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STATEWIDE MERCURY RESOURCES

Statewide Mercury Program

Statewide Mercury Control Program for Reservoirs

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  • Mercury - Statewide Control Program for Reservoirs
    (* located alphabetically under the WATER QUALITY TOPICS)

Addressing Mercury in California's Waters

logoMercury is negatively impacting the beneficial uses of many waters of the state by making fish unsafe for human and wildlife consumption. Although mercury occurs naturally in the environment, concentrations of mercury exceed background levels because of human activities. Gold and mercury mines and atmospheric deposition are the predominant sources of mercury, with minor contributions from industrial and municipal wastewater discharges and urban run-off.

State and Regional Water Board staff are developing a statewide water quality control program for mercury in reservoirs.

The Statewide Mercury Control Program for Reservoirs will address 132 reservoirs identified as mercury-impaired as of July 2017.

For more information about the reservoir program, please email MercuryProject@waterboards.ca.gov, Carrie Austin (510) 622-1015, or Lauren Smitherman (916) 464-4668.

Peer Review Documents

The draft staff report and draft Mercury Reservoir Provisions (regulatory language) submitted to external scientific peer reviewers are provided here as a courtesy to stakeholders. Please note that no written public comments will be accepted on these documents at this time. A formal notice will be provided to the public, likely in mid-2018 at the earliest, identifying the public review period along with release of documents for review and comments, including proposed Mercury Reservoir Provisions, Staff Report, and other relevant supporting documents.

  • Draft regulatory language, "Mercury Reservoir Provisions," full title:
    Amendment to the Water Quality Control Plan for Inland Surface Waters, Enclosed Bays, and Estuaries of California-Mercury TMDL and Implementation Program for Reservoirs
  • Staff Report, full title:
    Draft Staff Report for Scientific Peer Review for the Amendment to the Water Quality Control Plan for Inland Surface Waters, Enclosed Bays, and Estuaries of California, Mercury Reservoir Provisions - Mercury TMDL and Implementation Program for Reservoirs
    • Text, "Staff Report for Scientific Peer Review"
    • Figures, "Staff Report Figures"
    • Tables, folder of MS Excel tables, "Staff Report Tables"
    • Appendices, folder of PDF files and MS Excel tables, "Staff Report Appendices"

Timeline

This timeline shows the development of the Statewide Mercury Program. The presentation materials from the listed events, including the CEQA scoping documents and comment letters, are available for your review.

2016 Timeline link to Update on Statewide Mercury Program to Board members in April 2013 link to Update on Statewide Mercury Program to Board members in April 2013 link to Focus Group Meetings in 2014 Link to Tribes Fish Use Presentation Link to Tribes Fish Use Presentation Link to Tribes Fish Use Presentation link to Reservoir Program CEQA Scoping in March 2012 Scientific_Peer_Review Scientific_Peer_Review

Supporting Documentation

Reservoir Program CEQA Scoping (March 2012)

Update on Statewide Mercury Programs to Board Members (April 2013)

During the April 23, 2013 State Water Board Meeting, Water Board staff presented an update on recently adopted TMDLs and on the developing Statewide Mercury Program.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Presentation (September 2013)

On September 26, 2013, Water Board staff gave a presentation at the EPA Region 9 State-of-the-Science Workshop on mercury remediation in aquatic environments as it relates to historic mines and other factors.

Focus Group Meetings (February - October 2014)

Water Board staff held several small meetings with Tribes and stakeholder groups to inform them on the purpose and the initial scope of the proposed mercury amendment, and to gather feedback to aid in the development of the draft regulatory proposal.

North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) Presentations (November 2013)

On November 1, 2013, Water Board staff presented at the 33rd International Symposium on important factors influencing predatory fish mercury concentrations in California reservoirs.

California Lake Management Society (CALMS) Presentation (October 2014)

On October 9, 2014, Water Board staff presented at the 29th annual CALMS meeting on the Statewide Mercury Control Program for Reservoirs and proposed in-reservoir mercury management options.

Lake Management Presentation (January 2015)

On January 14, 2015, Professor Alex Horne at University of California, Berkeley presented information on in-reservoir mercury management options.

Stakeholder Meetings (June 2016)

On June 3, 2016 and June 9, 2016, Water Board staff held meetings in Riverside, CA and Sacramento, CA to discuss possible approaches to reduce fish methylmercury levels in reservoirs.

California Lake Management Society (CALMS) Presentation (October 2016)

On October 13, 2016, Water Board staff presented at the 31st annual CALMS meeting on the Statewide Mercury Control Program for Reservoirs and proposed in-reservoir mercury management options.

Other Mercury Programs in California

Statewide Mercury Water Quality Objectives

The State Water Board is developing water quality objectives to protect humans and wildlife that consume locally caught fish. For more information, see Mercury Water Quality Objectives

Total Maximum Daily Loads for Mercury in California Waters

The Water Boards adopt and implement comprehensive pollution control plans, known as "total maximum daily loads," or TMDLs. A TMDL identifies the amount of a pollutant that a water body can hold and still be safe for uses by humans and wildlife.

Completed Mercury TMDLs (including date approved by U.S. EPA)

Mercury TMDLs in Development

Fish Consumption Advisories and Other State Efforts to Address Health Effects of Mercury

The California Department of Public Health and the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment are educating people who eat local fish, about the types and amounts of fish that are safe and unsafe to eat.

Women of childbearing years and children are most at risk from mercury poisoning. For more information, see Safety Tips for Women and Children and General Health Advice for People Catching and Eating Sport Fish in California.

Other Mercury Related Programs

An international team of scientists led by the U.S. Geological Survey recently documented widespread mercury contamination in air, soil, sediment, plants, fish, and wildlife at various levels across western North America. They evaluated potential risk from mercury to human, fish, and wildlife health, and examined resource management activities that influence this risk. Results of this synthesis are published in a special issue of Science of the Total Environment

 

 

(Updated 8/29/17)