In 1998 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated that the country’s states impose limitations on nutrients entering its surface water resources. The primary nutrients targeted are nitrogen and phosphorus for their ability to severely impact the quality of the nation’s surface waters. In extreme quantities, these nutrients can cause eutrophication which is the rapid growth of algae, commonly referred to as algae blooms, and hypoxia or areas of rapid phytoplankton growth. Inland blooms are very unsightly, can kill aquatic life by reducing the dissolved oxygen concentrations and impart taste and odor problems for drinking water plants. In recent years hypoxia has received media attention as the limits of the “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico have been mapped. In accordance with the EPA’s mandate, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) began the laborious process of quantifying the problem through stream testing, identification of sources, a review of technological capabilities for nutrient removal and establishing a priority for nutrient reductions. The TCEQ’s State Implementation Plan calls for the reduction of nutrients and as such the TCEQ has begun writing discharge permits with technology based limits. To read the entire article, please click here.