspected Sources of Non-support of Designated Uses

Table 3.6.3

Total sizes of Louisiana wetlands not fully supporting designated uses due to various suspected sources, 1994 305(b) assessment. (Reported in square miles)

Suspected Source Categories

Major Impact

Moderate/Minor Impact

Agriculture

   

Nonirrigated crop production

 

135.0

Resource Extraction

   

Petroleum activities

 

135.0

Hydromodification/habitat modification

   

Channelization

135.0

 

Dredging

135.0

 

Flow regulations/modifications

135.0

 

Drainage/filling of wetlands

 

135.0

Other

   

Natural sources

 

135.0

Recreational activities

 

135.0

Extent of Wetland Resources

Louisiana's wetlands are nationally and internationally recognized for both their extent and productivity. They support a large renewable recreational and commercial use as well as provide important storm and flood protection. The most recent data show that Louisiana contains approximately 3,000,130 acres of inland wetlands and 2,550,821 acres of coastal wetlands for a total of 5,550,951 wetland acres. By most estimates, this accounts for at least 25% of the nation's wetlands.

Historically, Louisiana's wetland acreage was much higher but has been significantly reduced by floodplain clearing, draining and leveeing inland and a combination of leveeing, canal dredging, saltwater intrusion and natural processes in coastal areas. An accurate breakdown of inland wetlands is not available but they consist primarily of cypress-tupelo gum swamp, freshwater marsh and deciduous bottomland hardwood forest. Inland wetlands are found in all inland water quality management basins and ecoregions from the Atchafalaya River Basin in south Louisiana to the upper Red and Ouachita River basins in north Louisiana.

Coastal wetlands are distributed among all or part of 20 parishes and nine coastal basins from Calcasieu/Sabine to Pontchartrain (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1992). A breakdown of each coastal basin and wetland acreage is found in Table 3.6.4.

Table 3.6.4

Breakdown of Louisiana's Coastal, basin and wetland acreage.

Regional Plain -- Deltaic Plain

1,485,729 acres

58.2%

Coastal Basin

Acres

Percentage

Predominate Wetland Type for Region

Acres

Barataria

565,144

22.2

Saline marsh

136,339

Pontchartrain

370,766

14.5

Swamp

165,115

Breton Sound

196,686

7.7

Brackish marsh

116,641

Terrebonne

194,276

7.6

Fresh marsh

58,507

Atchafalaya

97,819

3.8

Swamp

52,571

Mississippi

61,038

2.4

Fresh marsh

33,208

Regional Plain -- Chenier Plain

1,065,092 acres

41.8%

Coastal Basin

Acres

Percentage

Predominate Wetland Type for Region

Acres

Mermentau

449,827

17.6

Fresh marsh

188,665

Calcasieu/Sabine

312,090

12.3

Brackish marsh

164,670

Teche/Vermilion

303,175

11.9

Brackish marsh

160,160

Overall, coastal wetland types break down into the following acreages:

Swamp

Fresh marsh

Intermediate marsh

Brackish marsh

Saline marsh

392,109 acres

533,577 acres

441,046 acres

820,378 acres

363,711 acres

(15.4%)

(20.9%)

(17.3%)

(32.2%)

(14.2%)

Integrity of Wetland Resources (Wetland Loss)

Louisiana's wetland acreage has declined significantly since the beginning of the century. However, it has been difficult to accurately assess the historical wetland acreage and how much has been lost to date. Present day estimates put the inland wetland area at approximately three million acres. Very few studies have been done on inland wetland loss, but one study estimates Louisiana's inland wetland loss in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Plain alone during the ten year period from the mid-1970s to mid-1980s at around 500,000 acres (Hefner et al., 1994). These losses are primarily related to wetland clearing and draining for agricultural production.

Considerably more data is available on Louisiana's coastal wetland loss. The factors causing wetland loss in coastal Louisiana are complex and both natural and man-induced. The coastal wetlands developed as a result of delta formation and channel switching of the Mississippi River which deposited an abundant supply of fresh water, nutrients and sediments in the shallow coastal waters. Extensive leveeing of the river for flood control has reduced this area of active delta building by cutting off the flow of water, nutrients and sediment to the delta wetlands and channeling the Mississippi River's flow directly into the Gulf of Mexico. The dredging of navigation and pipeline canals and spoil disposal has caused further impacts by interrupting flow patterns and accelerating salt water intrusion. Draining and filling of coastal wetlands for urban, industrial and agricultural development have also contributed to coastal wetland loss. Natural factors contributing to the wetland loss include the physical process of delta building and deterioration, subsidence and sea level rise.

From the available studies, it is clear that Louisiana's coastal wetland loss has been substantial. The most recent study shows that coastal land (wetland) loss increased from 14.6 square miles per year (9,000 ac/yr) prior to the late 1950s (using 1932 data as a bench mark) to an extreme peak value of about 42 square miles per year (27,000 ac/yr) by the mid-1970s (Dunbar et al., 1992). By 1990, annual loss had dropped to 25 square miles per year (16,000 ac/yr). The aggregate coastal land loss for the last 60 years has totaled nearly a million acres for an average loss rate of about 27 square miles per year (17,000 ac/yr). For the present loss rate of 25 square miles per year, five square miles of the loss occurs each year in the Chenier Plain and 20 square miles occurs annually in the Deltaic Plain. By coastal basins, the greatest annual loss rates are in the Barataria-Terrebonne basins and the smallest rates are in the Breton Sound and Pontchartrain basins. The Atchafalaya basin is the only coastal basin showing a net wetland gain due to the delta building activity of the Atchafalaya River. The coastal wetland loss is affecting all wetland types, saline, brackish, intermediate and fresh marsh, and cypress-tupelo swamps.

Despite these significant wetland losses, the Louisiana coastal plain remains the largest expanse of coastal wetlands in the contiguous United States. It comprises 25% and 69% of the fresh and salt marshes, respectively, found along the Gulf of Mexico, and 15% and 40% of these wetland types remaining in the contiguous United States. Because of this, the future of Louisiana's coastal wetlands, which support a billion dollar annual seafood industry, is vitally important to the nation.

Wetland Protection and Restoration Activities

Water Quality Certification

DEQ, OWR is responsible for reviewing proposed wetland projects for Section 401 Water Quality Certification. Under this authority, DEQ reviews each application for a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 permit to determine if it complies with the state's Water Quality Standards. If it is determined that the project will violate water quality standards certification will be denied and the project can not proceed. If it is determined that the project will not violate standards or it can meet standards after some specified conditions are met a Water Quality Certification under Section 401 will be issued and the project can proceed through the rest of the Section 404 process. The certification process consists of the receipt of a complete application, public notice, review of application and public comments, and a decision on certification. A processing fee is charged for those applications that require a certification.

For certification requests in the Louisiana Coastal Zone, DEQ has agreements with LDNR, Coastal Management Division (CMD) and the various Army Corps of Engineers Districts under which LDNR or the Corps provides DEQ with a copy of each application they receive. The agreements between DEQ, the Corps and LDNR also provide for a joint public notice, which notifies the public that an application has been made for a Corps Section 404 permit, a Water Quality Certification, and Coastal Use Permit if the work is in the coastal zone. In some cases only DEQ will require a public notice. In this case the notice must be published by the applicant in a specified newspaper.

During 1995, DEQ received 1,737 applications for Water Quality Certification under Sections 401 and 404. Approximately 1,164 (67%) of these were for work in the coastal zone. The 1995 total for certification applications is up slightly from previous years, but the proportion of coastal zone applications has remained about the same. Virtually all certification requests are for work in wetland areas and the certification process has been used to provide protection for wetland resources, while allowing legitimate projects to be implemented in an environmentally sound manner.

Wetlands Reserve Program

The 1990 Farm Bill, known as the Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act, established the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to address the loss of wetlands associated with agricultural production. The WRP attempts to help agricultural landowners restore and protect wetlands which in most cases were only marginally productive. Under the WRP, landowners are offered the appraised agricultural "as is"market value of their land in exchange for signing a permanent or long term easement on the land and restoring the land to a wetland. The stated purposes of the WRP are: 1) to restore the hydrology and vegetation of prior converted wetlands or wetlands farmed under natural conditions, 2) protect the functions and values of wetlands for wildlife habitat and 3) improve water quality, flood water retention and ground water recharge capabilities.

The WRP is administered by the USDA's NRCS but receives technical assistance from other federal agencies including the EPA and the USFWS. State and local agencies, including DEQ, and the Cooperative Extension Service also provide some technical input. Those landowners interested in entering land into the WRP must have owned the land for 12 months before the end of the sign up period and have clear title to the land. Lands eligible for the WRP must have the potential to contribute to the functions and values of wetland ecosystems. Agricultural lands eligible for WRP are typically categorized by NRCS as: 1) wetlands farmed under natural conditions, 2) farmed wetlands, 3) prior converted cropland that was wetland, 4) commenced conversion wetlands, 5) farmed wetland pasture, or 6) lands substantially altered by flooding that could function as wetlands. Other lands adjacent to wetlands such as adjacent uplands, lands in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), and riparian areas along streams that link two or more wetlands may also be eligible for the WRP.

Louisiana was one of eight states selected to participate in the first round of WRP funding in 1992 and has actively participated in all subsequent enrollments in 1994 and 1995. In fact, Louisiana has consistently offered the most acreages for intentions to the WRP. These intentions for enrollment in the WRP have been primarily in inland wetland areas of the state. In 1995, Louisiana landowners submitted 301 total intentions for 69,000 acres (R. Simmering, NRCS, personal communication). The largest acreages submitted for the WRP in 1995 were from the Upper Mississippi River Alluvial Plain and the Ouachita River basin. Madison Parish led the state with 57 intentions for 12,215 acres followed by Tensas Parish with 26 intentions for 8,859 acres. St. Landry Parish in the Vermilion-Teche and Atchafalaya basins was third in intentions with 31 for 8,100 acres. A summary of Wetlands Reserve Program statistics for Louisiana is as follows:

Table 3.6.5

Wetland Reserve Program statistics for Louisiana.

 

1992

1994

1995

Number of Intentions Submitted

427

270

301

Acreage of Intentions Submitted

119,000

70,000

69,000

Number of Intentions Accepted

40

96

40

Acreage of Intentions Accepted

12,663

30,120

15,730

Total Number of Intentions Accepted

176

   

Total Acreage of Intentions Accepted

58,513

   

The statistics show that Louisiana landowners are offering more acreage for the WRP than present funding will allow. In federal fiscal year 1995 (FY 95), $50 million was allocated for the WRP nationwide, with up to $500,000 allocated per state. However, since Louisiana has been considered a model state for the WRP and has consistently obligated all of its funds, the Louisiana office of NRCS anticipates receiving a final total of $4.2 million for FY 95 and is planning a second sign-up period in spring of 1996. The average size of WRP easements in Louisiana has been 400 acres. Future allocation to the program for FY 96 is dependent on critical budget decisions being made by Congress. With the success and popularity of the WRP, however, the NRCS is anticipating approximately $100 million for the program in 1996 and it is likely that Louisiana will continue to have a large landowner response and potential for restoring significant wetland acreages.

Louisiana Coastal Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Authority (LCWCRA)

To combat the unprecedented coastal wetland loss, the state of Louisiana has created a unique state program. Under Act 6 of the Second Extraordinary Session of the 1989 Louisiana Legislative Session, the Louisiana Coastal Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Authority (WCRA) was created within the Office of the Governor, and the Office of Coastal Restoration and Management was created within the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. The Act also created a dedicated Wetland Conservation and Restoration Fund to provide revenues for the coastal restoration program. The "Wetlands Trust Fund" derives its revenue from a set percentage of oil and gas royalties on state lands and is therefore tied to the price of oil and gas. The WCRA consists of the Governor's Executive Assistant for Coastal Activities and a state Wetland Conservation and Restoration Task Force composed of the Secretaries of the Departments of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Fisheries, Environmental Quality and Transportation and Development as well as the Commissioner of Administration and Director of the State Soil and Water Conservation Committee.

The Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Authority is directed under Act 6 to develop a comprehensive policy (Policy) addressing the conservation and restoration of coastal wetlands and to develop the Coastal Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Plan (Plan) (LCWCRA, 1993). The Plan and the Policy serve as the state's overall strategy for conserving, enhancing, restoring, and creating coastal wetlands. The Plan must be developed and submitted to the House and Senate Natural Resources Committees of the Louisiana Legislature each year for their approval and eventually to the full Legislature for approval. Responsibility for the direction and development of the annual Plan is with the Governor's Office of Coastal Activities with the concurrence of the WCRA. Upon approval by the Legislature, it is implemented by the LDNR Coastal Restoration Division.

Restoration Plan projects which have been promoted since inception of Act 6 are generally of four types:

1. Introduction of freshwater, mineral sediments and nutrients to conserve, enhance, restore and create vegetated wetlands.

2. Management of surface water to protect vegetated wetlands from salt water intrusion and erosion by tidal currents.

3. Marsh restoration, and low-cost shore protection to maintain and enhance the physical integrity of vegetated wetlands.

4. Barrier island and Gulf shore protection along critical areas.

Since the inception of Act 6, the WCRA has produced five annual Coastal Restoration Plans each building on the other and addressing wetland loss in all nine coastal basins. In response to other requirements of the Act, the WCRA has initiated work on an encompassing Coastal Wetland Conservation Plan. Also, the WCRA has worked together with LDNR on mitigation regulations for activities requiring a Coastal Use Permit under the state's Coastal Zone Management Program. The latter effort is part of the state's restoration policy designed to provide compensation for coastal wetland functional values lost due to future permitted activities.

Other WCRA activities include efforts to increase the percentage of revenues the restoration program gets from state oil and gas royalty monies. With the decrease in oil and gas prices in recent years, the amount of funds made available to the Wetlands Trust Fund has been severely reduced to around $5 million (down from over $20 million). This not only restricts the amount the state can spend on its restoration projects but also the amount it will have available for a federal cost sharing match of 25% to obtain federal restoration dollars. The WCRA is also working to complete a Wetland Conservation Plan which when approved under the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) will increase restoration funding further by reducing the state cost share from 25% to 15%.

A critical part of the state WCRA activities is coordination with federal agencies under the federal CWPPRA of 1990 (Public Law 101-646, Title III, CWPPRA). This Act directed a Task Force consisting of representatives of five federal agencies, the Corps of Engineers, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Environmental Protection Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service and the state of Louisiana to develop a "comprehensive approach to restore and prevent the loss of coastal wetlands in Louisiana". The federal legislation has provided the first national mandate for a restorative action of this magnitude and makes available up to $50 million a year at a present rate of 25% cost share by the state. Both CWPPRA and Act 6 now work together to address the serious coastal land loss problem.

To achieve the goal of restoring Louisiana's eroding coast will require continued close coordination of federal, state and local agencies as well as academia, business and industry and the general public. The state's restoration program under the Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Authority together with the CWPPRA Restoration Task Force is working hard to achieve this restoration goal.

Tensas River Basin Watershed Protection Plan

DEQ and the Nature Conservancy have received a grant from the EPA to develop a wetland protection plan for the Tensas River watershed of the Ouachita River Basin. The Tensas River watershed lies within the Lower Mississippi River Alluvial Plain, and much of it is a federal jurisdictional wetland. Historically, the basin has supported stands of bottomland hardwood; however, large tracts have been cleared for agriculture. As a result of land use conversion, water quality in the basin is poor, with high nutrient levels and total suspended sediment loads (Gosselink et al., 1989).

Degradation of the Tensas River watershed is a result of cumulative environmental impacts due to many small land conversion projects. A comprehensive approach to wetlands protection is necessary to control incremental losses. Using a permit system where requests are considered on the basis of the whole landscape is greatly needed. The Tensas River watershed is an excellent model to develop methodology for assessment, remediation planning and implementation relative to landscape level wetlands protection.

Louisiana's economy is dependent on agriculture. One aspect of landscape level management is the balance between a sustainable economy and a sustainable environment. Compatible human use is, therefore, a major component in landscape planning and management. Cooperation and consensus between landowners, government agencies, researchers and special interest groups will be needed to achieve the objectives of the Tensas River Watershed Project, which are listed below:

1. To develop an assessment of the Tensas watershed that characterizes the status and ecological risk to wetlands in the context of landscape level protection.

2. To encourage the development of a community spirit towards resource protection and good neighbor resource utilization.

3. To provide a methodology for assessing, planning and implementing wetlands protection and restoration strategies in the context of a landscape level perspective which affords community input and review.

4. To establish a community outreach program that considers issues relevant to management, restoration and protection of wetlands (Creasman et al., 1993).

Wetlands and Wastewater Discharges

DEQ, OWR has recently approved two innovative wetland projects and is working on two others that involve the discharge of treated municipal effluent. Both approved projects have been developed to address a problem common to south Louisiana municipalities: that of having to meet stringent advanced secondary wastewater treatment to discharge into conventional receiving streams. In most cases, these conventional receiving streams are sluggish, low-flow, tidal canals or dredged stream channels that have little assimilative capacity even for tertiary treated wastewater. At the same time, many South Louisiana municipalities are surrounded by subsiding wetland systems that are both sediment and nutrient-starved because of the loss of sediment and nutrient input from traditional riverine sources. The option to discharge treated municipal wastewater to wetland systems instead of low assimilative capacity bayous and canals would relieve municipalities of costly tertiary treatment requirements while benefiting receiving wetlands with their nutrients and suspended solids. The two approved wetland discharge projects are for the cities of Thibodaux and Breaux Bridge.

Thibodaux

The city of Thibodaux's wastewater treatment system consists of primary and final clarifiers and a high rate trickling filter followed by disinfection with ultraviolet radiation. The system reflects a $2.8 million expansion in 1985 to achieve the required limits for discharge to the Lafourche Drainage Canal. The present four million gallons per day (MGD) system achieves effluent limits of less than 20 mg/L biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), 20 mg/L total suspended solids (TSS) and a 5 mg/L DO.

Even with these greater than secondary effluent limits, however, the city was faced with further expenditures for increased wastewater treatment to meet even more stringent limits determined to be necessary to meet water quality standards in the Lafourche Drainage Canal which is a sluggish, low-gradient and tidally influenced water body that also carries stormwater runoff for the city of Thibodaux.

After a review of options, the city of Thibodaux approached DEQ, OWR about discharging its wastewater to the nearby Pointe-au-Chene Swamp. In support of their request, the city presented a proposed pre- and post-discharge study plan prepared by the Coastal Ecology Institute at Louisiana State University (LSU). The Pointe-au-Chene Swamp was found to meet the required series of characteristics developed by DEQ, OWR and LSU to receive treated wastewater. These were: 1) hydrologic isolation; 2) proximity to the discharger; 3) sufficient size for discharge; 4) backup system; 5) high subsidence region; 6) slight gradient toward an outlet; and 7) low recreational use.

The Pointe-au-Chene Swamp is a mixed species wetland forest located in Terrebonne Parish southwest of Thibodaux. The swamp basin consists of over 3,500 acres, of which approximately 570 acres is to receive the wastewater discharge. A hardwood ridge approximately 500 meters wide extends from northeast to southwest across the swamp and separates two shallow water areas. The shallow water area to the east of the ridge is serving as the control and backup site for the study. Spoil banks define the north and east boundaries of the swamp and an oil field access road runs down the western boundary. The shallow water areas are flooded most of the year while the ridge area is only flooded during periods of high water. The swamp is semi-impounded which provides for more effective monitoring. The ridge has a mean elevation of 1.16 meters above mean sea level (MSL) and is vegetated primarily with black and nutall oaks, sweetgum, American elm, palmetto and boxelder. The shallow water areas on either side of the ridge are 0.76 meters above MSL and dominated by green ash, black willow, baldcypress, water tupelo, red maple and palmetto.

DEQ, OWR approved the study plan developed by LSU and submitted by the city, and a two year pre-discharge baseline study of the Pointe-au-Chene Swamp began in October 1988. Fourteen monitoring stations were set up covering the ridge and two shallow water areas. The stations were designed to determine the effects of wastewater at various uniform distances (25, 50 and 100 meters) from the discharge point. Parameters measured include species composition, diversity, relative abundance, density, basal area and biomass. Water parameters measured include DO, BOD, temperature, pH, suspended solids, nitrate-nitrite, ammonia, ortho-phosphate, total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN), total phosphorus, chloride, metals and common ions and conductivity. In addition, sediment-ation plots and water level recorders were set, and benthic and nekton populations were sampled. The monitoring data is being used to accomplish three primary objectives: 1) determine the impact of the effluent on floral and faunal communities; 2) determine the impact on nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon cycles; and 3) determine the fate of metals and other ions.

Analysis of the pre-discharge monitoring data indicates that the Pointe-au-Chene wetland is similar to other cypress-tupelo and bottomland hardwood sites in the region in terms of litter fall, pH, nutrients (low levels) and DO (below 5 mg/L). As a result of the pre-discharge monitoring, OWR established and promulgated the following water quality standards for Pointe-au-Chene Swamp, naturally dystrophic water subsegment 120207.

Criteria to protect the secondary contact and fish and wildlife propagation uses are:

1. no more than 20% decrease in naturally occurring litter fall or stem growth;

2. no significant decrease in dominance index or stem density of baldcypress; and

3. no significant decrease in faunal species diversity and no more than 20% decrease in biomass.

The city of Thibodaux began discharging to the Pointe-au-Chene Swamp in March 1992. The discharge occurs through spaced outlets along a 2,000 foot pipeline laid along the north spoil bank (hurricane levee) bordering the swamp. About 40 four-inch diameter pipes located 50 feet apart along the pipeline disperse the discharge into the swamp.

Results of the first two years of study after discharges began indicate that the discharge is being assimilated into the wetland system and that measurable wetland accretion is occurring. Substantial effluent reductions of TSS, nitrate, ammonia, phosphate, BOD and total dissolved solids are also occurring. Soils and waters show no deficiency or toxicity problems for nutrients and metals analyzed. Trace elements in soils are generally less than detection limits or in very low concentrations in both control and treatment areas. Intensive post-monitoring of the swamp will continue for another two years and baseline monitoring will continue afterwards as a condition of the discharge permit. OWR is pleased with the results of the Pointe-au-Chene Swamp monitoring and the general improvement of water quality in the Lafourche Drainage Canal. As monitoring results become available the data will be reviewed and changes, if necessary, will be made.

Breaux Bridge

The city of Breaux Bridge has been discharging its municipal wastewater into a series of drainage canals and eventually into an adjacent cypress-tupelo and bottomland hardwood swamp since the 1950s. Prior to that time the city had considered discharging to Bayou Teche but the sluggish, low assimilative nature of the bayou has always been a deterrent. A trickling filter treatment system was utilized in the 1950s but has since been replaced by the present three cell oxidation pond system. The present system provides for chlorine disinfection following discharge from the final treatment pond and dechlorination before final discharge into a small drainage canal connected directly into the Cypriere Perdue Swamp wetland. Recently, at the recommendation of OWR and LSU, the city has built a pipeline with five outlets for dispersing the discharge into different areas of the swamp. The oxidation pond treatment system is presently meeting 30 mg/L BOD and 45 to 90 mg/L TSS and discharges approximately 0.6 MGD. The system consists of a 31 acre holding pond and two 7.8 acre polishing ponds. However, since the city discharge point has been designated as a perennial flowing water body, it was faced with further upgrading the treatment system, at significant cost, to meet 10 mg/L BOD and 15 mg/L TSS.

Because the city of Breaux Bridge had been discharging into a canal system that drained directly into the Cypriere Perdue Swamp for over 40 years, rather than a flowing stream, the city approached DEQ, OWR about routing its discharge directly to the swamp. To support their request, the city has retained LSU to design and implement a study similar to the one developed for the city of Thibodaux. A major added benefit of the proposed Breaux Bridge study would be the opportunity to gain information on the long-term effect of a municipal discharge to a wetland swamp system.

The city of Breaux Bridge (population about 6,000) is located on the natural levee ridge of Bayou Teche in St. Martin Parish. The Cypriere Perdue Swamp is approximately 3,650 acres and is located about 2.2 miles west of Breaux Bridge and the Bayou Teche natural levee ridge. The swamp receives rainfall runoff from the levee ridge and flow runs south toward the Ruth and Evangeline Canals which form the southern boundary of the swamp. From the Ruth and Evangeline Canals, flows go east to Bayou Teche and west to the Vermilion River. Backwater flooding from the Vermilion River is the primary source of high water levels in the swamp.

Early results of the pre-monitoring program in the Cypriere Perdue Swamp has shown that bald cypress trees in the path of the long term discharge show greater average growth than those in the control area which has not received any wastewater discharge over the years. Other results to date are similar to those found at the Pointe-au-Chene Swamp at Thibodaux. In both wetlands, results to date show that wastewater is being assimilated and utilized much as historical riverine inputs were and that it can benefit stressed subsiding wetlands that have lost their historical sources of sediments and nutrients.


Chapter 7. Public Health/Aquatic Life Concerns

Water Bodies Affected by Toxicants or Sediment Contaminants

Table 3.7.1 lists those water bodies identified as being affected by toxic contaminants, either in the water column, sediments or both. Water bodies listed in this table are taken from the evaluative assessments provided by regional office staff, or from cases of known contamination which have been investigated by DEQ personnel. More information on many of these water bodies can be found in the section entitled "Toxics Related Concerns" beginning on Page 81. Additional information can also be found in Appendix A.

Table 3.7.1

List of Louisiana water bodies identified as being affected by toxic contaminants or sediment contaminants. January 1996.

Basin Segment No.

Water body

Toxic Contamination

Sediment Contamination

020304

Lake Salvador

 

T

020403

Bayou Lafourche-Yankee Canal and Salt Water Barrier to Gulf of Mexico (Estuarine)

 

T

020602

Intracoastal Waterway-Bayou Villars to Mississippi River (Estuarine)

 

T

020802

Bayou Barataria Waterway-Intracoastal Waterway to Bayou Rigolets (Estuarine)

 

T

020901

Bayou Rigolets and Bayou Perot to Little Lake (Estuarine)

T

T

020902

Little Lake (Estuarine)

T

T

020906

Bay Rambo (Estuarine)

 

T

021101

Barataria Bay including Caminada Bay, Hackberry Bay, Bay Batiste and Bay Long (Estuarine)

 

T

021102

Barataria Basin Coastal Bays and Gulf Waters to the state three-mile limit

 

T

040907

Bayou Bonfouca-Headwaters to LA Hwy. 433

 

T

070203

Devil's Swamp Lake & Bayou Baton Rouge

 

T

070503

Capitol Lake

 

T

120303

Lake Fields

T

 

120304

Intracoastal Waterway-Houma to LaRose

 

T

120403

Intracoastal Waterway-Bayou Boeuf Locks to boundary between segments 1204 and 1203, at Houma

 

T

120508

Houma Navigation Canal-Bayou Pelton to boundary between segments 1205 and 1207 (Estuarine)

T

 

120509

Houma Navigation Canal-Houma to Bayou Pelton

 

T

120605

Bayou Pointe au Chien-Source to the boundary between segments 1206 and 1207

 

T

120606

Bayou Blue-Grand Bayou Canal to boundary between segments 1205 and 1207 (Estuarine)

 

T

120707

Lake Boudreaux

 

T

120802

Terrebonne Bay

 

T

120803

Timbalier Bay

 

T

120806

Terrebonne Basin Coastal Bays and Gulf Waters to state three-mile limit

 

T

 

Fishing and Swimming Advisories Currently in Effect

DEQ currently issues fish consumption and swimming advisories in conjunction with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (LDHH). Fish consumption advisories are set using a risk assessment based method which establishes consumption levels designed to prevent adverse effects on public health. Risk assessments are used to determine safe consumption levels for different segments of the population. For example, children and pregnant or lactating women are often considered separately in developing risk assessments because this population is generally considered to be at greater risk from consumption of contaminated seafood. Therefore, limited consumption advisories will often be stricter for this population.

Swimming advisories are generally established due to fecal coliform contamination of a water body. However, a limited number of swimming advisories have been based on chemical contamination of water or sediments. Fecal coliform contamination of a water body can be caused by a number of possible sources including absent or inadequate sewage systems, poorly maintained septic tanks, direct sewage discharges from camps, and pasture and animal holding area runoff. Efforts are being made to correct these problems statewide, particularly in the Tangipahoa River basin. Figure 3.7.1 and Table 3.7.2 provides a complete listing of fishing and swimming advisories currently in effect.

Pollution-Caused Fish Kills/Abnormalities

A normal number (within an historic range) of fish kills were investigated by DEQ in 1994 and 1995 (Table 3.7.3). Ninety-three and seventy-two fish kills were reported in 1994 and 1995, respectively. As in previous years, the largest single cause of fish kills in Louisiana in 1994 and 1995 was low dissolved oxygen from natural causes. Low dissolved oxygen can result from algal blooms, high BOD drainage from swamps and marshes, and turnovers. Human activities can also decrease dissolved oxygen levels through disturbing bottom sediments during large vessel transport, discharges of sewage, decay of vegetation killed by herbicides and releases of high BOD wastewaters from regulated facilities. In 1994, an increase in human-induced low dissolved oxygen related kills was noticed over previous few years. Also noteworthy was an extended disease related phenomenon in the Mermentau Basin which resulted in several reported and confirmed kills. The cause was deemed to be Columnaris disease and apparently lasted two to three weeks.

Pesticides were responsible for a number of fish kills in 1994 and 1995, although the number of pesticide-related kills were greatly reduced from those reported in 1991 and 1992. Nine of fifteen pesticide related fish kills were further related to row crop applications. Several kills were found to be the result of storm water runoff from new home construction sites, the foundations of which had been treated for termites with chlorpyrifos. Various spills and releases of toxic chemicals caused a few fish kills in both 1994 and 1995. As in the past, a few fish kills reported to DEQ in 1994 and 1995 were determined to be related to the fishing industry, from trawl culls and lost sets.

Shellfish restrictions/closures currently in effect

Within LDHH, Office of Public Health (OPH), the Molluscan Shellfish Program is responsible for establishing and maintaining a classification system that determines the suitability of shellfish growing areas for harvest activity. The criteria are established by the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP). The classification system divides the oyster harvesting waters into two distinct seasons based on the temperature of the surface waters. Each season is further divided into two periods based upon the historical distribution of each indicator organism within the season.

The two seasons are November through April and May through October. The November through April season is further divided into a November through February period and a March through April period. The May through October season is divided into the May through August period and the September through October period. In addition, waters may be classified as conditionally approved, restricted, prohibited or closed. The guidelines for all classifications are established by the NSSP.

Seasonal reclassification lines delineate waters approved for direct market harvest and those closed for direct market harvest. Currently, a ten-year bacteriological data base and over 749 sample stations are used to calculate the position of the reclassification lines.

Conditionally managed areas (CMAs) are either managed on the staging of a river or the opening and closure of a fresh water diversion (FWD) structure. Conditionally managed river stage areas are the Quarantine Bay Conditionally Approved Area, the Lower Calcasieu Lake Conditionally Approved Area and the West Cove Conditionally Approved Area. Only one area is managed on the operation of a FWD. This is the Cox - August Bay Conditionally Approved Area.

Throughout coastal Louisiana, OPH has established 26 prohibited areas. Shellfish cannot be harvested from such areas for any purposes. Areas may be classified as prohibited based on either actual bacteriological data analysis or the potential for a pollution source to affect the harvest area. Also, the state Health Officer has established a 150 feet closure area around all man-made habitable structures which have a waste discharge. The harvest of shellfish is not allowed from these waters for any purposes.

OPH has also classified some waters as restricted. Shellfish within waters which are classified as restricted may be used only for relay or transplant purposes. They are not allowed to be used for direct market harvest. Special permits must be obtained prior to conducting relay or transplant operations. The necessary permits may be obtained from the OPH Commercial Sanitary Seafood Program.

For the last five years the seasonal and conditional management classification lines have been fairly stable, with minor seasonal fluctuations. The Terrebonne basin has shown significant improvement in the size of the zones open for harvesting over the last five years. Large municipal sewage treatment system improvements have produced an approximate 30% increase in areas open for shellfish harvest (K. Hemphill, LDHH, personal communication). Overall, the growth zones are shrinking even though there have been improvements in sewage treatment statewide. Other environmental changes that are negatively impacting the harvesting grounds are salt water intrusion, marsh erosion, nonpoint source pollution, sewage discharges from camps and subsidence.

To reverse salinity intrusion and promote expansion of a suitable environment for productive oyster beds, several fresh water diversion structures have been constructed or are under construction. Existing diversion structures located at Caernarvon, Belaire, Bohemia and Bayou Lamoque demonstrated little effect on seed ground salinities due to their position or flow capacity. These structures could adversely affect oyster grounds by bringing high levels of bacteria with diverted fresh water. Dye studies have indicated that the Bayou Lamoque structure has the potential for a tremendous negative impact. Fresh water diverted from the structure can affect the growing areas in less than 45 minutes. Two other diversion structures, Ostrica Lock and Empire Lock, are under construction. These structures have the potential for negative effects on oyster grounds located in Quarantine Bay and Adams Bay.

Figure 3.7.1 Map delineating Louisiana water bodies with fish consumption and/or swimming advisories currently in effect. April 1994.

Table 3.7.2

Fish consumption and swimming advisories currently in effect in Louisiana. March 1996.

Map

No.

Water body

Basin/Seg

WB Code

Causative

Pollutants

Type of

Advisory

Recommendations

Approximate

Size

Affected

Date

Established

Source of

Pollution

1

Calcasieu River, Estuary to Gulf of Mexico

030301

030302

030303

030304

030305

030402

Hexachlorobenzene, Hexachloro-1,3-butadiene, PCBs

Informational advisory fish contamination

Caution advised on fish consumption due to low levels of chemical contamination.

37.0 miles

04/07/92

reviewed

10/94 and 1995

Industrial point source

2

Bayou d'Inde

030901

Hexachlorobenzene, Hexachloro-1,3-butadiene, PCBs

Fish consumption, swimming

Limit fish and seafood consumption to two meals per month.* Avoid swimming and sediment contact.

6.0 miles

04/07/92

reviewed

10/94 and 1995

Industrial point source (sediment contamination)

3

Bayou Olsen

at Lake Charles

0303

Priority organics

Sediment contamination

Avoid swimming and sediment contact.

0.5 mile

01/17/89

reviewed

10/94

Landfill leachate (sediment contamination)

4

Bayou Bonfouca

040907

Priority organics (creosote)

Fish consumption, swimming

Avoid fish consumption and swimming or sediment contact.

7.0 miles

11/24/87

Surface runoff from abandoned creosote facility (sediment `contamination)

5

Devil's Swamp and Devil's Swamp Lake

070203

Hexachlorobenzene,

Hexachloro-1,3-butadiene, PCBs, lead,mercury,arsenic

Fish consumption, swimming

Avoid swimming, limit fish consumption to two meals per month.*

7.0 sq. miles

07/09/93

Abandoned hazardous waste site (sediment contamination)

6

Capitol Lake

070503

Priority organics (PCBs)

Fish consumption

Avoid fish consumption.

0.12 mile

08/24/83

Industrial surface runoff (sediment contamination)

7

Wham Brake

0809

Dioxin

Fish consumption

Avoid fish consumption.

7.2 sq. miles

11/23/87

reviewed

3/94

Industrial point source (sediment contamination)

8

Sibley Lake

101001

Priority organics (PCBs)

Fish consumption

No consumption of gar, shad, carp. Skin and trim fat from other fish. Broil, grill or bake fish. Do not fry fish.

Within any one month period consumption should be limited to ONLY one of the following:

One meal/week of largemouth bass or crappie.

OR

One meal/month of channel catfish, striped bass or other species.

3.4 sq. miles

02/16/89

revised 01/31/96

Industrial surface runoff (sediment contamination)

9

Ouachita River

LA/AR border to lock at Columbia

080101

Mercury

Fish consumption

No bass consumption. Limit consumption of other species to 2 meals per month.

102 miles

07/29/92

reviewed 8/94

Unknown sources, possibly atmospheric deposition

10

Henderson Lake area including Lake Bigeux #

010301

Mercury

Fish consumption

Pregnant/lactating women and children < 7 years of age limit consumption of largemouth bass, crappie and freshwater drum to one meal per month. No limit on other species or for the general population.*

37.8 square miles

03/04/96

Unknown sources, possibly atmospheric deposition

11

Tensas River

081201

DDT, Toxaphene

Fish consumption

Long-term fish consumption may cause health risk.

83 miles

02/19/92

Agricultural runoff

12

Lake Irwin: 1 mile upstream of Morehouse Parish Road overpass to the weir

0809

Dioxin

Fish consumption

Limit consumption of small mouth buffalo to two meals per month.*

2 miles

03/94

Industrial point source

13

Bayou Lafourche: from Hwy. 80 overpass to I-20

080904

Dioxin

Fish consumption

Avoid consumption of crappie and limit consumption of other fish to two meals per month.*

2 miles

03/94

Industrial point source

14

Tchefuncte River

040801

040803

Fecal coliform

Swimming

Avoid swimming and other primary contact sports.

18 miles

02/04/91

Septic tanks

15

Bogue Falaya

040804

Fecal coliform

Swimming

Avoid swimming or other primary contact sports.

12 miles

02/04/91

Septic tanks, animal discharges

16

Lake Pontchartrain

041001

Fecal coliform

Swimming

Avoid swimming and other primary contact sports.

South shore beaches

06/01/85

Septic tanks, surface runoff

17

Tangipahoa River

040701

040702

Fecal coliform

Swimming, tubing, skiing, canoeing

Avoid swimming and other primary or secondary contact sports.

79 miles

03/22/88

Municipal point source, farm runoff, septic tanks, drainage

* One meal is considered to be one half pound of fish.

# Henderson Lake advisory includes Henderson Lake, Lake Bigeux and all waters within the area bounded on the north by the St. Landry-St. Martin Parish Line, on the east by the West Atchafalaya River levee (Hwy. 3177), on the south by Hwy. 3177 and on the west by the West Atchafalaya Basin levee.

Table 3.7.3

Probable causes of fish kills reported to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality in 1994 and 1995, sorted by region.

Region

Basin

1994

 

 

 

 

NDO

HDO

PES

TOX

FIS

UNK

DIS

UNC

Acadiana

05, 06, 01

10

6

2

2

2

0

5

3

Lafourche

12, 02

1

1

0

0

3

0

0

2

Capitol

12, 07, 04, 01

0

2

1

2

0

0

0

2

Central

11, 10, 08

2

2

1

0

0

0

0

3

Northeast

08

2

1

3

0

1

2

1

1

Northwest

10

5

1

2

3

1

0

0

0

Southeast

02, 04, 07, 09

3

6

1

1

0

0

1

2

Southwest

11, 03

1

1

0

1

0

1

0

0

TOTAL

 

24

20

10

9

7

3

7

13

 

Region

Basin

1995

   

NDO

HDO

PES

TOX

FIS

UNK

DIS

UNC

Acadiana

05, 06, 01

5

3

1

1

0

1

1

3

Lafourche

12, 02

3

2

1

0

0

0

0

2

Capitol

12, 07, 04, 01

4

5

2

1

0

2

0

2

Central

11, 10, 08

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

Northeast

08

2

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

Northwest

10

5

1

0

2

0

0

0

0

Southeast

02, 04, 07, 09

5

3

0

0

1

0

0

2

Southwest

11, 03

2

0

0

1

2

0

0

3

TOTAL

 

27

16

5

5

3

3

1

12

NDO=naturally occurring low dissolved oxygen; HDO=human activity-related low dissolved oxygen; PES=pesticides; TOX=toxic spill or discharge; FIS=net cull or lost set; UNK=not determined; DIS=disease; UNC=not confirmed.

Restrictions on Surface Drinking Water Supplies for Calendar Years 1993-1995

In Louisiana there are 73 public water supplies (community and non-community) which utilize either surface water or combined surface and ground water as their source of drinking water. These 73 systems have treatment plants and are required by state law to filter and disinfect the raw water.

According to LDHH, during calendar years 1993-1995, 44 of the 73 public water supplies (60%) had at least one violation of state drinking water regulations. These public water supplies either violated the coliform and/or turbidity maximum contaminant level or the coliform and/or turbidity monitoring regulations.

Restrictions on Swimming

Areas closed for swimming or where swimming advisories are in effect include Bogue Falaya River, Lake Pontchartrain south shore, Tangipahoa River and Tchefuncte River. These are all closed due to bacteria counts that exceed the water quality standard for swimming (primary contact recreation). Additional areas are closed due to sediment contamination; these are: Bayou Bonfouca, Bayou d'Inde and Devil's Swamp.

Incidence of Waterborne Diseases

Physicians are required by state law to report to the parish health unit any confirmed or suspected case of a reportable disease that he or she is attending or has examined. In addition, all other health care professionals are now required to report confirmed cases of reportable diseases to their local health units. The reportable disease list includes illnesses that are caused by waterborne bacteria and viruses. According to Dr. Louise McFarland, state epidemiologist, there were 56 cases of waterborne diseases which were caused by Vibrio species in 1994. These included nine Vibrio vulnificus cases. Preliminary data for 1995 shows 43 cases of waterborne diseases that were caused by Vibrio species, including 15 Vibrio vulnificus cases.

Toxic Related Concerns

Calcasieu Estuary, Segments 0303 and 0304

The Calcasieu River, located in southwestern Louisiana, drains approximately 3,775 square miles and has an overall mainstream length of 191 miles. The character of the river changes considerably from a small, fast stream at its headwaters near Slagle, Louisiana to a broad sluggish estuary extending from the Lake Charles area to the Gulf of Mexico. The natural floodplain lining the lower regions of the river is comprised of seasonally flooded bottomlands and permanently flooded swamp and marsh wetlands. Above the city of Lake Charles, a salt water barrier protects the upper Calcasieu River from salt water intrusion. The barrier effectively divides the river into an upstream fresh water system and a downstream estuarine system. The natural river channel below the barrier and above the Intracoastal Waterway has been widened, deepened and, in places, replaced by a new channel (Calcasieu River Ship Channel). The new channel was dredged for navigational purposes. The extensive modifications have resulted in a complex system of interlaced natural and artificial channels, loops and lakes.

Following a study of Bayou d'Inde and the surrounding area conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and reviewed by LDHH and DEQ, a joint advisory against consumption of seafood from the area was issued in the spring of 1987. This advisory was based on the presence of hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and hexachloro-1,3-butadiene (HCBD) in fish collected in the region. The advisory also warned against swimming, wading and water sports in Bayou d'Inde due to contamination of the sediments with HCB and HCBD. Following issuance of the advisory, DEQ continued to sample seafood from the area on a regular basis. Analytical results of the sampling revealed that species near the top of the food chain showed the highest levels of contamination. Species at the lower end of the food chain showed low or undetectable amounts of contamination. Due to these new findings, DEQ and LDHH, in February 1989, revised the existing advisory to specify a ban against the sale and consumption of speckled and white trout from the Calcasieu estuary.

Following a 1989 settlement agreement between PPG in Lake Charles and DEQ, PPG agreed to begin seafood tissue sampling in the Calcasieu Estuary under the direction of DEQ. This effort has superseded DEQ sampling. Sampling was implemented on a quarterly basis, with results forwarded to DEQ for review and statistical analysis.

In late 1991, DEQ and LDHH again reviewed available fish tissue data to further examine concentrations of chlorinated organic chemicals in selected seafood species taken from the Calcasieu estuary. Based on results of this review, on April 23, 1992 DEQ and LDHH once again revised the advisory to recommend limiting consumption of seafood taken from Bayou d'Inde to two-meals per month (a meal being one half pound of fish). For the Calcasieu estuary as a whole the advisory was modified to an informational advisory only, with no limits placed on consumption of fish due to low levels of chemical contamination (see advisory Table 3.7.2). The advisory against swimming and sediment contact in the Bayou d'Inde area was continued. The revised advisory was based on a risk assessment protocol developed by LDHH. In order to determine the need for an advisory on fish taken from Calcasieu estuary, analysis results were divided into two regions, Bayou d'Inde and the Calcasieu River. The EPA risk assessment equation used incorporates cancer potency and absorption factors, mean tissue concentrations, and three average seafood meal estimates. The DEQ/ LDHH protocol takes into account persons such as pregnant and breast feeding women and children who are at increased risk from consuming contaminated fish. In April 1993 fish tissue data from the Calcasieu estuary was once again reviewed and compiled into an interim report; however, health advisories were not reevaluated following this review. Sampling of fish from the Calcasieu estuary is ongoing, and DEQ is continuing to review results from this sampling effort.

Contamination of seafood species from the Calcasieu estuary is believed to have been caused by extensive contamination of Bayou d'Inde and the PPG Discharge Canal with organic compounds. This contamination has occurred over a period of decades. As a result, PPG was issued a Compliance Order (CO) in March 1989 regarding HCB/HCBD contamination in the estuary. This CO was subsequently appealed and the state entered into a consent decree with PPG in July 1989. As agreed upon, PPG conducted studies to determine the transport, fate and effect of HCB/HCBD in the estuary, the source of HCB/HCBD in the PPG effluent, and the extent of HCB/HCBD contamination in the estuary. Based on this study, PPG proposed to reroute their discharge canal in order to bypass the most contaminated area and prevent additional contamination from reaching the estuary. Construction began; however, in December 1991 a new area of severe hydrocarbon contamination was discovered. Following further investigation, PPG proposed a bypass canal realignment designed to reroute the canal away from the newly located contamination site. The bypass canal realignment was completed in the fall of 1993 and is currently in use. In addition to the canal work, PPG installed a new water treatment facility on site designed to reduce or eliminate the discharge of hazardous compounds from the plant. Since completion of the bypass canal and water treatment facility, fish tissue sampling has shown that levels of HCB and HCBD have decreased. Based on monitoring results from 1995, the levels of HCB and HCBD in fish tissue are lower than before the bypass canal was completed. It is hoped that the bypass canal and water treatment facility will continue to significantly reduce the level of HCBD and HCB in Calcasieu estuary fish so that advisories for the region can be lifted.

Bayou Bonfouca, Subsegments 040907 and 040908

In 1982, as mentioned in previous Section 305(b) reports, Bayou Bonfouca, which is located in Slidell, St. Tammany Parish, was placed on the National Priorities List (NPL) due to contamination by creosote, a chemical commonly used as a wood preservative. The NPL, which is issued by EPA, is a list of hazardous waste sites eligible for investigation and cleanup under the federal Superfund program.

In 1970, several thousand cubic yards of creosote spilled into Bayou Bonfouca and onto an adjacent land area following a fire and tank explosion at the American Creosote Works plant. Contamination of the area also occurred through a legacy of poor plant operating procedures. The creosote plant had been operating for almost 100 years prior to its closure after the fire. The contamination of Bayou Bonfouca has been categorized as a nonpoint source residual waste problem. A record of decision (ROD) signed in March 1987 outlined a selected remediation plan for the site. In June 1988, it was discovered that the extent and depth of the contamination was much greater than previously estimated. This led to an amendment to the original ROD under the February 1990 explanation of significant difference.

As of January 1996, EPA and DEQ are working to correct contamination problems at Bayou Bonfouca under provisions of the federal Superfund program. Both the EPA and DEQ are jointly providing funds for cleanup of the site, with EPA as lead agency in charge of remediation. There is concern that attempts to remediate the contamination in Bayou Bonfouca will stir up the creosote and the overlying sediment. Therefore, LDHH and DEQ issued an advisory against swimming and consumption of fish from the stream. The area posted extends from one-quarter mile upstream of the American Creosote Works site to one mile south of Louisiana Highway 443. Remediation of the abandoned facility involves the dredging of 169,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediments from Bayou Bonfouca and removal of 8,000 cubic yards of surface waste materials.

The selected remediation and disposal methods for the contaminated site included excavation; capping the site; incineration of creosote waste piles and heavily contaminated bayou sediment; and pumping, treating and monitoring contaminated ground water. A design phase for ground water remediation was completed in October 1989, and the in situ operation began in mid-1991. In November 1993, a cleanup contractor moved an incinerator to the site and completed a trial burn. In early 1994, excavation and incineration of the contaminated sediments was begun. The ash was placed under a RCRA cap onsite and incineration completed in the summer of 1995. This part of the cleanup was conducted by the Source Control Operable Unit. The second phase of remediation, which will be handled by the Ground Water Operable Unit, will address dense nonaqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs) in the surfical aquifer.

Ground water quality is being monitored extensively at and around the site, and additional ground water monitoring and extraction wells have been drilled. The health advisory will remain in effect until fish and water samples have been analyzed and determined to be safe following the remediation operations.

Bayou Trepagnier, Subsegment 041202

Bayou Trepagnier is located in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin in southeastern Louisiana, near Norco in St. Charles Parish. The bayou has an overall length of approximately 3.5 miles and flows in a northeast direction through a tidally influenced cypress-tupelo gum fresh water swamp to join Bayou LaBranche. Bayou LaBranche then continues through fresh water marshlands into Lake Pontchartrain. Since 1973, Bayou Trepagnier has been a designated "natural and scenic stream" under the State's Natural and Scenic Rivers System. In 1984, in accordance with the Louisiana Water Quality Standards, the water uses of Bayou Trepagnier were designated as primary contact recreation, secondary contact recreation, fish and wildlife propagation, and as an outstanding natural resource water.

Through the years, the hydrology of the Bayou Trepagnier - Bayou LaBranche system has been altered by man's activities. During construction of the Bonnet Carré Spillway from 1929 to 1931 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a segment of Bayou Trepagnier was filled in and all flow was stopped. Flow was diverted to the east through the Airline Highway (U.S. Hwy. 61) Canal to Bayou LaBranche and thence to Lake Pontchartrain. During the 20-year period from 1931 to 1951 there was little or no flow in Bayou Trepagnier. From 1951 to 1966 Bayou Trepagnier received municipal and industrial stormwater and wastewater from the town of Norco and nearby industries. Since 1966 the only substantial source of dry weather flow has been the treated wastewater and stormwater from Shell Oil Company's Norco Refinery, located at the headwaters of the bayou. Average flow from the facility to Bayou Trepagnier was approximately 15 million gallons per day. The bayou also received some flow from the surrounding wetlands during rainfall events.

DEQ conducted a survey on Bayou Trepagnier in July 1985 after receiving a report concerning the presence of odorous black sludge deposits on the bayou bottom. Preliminary analytical results of sediment samples collected during the survey indicated relatively high concentrations of oil and grease, chromium, and lead. Strong to slight sulfide odors were noted during sediment sampling. Further monitoring and additional sampling were conducted from May 1986 to March 1987.

In 1989, results of a survey of water and sediment samples showed very low dissolved oxygen concentrations and the presence of zinc and chromium. Levels of these metals were not high, but did demonstrate a tendency to have a lower concentration further downstream. Analysis for volatile organic compounds indicated the presence of very low levels of chloroethane, methylene chloride and toluene.

Sediment core samples were analyzed and the results showed the presence of elevated levels of chromium, zinc, lead, oil and grease when compared to sediments from the Mississippi River and Bayou LaBranche. The sediment samples showed that chromium and zinc concentrations were higher upstream than downstream. Metals concentrations decreased with distance from Shell's Norco Refinery outfall, while increasing with depth from the surface. Oil and grease concentrations showed similar patterns, with higher concentrations at upstream stations and in deeper layers of the cores. These results indicated that there was a correlation between contaminant concentration and distance from the refinery discharge. It also indicated that the heaviest contamination occurred prior to 1980.

Biological assessments of Bayou Trepagnier conducted by DEQ included macroinvertebrate and fisheries surveys; ambient water, sediment and effluent toxicity tests; and fish tissue analyses. Results of these assessments were all indicative of a pollution problem within Bayou Trepagnier and again showed that the greatest impact occurs at upstream stations closer to the refinery discharge.

Following completion of the Bayou Trepagnier study, DEQ met with representatives of Shell Oil Company's Norco Refinery and other state agencies to discuss findings of the study and issues involved in remediation of the bayou. In April 1991, Shell submitted to DEQ, under order, a report entitled Remedial Investigation of Bayou Trepagnier (RI). The objective of this investigation was to further document the extent of contamination in and around Bayou Trepagnier. After DEQ's approval of the RI in July 1993, Shell submitted a work plan entitled Feasibility Study on Bayou Trepagnier to study the alternatives for remediation. In October 1993, the Work Plan for the Feasibility Study was approved for Bayou Trepagnier and Shell rerouted its process wastewater discharge to the Mississippi River. Currently, DEQ's Inactive and Abandoned Sites Division is supervising a Feasabiltiy Study to determine what the best plan of action for the remediation of Bayou Trepagnier will be.

A hurricane protection levee is currently under construction by the U.S. Corps of Engineers (The Corps). This project is designed to provide hurricane storm surge protection to St. Charles Parish. The Corps first constructed a haul road bridge over the spoils bank for access, and sand for the base of the levee has been laid up to the banks of Bayou Trepagnier. When completed, the levee will bisect the bayou just north of Highway 61 near its headwaters; however, drainage structures will be provided for Bayou Trepagnier and the nearby Engineers Canal. It is hoped that locating the levee at this point will provide for both hurricane protection and preservation of the marshes and swamps downstream to Lake Pontchartrain. The DEQ will continue to coordinate with Shell and other agencies involved so that all potential benefits and impacts to both Bayou Trepagnier and the adjacent wetland will be considered.

Devil's Swamp Lake, Subsegment 070203

Devil's Swamp is a cypress swamp lying just northwest of Baton Rouge adjacent to the Mississippi River. Devil's Swamp Lake, a man-made lake excavated from Devil's Swamp in 1973, has an approximate surface area of 24 acres. The lake is surrounded by low-lying bottomlands and receives drainage from the adjacent swamp. It also receives discharges and stormwater runoff from a hazardous waste facility and some industrial facilities. The lake also receives flood water from the Mississippi River during high flow periods. Baton Rouge Bayou drains through Devil's Swamp and flows into the Mississippi River just above the Baton Rouge Harbor Canal.

Since 1980, repeated water, sediment and fish tissue sampling have demonstrated the presence of organic compounds, including PCBs, in Devil's Swamp, Devil's Swamp Lake and tributaries to the system. Testing in March 1986 confirmed the presence of PCBs in lake sediments and the Rollins effluent channel. Following these analyses, fish samples collected from the lake were analyzed by both DEQ and LDHH laboratories for toxic substance residues in edible tissues. The tissue analyses revealed PCB concentrations below the FDA action level (U.S. FDA, 1986). However, concentrations of HCB and HCBD were found at levels considered potentially health threatening from the standpoint of long term chronic exposure. In addition, hazardous levels of lead, mercury and arsenic were present. Following review of these analytical results, the state epidemiologist recommended that a swimming and fish consumption advisory be issued for Devil's Swamp Lake. The advisory was issued in October 1987, revised in July 1993, and remains in effect.

A major portion of Devil's Swamp north of the lake had previously been posted by DEQ's Inactive and Abandoned Sites Division, advising the public of chemical contamination associated with the abandoned Petro Processors hazardous waste disposal facility. This site was determined to be the source of the HCB and HCBD found in the sediment and fish tissue samples. A cleanup plan was established for the Petro Processors site under a settlement agreement between EPA, the state and several industries identified as having disposed of waste at the site. The Petro Processors site preparation and earthwork began in October 1989. The site has now been capped and the major source of discharge to surface water has been curtailed. Waste will be pumped from wells and then incinerated at various commercial facilities located in the United States. In the near future, it is probable that waste pumped from the site will be incinerated onsite. Contaminated ground water will be collected and, after contaminants have been removed, discharged to the Mississippi River in accordance with a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The responsible parties are currently redesigning the pump and treatment system in response to EPA and to meet new wastewater standards. To date, a system of drains known as a recovery system has been installed onsite in the area known as Cypress Swamp.

In July 1991, DEQ's Inactive and Abandoned Sites Division, Remediation Section completed all required work on the sampling program. DEQ was conducting investigations of Devil's Swamp to determine if the site was a potential candidate for the Superfund National Priorities List. However, in July 1991 DEQ decided to turn over the Devil's Swamp project to EPA, Region 6 because of unresolved legal complications and the inability to complete the project by the end of 1991.

In June 1993, LDHH and DEQ issued a revised health advisory for the Devil's Swamp and Bayou Baton Rouge areas. The area of concern is bounded on the north by Hall Buck Marina Road, on the east by the bluffs and the Baton Rouge Barge Harbor and on the south and west by the Mississippi River. This advisory modified a previous advisory in response to more recent sampling and analysis of water and sediment from south of the Petro Processors site. The new analysis indicated that the concentrations of arsenic, lead, mercury, HCB and HCBD were at levels that pose risks to public health. The advisory recommends no swimming or other primary water contact sports in the area of concern. Also, based on elevated levels of HCB, HCBD and mercury in fish from this area, the agencies are advising that consumption of all fish species from these waters be limited to two meals per month. (One meal is considered to be one-half pound of fish.) The boundaries of this advisory may be adjusted in the future to reflect results of new information.

Capitol Lake, Subsegment 070503

Capitol Lake is a small man-made lake formed between 1901 and 1908 when the lower reach of Grass Bayou was dammed approximately one quarter mile east of the Mississippi River. The lake is located in downtown Baton Rouge adjacent to the State Capitol and the Governor's Mansion. It has a surface area of approximately 60 acres, and its depth varies from one foot in the northern arm to a maximum of eight feet in the southwestern arm. The average depth ranges between four and six feet. Capitol Lake drains an area of approximately 4.5 square miles, consisting primarily of residential, commercial and industrial land uses. The lake receives drainage from two unnamed canals which are subsurface storm sewers in their upper reaches. At the southwest end of the lake there is a pumping station which is the only outlet for the lake. This pumping station is operated by the East Baton Rouge City Parish government. It is usually turned on only during storm events and discharges to the Mississippi River. Thus, Capitol Lake is a fairly stagnant system that is only flushed during storm events, functioning much like a holding pond for any contaminant which might enter from the drainage area.

As of January 1996, Capitol Lake is still under a "no fishing" advisory issued by DEQ and LDHH. The advisory was initiated in 1983 due to the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the sediment. Documented as early as 1972, Capitol Lake has a long history of pollution problems such as oil contamination and nutrient enrichment. Pollutant sources include both point and nonpoint sources; specifically, discharges, spills and urban stormwater runoff. Investigations were conducted in Capitol Lake by DEQ in 1972, 1973 and 1981 for oil contamination. In 1981 Kansas City Southern Railroad was found to be a significant source of pollution. Later, enforcement actions against responsible industries were issued and corrective measures taken. However, oil and other pollutants continue to accumulate in the lake system, running off from urban surfaces such as streets, parking lots, gasoline stations, industrial and commercial facilities and residences. In 1983 DEQ investigated a complaint concerning the discharge of oily wastes into the northern tributary of the lake system. The investigation revealed that oily wastewater, primarily from oil spillage and an underground storage tank leak, was draining into the canal from a Westinghouse Electric Corporation facility. Analysis of water samples revealed that PCBs were present in runoff water, canal water and in water from the center of the lake.

Analytical results confirmed that Westinghouse Electric Corporation was at least a major contributor of PCBs to the northern part of the lake (Schurtz and Albritton, 1986). A compliance order was issued to Westinghouse Electric Corporation requiring the facility to stop all oil-contaminated discharges, to submit plans for evaluation of the extent of PCB contamination in surface and subsurface soils at and surrounding the property, and for the removal and/or containment of PCB contamination. Westinghouse Electric Corporation signed a settlement agreement with DEQ establishing the framework and timetable for cleanup and containment of PCB contamination at the facility and establishing automatic monetary penalties if the company failed to fulfill any provision.

Investigation of other sources of pollution resulted in the issuance of enforcement actions and compliance orders requiring the cessation of discharge of oily waste or contaminated wastewater and control of discharges in excess of permit limits against Furlow-Laughlin Equipment Company Inc.; American Asphalt Corporation; City of Baton Rouge and Parish of East Baton Rouge; Comet Distribution Services Inc.; Kansas City Southern Railroad; and Road Runner Motor Re-builder Inc. It was also determined that none of these facilities were contributing PCBs. Other facilities that were possible sources of nonpoint PCB contaminated stormwater runoff, due to the storage of transformers, electric motors and heavy equipment, included the Louisiana Division of Administration Surplus Property Yard, U.S. Government Surplus Property Yard and the Louisiana National Guard Armory, all located west of the lake (Schurtz and Albritton, 1986).

In February 1991 an additional report on the chemical contamination of Capitol Lake sediments was submitted to DEQ. The report concluded that no additional PCB contamination was occurring. Later in this same month DEQ's Inactive and Abandoned Sites Division issued compliance orders against Kansas City Southern Railroad and Louisiana Oil and Re-refining Company, Inc. The compliance orders required these companies to submit to DEQ a work plan for remedial investigation and feasibility studies and to begin execution of the work plans no later than 90 days after its approval. In May 1991, the Kansas City Southern Railroad was also issued a compliance order by DEQ for violating their water discharge permit. In June 1992, DEQ issued a cease and desist order shutting down the Louisiana Oil and Re-refining Company, and the owner pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to illegally discharge pollutants. The owner was sentenced to prison and fined.

In 1993, due to the presence of PCBs in the lake, DEQ initiated an extensive survey of Capitol Lake with the objectives of: 1) determining whether any exposure risk existed for people consuming fish from the lake system; 2) determining the extent and levels of contamination in the lake system; 3) determining any impacts upon the lake system's biological community; 4) confirming the extent and levels of contamination at the Westinghouse Electric Corporation facility; and 5) determining whether other sources of oil contamination were contributing PCBs to the lake system.

In 1988 the Louisiana Legislature created the Capitol Lake Task Force with the purpose of studying and making recommendations on how to preserve and enhance the qualities of Capitol Lake. This task force found that Capitol Lake was seriously contaminated and requested the governor to create a commission to begin implementing the long term solutions proposed in their recommendations. In January 1993 the governor signed an executive order creating the Governor's Commission on the Capitol Lake Rehabilitation Project and designated the DEQ Secretary as chairman of this commission. DEQ is presently organizing this commission with representatives from different sectors of the community.

Because concentrations of PCBs in the lake sediment are below the 50 ppm level required for designation as a hazardous waste, Capitol Lake did not rank as a high priority for cleanup funding. Under the federal Superfund Program, this level of contamination is not considered an environmental emergency. Therefore, cleanup will have to be funded from sources other than federal monies. Estimated costs for removal, transportation and disposal of the contaminated sediment are in the millions of dollars. However, with issuance of specific compliance orders and settlement agreements, some responsible parties will be held accountable for the remediation work. Data indicate that the contaminated sediments do not pose a direct threat to the public or to area ground water. However, the advisory on consumption of fish from the lake system will remain in effect indefinitely.

In order to start the cleanup, DEQ met with the appropriate parties in November 1995 to discuss how a cleanup plan should be implemented. The first step is to conduct a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study on the site. The Work Plan for this study is in the initial stages and must be approved by DEQ before implementation.

D'Arbonne Hills Lake, Segment 0801

D'Arbonne Hills Lake is a 40 to 50 acre man-made impoundment located northwest of West Monroe, in Ouachita Parish. The lake is owned by the homeowners association of D'Arbonne Hills Lake subdivision. Initially, the lake was developed for recreational purposes such as fishing, swimming, boating and aesthetic pleasure. Water from the lake is utilized by lakeside residents for irrigation of their lawns and gardens.

In 1988, the Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) initiated a survey of the lake because of the likelihood of PCB contamination. TGP operates a compressor station which drains to a series of on-site ditches that flow into D'Arbonne Hills Lake near the upper end of the lake. Historically, TGP used Pydraul, a synthetic lubricant containing PCBs, in their air compressors. Use of the lubricant by TGP ceased in 1974; however, residual concentrations of PCBs were later found in some of their air compressors and associated piping systems, drainage systems and soils at different facility locations throughout the state (Woodward-Clyde Consultants, 1990).

TGP initiated a study of the lake to characterize the extent of PCB contamination. In 1989 TGP contracted an environmental consulting firm to conduct survey and fish sampling activities. The survey evaluated the water column, surface sediment and aquatic biota for the presence of PCBs in the lake. The PCB content in the water and sediment differed noticeably. No PCBs were found in the water samples; however, two of the sediment samples exhibited contamination at levels that ranged from 0.39 to 4.30 ppm. Water is not expected to have detectable concentrations of PCB due to the tendency of PCBs to sink. Only Aroclor 1254, a registered trademark for one form of PCBs typically found in Pydraul, was found in the sediment samples. Approximately 82% of the fish sampled contained less than 2 ppm total PCBs. The 2 ppm concentration level in fish fillets for PCB content is employed by the FDA and several states to provide guidance to the fish-eating public. Only three fish samples out of 81 had non-detectable levels of PCBs. Higher concentrations were found primarily in bass and catfish.

In 1990, DEQ initiated an additional survey of the lake which consisted of sampling three drainage streams flowing to the lake for the presence of PCB soil contamination. Each of the three drainage streams carries runoff from the different gas facilities TGP, United Gas Pipeline Company and Texas Eastern Pipeline Company operating in the area. Results indicated that the TGP facility was the main source of PCB contamination. In addition, a priority pollutants scan was performed on fish samples taken during the survey, and the presence of 1,2-dichlorobenzene and chlordane was detected in samples taken near the TGP facility. The presence of chlordane, a pesticide, was attributed to its long term use for termite control. DEQ's fish tissue analyses generally showed lower levels of PCB contamination than previously reported by TGP. However, samples still indicated PCB levels above the FDA limit of 2.0 ppm.

In October 1990, DEQ met with TGP to discuss the status, assessment and remedial activities associated with PCB contamination of D'Arbonne Hills Lake. It was decided during that meeting that TGP would do annual spring fish sampling to monitor contamination in the lake. At that time there was no required or proposed remedial action plan due to the low levels of PCBs observed. Contamination seems to be dispersed throughout sediments in the lake and not concentrated in any defined area.

In 1992, TGP and the D'Arbonne Hills residents came to a partial settlement; TGP offered $1 million to be placed in a trust specifically for remediation of the lake. However, remediation efforts have been held up due to concerns about the final disposition of the contaminated sediments and liability issues after sediments are removed from the lake. TGP is currently (March 1996) in the process of reviewing ecological and human health risks based on data collected as part of their characterization reports on the lake. Once their review is complete they will make recommend-ations to both EPA and the D'Arbonne Hills residents. Possible actions range from no action, which will allow natural sedimentation to contain the PCB contaminated sediments, to draining and dredging the lake to remove contamination. However, the D'Arbonne Hills residents have also expressed a valid need for dredging of the lake due simply to eutrophication and filling-in of the lake. In this instance, PCB concerns are a somewhat secondary issue.

In August 1994, EPA, Region 6 signed an Administrative Order on Consent Agreement with TGP which covers TGP Compressor Stations located in the various states where its pipeline runs. The Consent Agreement includes TGP's participation and response action for remediation of D'Arbonne Hills Lake. EPA is currently awaiting results of TGP's Characterization Report. D'Arbonne Hills Lake has been placed on the Group One Sites list, and is, therefore, scheduled for clean-up in the first round of remediation as soon as the complications described above can be cleared up.

Wham Brake, Segment 0809

Wham Brake is a privately owned swamp impoundment located in Morehouse Parish. It lies approximately two miles east of the town of Swartz. International Paper Company (IP) of Bastrop, Louisiana discharges effluent into Staulkinghead Creek, a tributary to Little Bayou Boeuf. Little Bayou Boeuf empties into Wham Brake through an opening in the levee surrounding Wham Brake.

From 1984 to 1986, EPA and numerous state environmental agencies conducted the National Dioxin Study to evaluate the extent of dioxin contamination and associated risks to humans and the environment on a nationwide basis. In September 1987, the report to Congress for this study was released by EPA. In the summer of 1987, DEQ received information on laboratory results of the National Dioxin Study that indicated the amounts or occurrences of dioxins in edible portions of fish taken from Wham Brake were higher than those found in fish sampled from other waters of the state.

Dioxins are a group of organic compounds that have the same basic structure in common. The various dioxins differ from one another in the numbers, types and locations of atoms attached to the primary dioxin molecular structure. The compounds of environmental concern are 75 different forms of polychlorinated dioxins. DEQ and LDHH are most concerned with 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin (TCDD) because some studies have suggested that it is highly toxic and environmentally persistent. It is this specific chemical that is usually indicated when the generic term "dioxin" is used. Dioxins are not manufactured intentionally, but are formed in low concentrations incidental to certain chemical manufacturing processes or through the incomplete combustion of organic matter. The chemical processes which are known to form dioxins include the production of chlorophenols (particularly 2,4,5-trichlorophenol), the subsequent use of chlorophenols in the manufacture and formulation of pesticides (specifically the herbicides 2,4,5-T and Silvex), and pulp and paper manufacturing processes that use various chlorine bleaching processes.

In November 1987, DEQ, in consultation with LDHH, issued a health advisory for fish taken from Wham Brake. The results of laboratory analyses from fish fillet samples collected by DEQ from Wham Brake were below FDA recommended levels of concern. However, because TCDD levels in fish from Wham Brake were significantly higher than in fish taken from other areas of the state, a health advisory was issued. This advisory was a warning against the consumption of any fish from Wham Brake. Subsequent EPA studies have confirmed the presence of dioxins in excess of the FDA alert level of 50 parts per trillion.

During 1989, IP sampled and analyzed fish from Wham Brake and found dioxin in excess of the FDA alert level. IP developed a plan to address this issue, implementing specific measures to limit public fishing in Wham Brake and to gather additional data. Since 1989, the mill has reduced dioxins in its effluent by substituting defoamers which do not contain dioxin/furan precursors. The IP mill also plans to modify their bleaching process and equipment to allow for substitution of chlorine dioxide for chlorine in order to further reduce the formation of dioxin.

In early 1990 the three other bleached kraft paper mills in Louisiana (Georgia Pacific Corporation, James River II, Inc. and Boise Cascade) were issued orders by DEQ to provide information on mill operations suspected of producing dioxins, and to submit plans for sampling fish in waterways downstream of these mills. However, IP was not among these because mill officials voluntarily initiated similar actions.

In 1993 DEQ issued a revised water discharge permit to IP. A significant change in the permit was a condition and schedule to relocate the IP discharge location from Staulkinghead Creek to Wham Brake. The scheduled discharge location change went into effect in January 1996.

In March 1994, DEQ and LDHH jointly reissued a fish consumption advisory for Wham Brake. This advisory alerts the public not to consume fish taken from the area. At the same time, fish consumption advisories were issued for Bayou Lafourche and Lake Irwin due to the presence of dioxin in fish samples from these two water bodies. The fish advisory for Bayou Lafourche states that no crappie should be eaten, and that the consumption of other fish from the area should be limited to two meals per month (a meal is considered to be half a pound of fish for an adult). The fish advisory for Lake Irwin advises the public to limit their fish consumption to two meals or less per month of small mouth buffalo, with no limit on the consumption of other fish from this area.

Sibley Lake, Subsegment 101001

Sibley Lake is a large fresh water impoundment located west of the city of Natchitoches in Natchitoches Parish. It is the source of public drinking water for the city of Natchitoches and the surrounding area, in addition to serving as a recreational area. The city's public water intake structure is located on the southeast side of the lake.

Since 1946 Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company (TGP) has operated a natural gas compressor station in the northwest corner of the uppermost major branch of the lake. TGP maintains three compressor buildings with 20 compressor engines which compress natural gas to be transported through a pipeline stretching from Texas to northern markets. In August 1988, TGP officials notified DEQ that analysis of wastewater from one of their outfalls revealed the presence of PCBs. These trace concentrations are believed to be present due to residual amounts of PCBs at various locations in the facility resulting from the use of Pydraul, a lubricant containing PCBs, that was used at this facility from 1955 to 1968. DEQ issued a compliance order and imposed civil penalties against TGP for this excursion and past unreported excursions. The compliance order required TGP, among other things, to sample lake sediments, fish tissue, effluent and lake water; and to take any and all measures necessary to cease discharge of wastewater containing PCBs. They were also required to submit a written report describing circumstances of cited violations of the discharge permit, remedial actions taken thus far to mitigate any impacts resulting from violations, and actions taken to achieve compliance with the compliance order.

TGP has since ceased direct discharge of their wastewater and has rerouted wastewater through an activated carbon treatment system prior to discharge into Sibley Lake. During 1989, TGP submitted the results of water, sediment and fish analyses to DEQ for review. Results indicated non-detectable amounts of PCBs in water sampled throughout the lake. However, PCBs were found in lake sediment taken from the area around the TGP outfall and in fish taken from a limited area. PCB levels in some species of fish exceeded the FDA alert level of 2 ppm for Aroclor 1254. Based on the results of laboratory data, it was determined that a potential health risk to the public existed; therefore, in February 1989, LDHH and DEQ issued a joint advisory against the sale and consumption of fish taken from Sibley Lake.

In February 1990, TGP officials agreed to conduct a fine-tuned study of the sediment in a targeted area around their outfall to help DEQ determine what remediation plan should be implemented. Based on results of the study, DEQ requested that TGP submit a remedial action plan for the physical removal of PCBs at and adjacent to the discharge pipe in Sibley Lake. In June 1991, DEQ issued a compliance order to TGP due to lack of response to requests for a remediation plan. The compliance order also specified an annual fish monitoring program and ordered the submittal of a remedial action plan. A request for a hearing was filed by TGP in July 1991, and in October 1991, TGP submitted a remedial action plan and alternative evaluation report for Sibley Lake.

In October 1992, DEQ and TGP reached a settlement agreement. The agreement, based on a remediation plan, required the installation of a rain water control structure; the excavation of sediments from the lake near the facility's wastewater outfall; and the backfilling, grading and restoration of the excavated areas. Remediation work started in October 1992 after the agreement was signed by DEQ's Secretary. Excavation and removal of sediments started in November 1992. Excavated material was sent off-site to a hazardous waste disposal site; and after removal of the contaminated sediments, TGP backfilled the area with clean soil. In January 1993 TGP completed the excavation and backfilling required by the agreement. TGP will conduct a post-remediation monitoring plan and will sample water, fish and sediment within the lake for the next several years.

The first set of monitoring data was collected in May 1994, from Sibley Lake. The results of that data has indicated that the level of PCBs in fish has declined by more than 50% within the last three years. Natural sedimentation is taking place by depositing new sediments over the old, which may contain PCBs. This process is gradually reducing the bioavailability of PCBs. However, in June 1994 the advisory for Sibley Lake was reviewed and continued. At this time, PCBs have not been detected in the water at Sibley Lake. These trends are expected to continue. The next monitoring is scheduled for Spring 1996.

In January 1996, the advisory against the sale and consumption of fish from Sibley Lake was lifted. However, a new advisory was placed into effect at that time. The new advisory recommends no consumption of gar, shad and carp. For other species, within any one month time period, eating fish from Sibley Lake should be limited to only one of the following two options: 1) One meal per week of largemouth bass or crappie; or 2) one meal per month of channel catfish, striped bass or other species (excluding gar, shad and carp). All fish consumed should be skinned and trimmed of fat then broiled, grilled or baked. These fish should not be fried because this traps the contaminants in the fish. A meal is considered half a pound of fish for adults and children.

Tensas River, Subsegment 081201

The Tensas River, subsegment (081201), is 170 miles long and winds through East Carroll, Franklin, Tensas and Madison Parishes in northeast Louisiana. The subsegment is described as beginning at the headwaters of the Tensas River, including Tensas Bayou and ending at its confluence with the Black River near Jonesville, Louisiana. Lake Providence drains into the Tensas Bayou at its headwaters. The Tensas National Wildlife Refuge is located in the middle portion of the river in Tensas and Madison Parishes. This refuge is the largest remaining tract in the Tensas watershed of a forested wetland with bottomland hardwoods representative of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain Ecoregion. Otherwise, 80% of the forested wetland communities along the Tensas River have been cleared and are currently used for crop production. Factors for clearing land in this area were agricultural prices (especially during the 1970s and early 1980s when soybean prices skyrocketed), the construction and operation of federal flood control and drainage projects, natural hydrologic conditions, conversion costs and meteorological variations. The conversion of this forested watershed to agricultural uses has probably caused erosion and runoff of sediments, nutrients and pesticides. Increased runoff carries nutrients, pollutants and sediments to the stream (Creasman et al., 1993).

In June 1988, fish samples of bluegill sunfish, channel catfish, smallmouth buffalo, spotted gar, common carp and bowfin were collected along the Tensas River by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Sites for collection were all within the Tensas National Wildlife Refuge, which is only a minor portion of the entire length of the Tensas River. Samples were collected at one site near Africa Lake, one near Buck Lake, three near Fool River and two on the upper Tensas River within the refuge. Organochlorine tests were performed at the Mississippi State Chemical Laboratory at Mississippi State University. Results indicated that toxaphene, an insecticide, was present in edible fillet portions of channel catfish, common carp and smallmouth buffalo in concentrations exceeding the FDA action level of 5 ppm (U.S. FDA, 1986). Other toxic compounds, 1,1'-(2,2,2-trichloroethylidene)-bis/4-chlorobenzene (DDT) along with its metabolites 1,1'-(2,2-dichloroethenylidene)-bis/4-chlorobenzene (DDE) and 1,1'-(2,2-dichloroethylidene)-bis/4-chlorobenzene (DDD), were also found above detection limits in many samples. These insecticides have not been registered or approved by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) for application in Louisiana since the late 1970s. The Tensas River watershed, however, was formerly one of the areas of heaviest toxaphene use in Louisiana.

A recommendation was made by DEQ to distribute the data for review to LDHH and LDAF. It was also recommended to involve LDWF and FWS in any meetings assessing the situation. A fish advisory was drafted and circulated among this task force for comments and recommendations. LDHH indicated that levels in edible portions did not constitute an acute or immediate threat to anyone eating fish from the area; however, there could be a potential threat to the health of persons consuming relatively large amounts of fish from the area over many years. LDAF recommended that the advisory be changed to an announcement of the findings and be limited to a joint monitoring program administered by the agencies on the task force.

Concurrently, further samples of both fish tissue and sediments were collected in the area. Five sampling sites were chosen: the Tensas River at East Carroll Prison Farm; the Tensas River at the mouth of Roundway Bayou near Tendal, Louisiana; the existing FWS sample station on the upper Tensas River within Tensas National Wildlife Refuge; the Tensas River at Cooter's Point near Mayflower, Louisiana; and the Tensas River upstream of the mouth of Kimbel's Bayou near Clayton, Louisiana. Since all but one of these sample sites were outside the refuge, this widened the sample area and became more indicative of the Tensas watershed. Results from the November 1988 sampling effort by DEQ indicated that fish and sediments did not exhibit the same elevated levels of toxaphene or DDT metabolites and thus did not approach or exceed FDA action levels as did the earlier FWS study. Based on this sampling effort, an advisory was postponed.

In late 1991, new reports by the FWS again indicated high levels of DDT and toxaphene in fish samples from the Tensas River. DEQ initiated another fish sampling effort in the area in late January 1992 and a sediment sampling effort in February 1992. A report was issued by DEQ on these results in November 1992 (Cormier, 1992). Many of the samples were split and analyzed by three laboratories--the LDHH Laboratory in New Orleans, Northeast Louisiana University Soil-Plant Analysis Laboratory in Monroe and Louisiana State University's School of Veterinary Science in Baton Rouge. Fish tissue results showed no values above recommended FDA levels from any of the laboratories. Sediment sample results showed that toxaphene was not detected at any of the stations tested.

November 1991 saw the initiation of the Tensas Wetland Protection Project under DEQ's Nonpoint Source Program to address at a watershed level all major ecological, agricultural and socioeconomic issues. The Tensas River Basin Initiative is a joint effort of landowners, land users, citizens, organizations and local, state and federal agencies to develop approaches to help or enhance all areas and aspects of the Tensas River Basin, a 750,000-acre area in portions of East Carroll, Franklin, Madison and Tensas Parishes. The initiative seeks to identify local environmental, agricultural, social and economic issues in the basin through comprehensive evaluation. The evaluation offers local landowners, land users and citizens full participation in the planning and application process with multiple government agencies working towards a common goal. Expected benefits from the initiative are to identify concerns and provide opportunities to improve water quality, enhance management of existing bottomland hardwood areas, restore bottomland hardwoods, improve numbers of wildlife species, and improve the social and economic condition of the area.

In February 1992, DEQ, LDHH and LDAF issued a joint advisory on fish consumption in the Tensas River. It states, "Traces of chemical contamination (DDT, toxaphene) found in some samples of fish from the Tensas River from Louisiana Highway 581 to Bayou Macon do not pose an immediate health risk. However, high consumption of food contaminated with these chemical residues over a long period of time may increase the risk of cancer in humans. In order to reduce the levels of chemical toxins, the advisory recommends that fat be trimmed from food prior to cooking and that it be baked, broiled or grilled. The advisory further urges that diets be varied by eating a variety of food from different sources. The advisory takes into account individuals with special sensitivities, pregnant and breast feeding women and children."

According to DEQ's January 1994 field evaluation, recent efforts to spray herbicides along the riparian zone of the Tensas River have been somewhat stayed. Some spraying has occurred in East Carroll Parish. Degradation of the riparian zone through herbicide spraying may lead to the degradation of water quality through increased turbidity, temperature and organic loading.

Ouachita River, Subsegment 080101

The Ouachita River originates in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas. It enters Louisiana from Arkansas at the northern boundaries of Ouachita and Morehouse Parishes. The river flows south for approximately 176 miles before it merges with the Tensas River to become the Black River. The Columbia Lock and Dam, near Columbia controls the flow and maintains a navigational pool for barge traffic. Industrial and major municipal inputs to the river include the Georgia Pacific paper mill, located just upstream of the Arkansas/Louisiana state line, the Louisiana Power and Light power plant and the Angus/Koch Industrial Complex in Sterlington, the Riverwood International paper mill located in West Monroe and the two major municipal outfalls from the cities of Monroe and West Monroe. From the Sterlington area to its confluence with the Tensas River, the Ouachita River has been dredged and channelized. The Corps of Engineers maintains the channel for commercial traffic.

During the past three years, starting in 1990, the Ouachita River has been the subject of three separate studies aimed at determining mercury concentrations in several important fish species. Indications of problematic mercury concentrations were first found as a result of a study conducted by EPA in 1990. This study sampled largemouth bass, catfish and carp from two locations. Three edible portion composites of each of the three species were collected just below the Arkansas/Louisiana line and near Monroe. The results showed mercury concentrations in largemouth bass from both locations at or above the 1.0 ppm U.S. Food and Drug Administration alert level.

A second study conducted by DEQ in 1991 consisted of sampling five stations in the 104 mile reach between the Arkansas/Louisiana state line and the Columbia Lock and Dam. An edible portion composite was collected from bass and a species of buffalo at each of the five stations. Analyses included 18 EPA priority pollutant pesticides, eight priority pollutant metals (including mercury), and 17 polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons. The only remarkable result of that effort was the concentration of mercury in bass tissue samples. Four of the five largemouth bass composites exceeded the 1.0 ppm level for mercury. As a result of this study, a fish consumption advisory was issued by DEQ and the LDHH for the studied section of the Ouachita River.

A third DEQ study was carried out on the Ouachita River in 1992. This study looked at mercury in three edible portion composites from five commonly consumed species. The five stations sampled in the previous study were again utilized. The species included bass, crappie, catfish, bluegill and buffalo. In addition, the remainder of the Ouachita River, from the Columbia Lock and Dam to Jonesville, was included. This additional 72 mile reach contained four stations. Three edible portion composites of bass and one of buffalo were collected from each location. Continued high levels of mercury were seen in largemouth and spotted bass from the Arkansas/Louisiana line to the Ouachita River's confluence with the Tensas River. Although mercury was found in various concentrations in the other species sampled, only one, a crappie sample, was found to contain a concentration exceeding 1.0 ppm.

Activities directed at finding a source of the mercury have been ongoing since 1991. No point sources have been identified and none are suspected. The presence of elevated mercury levels along the entire length of the Ouachita River indicates a more ubiquitous source. Atmospheric deposition of airborne mercury is suspected. The yearly backwater flooding of the Ouachita River along with the input from large dystrophic tributaries along its length may explain the presence of mercury seen in the three studies so far carried out. All of these factors create conditions favorable for the continued presence of mercury in fish species.

Non-Toxics Related Concerns

Tangipahoa River, Subsegments 040701 and 040702

The Tangipahoa River, located in Tangipahoa Parish, flows southeast from the Mississippi/Louisiana state line into Lake Pontchartrain. The Tangipahoa River is characterized as an upland stream as far south as U.S. Highway 190 near Robert, flowing through rolling hills and having a sand and gravel substrate. South of U.S. Highway 190, the characteristics of the river change to those of a lowland stream; the river widens and flows through cypress/tupelo swamp before entering Lake Pontchartrain. Most of the watershed is rural, consisting of pine forests, pasture lands, truck farms, and dairy farms in the upper portion of the drainage area, and swamp and marsh land in the lowest portion.

In October 1987, the safety of the Tangipahoa River for swimming and tubing was questioned following publicity regarding a graduate student's thesis which concluded that the Tangipahoa River does not meet water quality standards for primary contact recreation. The thesis also suggested that fecal coliform pollution of the heavily used beach areas along the Tangipahoa could pose a possible health hazard (Janes, 1987). This prompted the Girl Scouts of America, who operate a large camp on the river, to write to the Secretary of DEQ requesting further investigation of the problem. DEQ then initiated a study of the Tangipahoa River to determine current water quality conditions and identify all possible sources of fecal coliform pollution in the watershed. Sampling in the river and its tributaries began in October 1987. A review of historical fecal coliform data from the Tangipahoa River and preliminary results of the investigation revealed high coliform counts. Fecal coliform bacteria reside in the intestinal tracts of warm-blooded mammals, both humans and animals, and are released with their waste (feces) into the environment.

Sources of bacterial pollution in the Tangipahoa River include both point and nonpoint sources, but the magnitude of contribution from the various sources is not known. During the initial sampling phase of the investigation, 11 wastewater treatment facilities were inspected. As a result of the inspections, enforcement action was recommended for nine of these facilities, and compliance orders were issued. Most of the municipal dischargers are now in compliance. Nonpoint sources, sources that come from land use activities and communities with no sewerage or poor sewage treatment systems, were identified as contributors to the problem in the Tangipahoa River. These sources include runoff from unsewered communities, subdivisions, trailer parks and recreational campgrounds; drainage from Mississippi; and runoff from dairy barns and other animal holding facilities. Dairy farming is the predominant form of agriculture in the area, with 273 dairies located in Tangipahoa Parish. Truck farms, beef, poultry, fish and swine production follow dairy farming in that order. Industries in the area are all primarily agriculture related, such as milk, fish and meat processing.

In 1988, LDHH, in conjunction with DEQ, issued an advisory warning residents along the Tangipahoa River of a potential health hazard from primary and secondary contact recreation in the river. Primary contact recreation includes swimming, water skiing, skindiving, tubing and other activities involving prolonged bodily contact with the water. Secondary contact recreation includes fishing, boating, wading or other activities resulting in limited contact with the water. The advisory indicated that the entire length of the river is not continuously in violation of the bacteria standard for recreation. However, monitoring data collected since 1988 showed that the bacteria standard was substantially exceeded periodically at all of the sampling stations along the river. Because of the unpredictable nature of the exceedances, the advisory covered the entire length of the Tangipahoa River in Louisiana.

In an attempt to control runoff from dairies, DEQ requested that all farmers in the parish either apply for permits to discharge into waters of the state or install no-discharge treatment systems (lagoons). In res-ponse, many farmers have agreed to install treatment systems. Design specifications for these systems were developed by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service (LCES). These agencies provided technical oversight in the installation of the no-discharge systems. Farmers were eligible for financial assistance for the construction of these systems through the NRCS as well. DEQ continues to coordinate with the LDAF and the LCES on this issue as part of its Nonpoint Source Management Program. Approximately one-half of the dairy farmers now have lagoon systems in operation, and approximately 42 dairies are planning to install lagoons in the near future. Communities with no sewerage systems or poor sewerage systems were also identified as contributors to nonpoint source pollution. These communities have worked with the Tangipahoa Parish Sanitarian to reduce the level of untreated or poorly treated sewage entering the river. In recent years more than 7,882 new home sewage systems have been installed in the parish, reducing the amount of poorly treated sewage (Boydstun, 1995).

DEQ also has contracted with LCES to implement an educational program focusing on maintenance of existing septic systems and installation of traditional individual sewage systems. EPA also awarded funding to Tangipahoa Parish for the construction of a sewage treatment plant. This plant should alleviate problems faced by the parish resulting from a shortage of available locations for septic tank pumpers to properly dispose of septic tank sludge. The sewage treatment plant was completed in 1995 and should begin full operation in spring 1996.

Recent data from the Tangipahoa River indicates that the river is improving, with average and median levels of fecal coliform showing measurable declines. However, fecal coliform counts continue to exceed water quality standards for primary contact, and at some points exceed secondary contact recreation standards as well. Based on this, the 1988 advisory issued by LDHH and DEQ warning residents of a potential health hazard from primary and secondary contact recreation in the Tangipahoa River remains in effect. DEQ will continue to closely monitor bacteria levels in the Tangipahoa River until water quality standards for primary contact recreation are met.