Environmental Review Toolkit
Water, Wetlands, and Wildlife

Water Quality

In addition to the stormwater runoff that carries sediment and pollutants into water source, highway construction and maintenance activities have potential to affect nearby bodies of water. FHWA provides the following guidance for efforts to minimize the effects of transportation projects on water quality.

Water Quality Action Plans, May 28, 1996 - This guidance is recommended as a general outline of provisions that may be considered when developing a water quality action plan between Federal Highway Administration and other cooperating agencies such as EPA, State environmental agencies and other resource agencies. FHWA has identified the area of water quality as one of the elements under Objective #1, Environment Goal of our National Strategic Work Plan. Our objective is to develop initiatives in cooperation with resource agencies that protect and enhance our natural environment. This guidance outlines six areas in which to develop plans:

  • initiate procedures to identify broadly based water quality issues
  • promote and support coordination of monitoring measures
  • information exchange and technical assistance
  • responsibilities
  • compliance, and enforcement
  • implementation of plans

The water quality action plan's framework will integrate water quality issues and other environmental considerations into the planning, design, operation, and maintenance of transportation programs and projects on a watershed management scale.

Emerging Issues in Transportation and Water Quality (Video), May 23, 1995 - This teleconference was targeted for State transportation environmental officials and other transportation and environmental agency employees who are interested in seeing examples of cooperative efforts in the transportation/water quality issues. The conference began with overviews of water quality issues from representatives of the Federal Highway Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These overviews were followed by two case studies. Representatives from Pennsylvania's transportation and environmental agencies addressed ways in which they worked together to come up with successful strategies for performing bridge maintenance while protecting water quality. Representatives from Oregon's transportation and environmental agencies discussed their attempts to work together to modify the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permits process to apply on a watershed basis rather than a population basis. The broadcast was held May 23, 1995 from The Center for Transportation and the Environment at North Carolina State University.
Author: Federal Highway Administration
Publication Year: 1996

National Evaluation of Water Quality Issues for Highway Planning - Results of past research on highway stormwater runoff are gathered and synthesized into a single-volume user's manual on water quality impact assessment and mitigation. This paper describes the process by which the synthesis was produced and highlights some preliminary results.
Author: Fred G. Bank, et al
Supporting Organization: FHWA, TRB
Publication Year: 1995

Water Quality Research Needs in Transportation - Paper highlights a multi-year program of research envisioned by the FHWA to continue the study of water quality associated with highway stormwater runoff. Paper lists proposed studies to examine runoff constituents, monitoring equipment, best management practices, effects on receiving waters, and area-wide impact assessment.
Author: Fred G. Bank
Publication Year: 1993

Questions and feedback should be directed to Deirdre Remley (deirdre.remley@dot.gov, 202-366-0524).

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