Water Quality Analysis of Cadmium for the Lower North Branch of the Potomac River, Allegany County, MD

Water Quality Analyses (WQA) with EPA Concurrence of MDE's Findings:
Lower North Branch of the Potomac River

The North Branch of the Potomac River forms the border between Maryland and West Virginia from its origin at the Fairfax Stone downstream to its confluence with the South Branch of the Potomac.  The Lower North Branch of the Potomac River is defined as the reach between its confluence with the Savage River and the South Branch of the Potomac River.  Wills Creek flows through the town of Cumberland discharging into the Lower North Branch.  The drainage area of the Lower North Branch Potomac River watershed is 73,144 acres. 

Lower North Branch Potomac River (basin code 02141001), located in Allegany County, Maryland, was identified on the State’s list of WQLSs as impaired by cadmium (Cd) (1996 listing), sediments (1996 listing), nutrients (1996 listing), low pH (1996 listing), fecal coliform (2002) and impacts to biological communities (2002 listing).   The information used for listing Cd is suspect due in part to sampling and analysis methods available at the time, and assessment inconsistencies that led to the listing in 1996.

The report available below provides an analysis of recent monitoring data, which shows that the aquatic life criteria and designated uses associated with Cd are being met in the Lower North Branch Potomac River watershed, and that the 303(d) impairment listings associated with Cd are not supported by the analyses contained herein.   The analyses support the conclusion that a TMDL for Cd is not necessary to achieve water quality standards.  Barring the receipt of contradictory data, this report will be used to support a Cd listing change for the Lower North Branch Potomac River from Category 5 (“waterbodies impaired by one or more pollutants requiring a TMDL”) to Category 2 (“Surface waters that are meeting some standards and have insufficient information to determine attainment of other standards”), when the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) proposes the revision of Maryland’s 303(d) list for public review in the future.  The listings for sediments, nutrients, low pH, fecal coliform and impacts to biological communities will be addressed separately at a future date. 


WQA of Cadmium for the Lower North Branch Potomac River in Allegany County, MD

(Concurrence August 16, 2006)

EPA's Decision Letter

EPA's Decision Letter

Main Report 

WQA_lnbpotomac_Cd.pdf (494KB)

Comment Response Document

CRD_lnbpotomac_Cd.pdf (66KB)

 

Contact Information

Please direct questions or comments concerning this project to Maryland's TMDL Program at (410) 537-3572.

 

Acrobat® Reader is required to view and print the PDF files. If you do not have it click on the icon to the right. Get Acrobat Reader (its Free!)