Strodes Creek on the 303(d) List
List of Impaired Waters
That’s right. You may have heard that Strodes Creek is on the 303(d) List of Impaired Waters. You may be asking yourself what is it and why do we care. The 303(d) list is a section of the Clean Water Act that requires states to prepare a prioritized list of streams and lakes in Kentucky that do not fully support their designated uses. Just in case you’re wondering, designated uses include swimming, wading, fishing, aquatic life, and most important of all, our drinking water supply.
CWA Section 303(d)
CWA Section 303(d) requires states to identify waters that do not meet applicable water quality standards after the application of technology-based controls. Water quality standards set limits for the chemical and bacteriological components of all surface water streams as per 401 KAR 5:031. Water quality standards include the designated uses of a water body (as mentioned earlier), the adopted water quality criteria, and an antidegradation policy. The antidegradation policy seeks to protect current water quality conditions and prevents the creation of any new pollution (401 KAR 5:030). As defined in Kentucky regulations, water quality standards are beneficial uses to be made of a water body and the established water quality objectives.
We care because wading or swimming through those creeks could make us sick and finding aquatic life such as fish and macroinvertebrates may be difficult. Some might ask what good is a creek if you can’t wade or fish in it! Residents in Paris, KY have a more important reason to be concerned about the water quality in Strodes Creek. The water that flows from Strodes Creek and its tributaries will eventually become their drinking water. Now, that’s the reason for concern!
Lower Strodes Creek (mile 19.3 to 2.7) is listed as impaired for contact recreation (nonsupport) and aquatic life (partial support). The pollutants of concern are nutrients, organic enrichment / low dissolved oxygen, siltation, and pathogens. For more information on the Clean Water Act’s 303(d) List of Impaired Waters and TMDLs, visit the Energy and Environment Cabinet’s website or call (502) 564-3410 and ask to speak to someone in the TMDL program.