Lake tuscaloosa and the North Tiver: an analysis, and plans to improve, water quality

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University of Alabama Libraries

Lake Tuscaloosa and the North River of Tuscaloosa, Alabama are on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 303 (d) list. The EPA's 303 (d) list is used to identify waterbodies that do not meet federal standards originally set by the Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1972. Lake Tuscaloosa and the North River are listed four times, three times for mercury and once for nutrient siltation (habitat alteration) on Alabama's 2010 303 (d) list. Studies have identified E. coli and sedimentation as issues affecting the water quality of the North River Watershed. The goal of this research was two-fold: 1. Investigate the importance and effectiveness of the 303 (d) list as a tool to improve water quality, and 2. Examine what plans have been developed and are being developed to improve the water quality of Lake Tuscaloosa and the North River to remove them from the 303 (d) list. These goals were achieved by examining the policies surrounding the issue; evaluating the current plans and studies that have identified factors involved with the water quality of Lake Tuscaloosa and the North River; conducting a Z score analysis of sampled data over the past thirteen years; conducting a land use comparison of the North River Watershed from 2000 and 2011; and identifying the stakeholders involved with the 303 (d) process in Alabama. The results of these analyses revealed that, for the chemicals tested, water quality was stable throughout the time span of sampling for all variables except aluminum, chloride, and sodium, all of which increased over time. These increases corresponded with a decline of 1.07% in forested land use and an increase in cropland and pasture land use of 0.73% from 2000 to 2011. It was also discovered that re-testing for mercury had not occurred, which will make it difficult to decide if delisting would be appropriate. Overall, this research demonstrated a need for stronger regulations within the 303 (d) list and identified factors such as the permitting process, as criterion that need to be added to the 303 (d) to improve its effectiveness.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Geography, Water resources management