Integrated Lists of Waters & Related Reports

The federal Clean Water Act (CWA) requires states to submit reports on the status of their waterbodies every two years. These reports are called "Integrated Lists of Waters" ("Integrated Reports", or IR). Section 303(d) of the CWA requires states to identify those waterbodies that are not expected to meet surface water quality standards after the implementation of technology-based controls and to prioritize and schedule them for the development of a total maximum daily load (TMDL). A TMDL establishes the maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still attain water quality standards. The development of the 303(d) List (category 5 of the IR) includes a public review and comment process. EPA reviews and approves the 303(d) list.

Table of Contents

Final 2022 Integrated List of Waters

MassDEP published the Draft 2022 IR on November 16, 2022. Notice of its availability for public review and comment was provided on the MassDEP website and by electronic mail to approximately 150 watershed associations and other interested parties. The initial public comment period end date, December 23rd, 2022, was extended to January 6th, 2023. MassDEP received 14 public comment transmittals by the end of the extended public review period (or soon thereafter; one comment letter was received on January 13th). In addition, EPA submitted a formal comment letter on April 14th.  All formal comment letters and MassDEP’s responses to these comments were included in the Responses to Comments document (below).

MassDEP submitted the proposed final 2022 IR to EPA from May 23-30, 2023. In addition to the main narrative report and related appendices (1-5), documentation of the assessment and listing decisions made for the 2022 IR was provided in individual decision summary documents for each watershed and/or coastal drainage area assessed (Appendices 6-26). Each appendix summarized the most recent assessments for each existing assessment unit in the watershed and included a table with all impairments added, removed, or changed between the 2018/2020 and 2022 reporting cycles. Data and information supporting all decisions to remove impairments were included in the decision summaries. Also, Appendix 27 provided a summary of changes from the draft to final IR.

For the 2022 IR, quality-controlled data submitted to MassDEP prior to the pre-established deadline of January 15th, 2021, were considered, relative to the watersheds that were assessed. Data submitted after the deadline were not considered for the 2022 IR but will be reviewed and considered in a subsequent cycle, dependent on the planning for future IR cycles.

On June 30, 2023, MassDEP received a partial approval letter from EPA for the 2022 IR. The letter specified 303(d) list decisions that EPA approved, in addition to decisions related to secondary contact recreation that EPA deferred approving (i.e., “deferred action” on). As stated in EPA’s review document (below), EPA approved the vast majority of the 303(d) list but deferred action on decisions for secondary contact recreation that met the following two conditions: 1) the waters were not included as impaired or threatened on the 303(d) list submitted by MassDEP, and 2) data and information pertaining to bacteria impairment status for the waters were available. EPA deferred action on these waters while EPA and MassDEP develop a consensus approach for assessing bacteria data and information for the Secondary Contact Recreation Use. MassDEP is working with EPA on the methodology for utilizing bacteria data for Secondary Contact Use assessment to be implemented in the 2024 IR cycle.

EPA’s deferred action on proposed impairment removals affects nine (9) assessment units in the 2022 IR, as well as any assessment units with available bacteria data for the 2022 cycle that were not listed in category 5. The assessment units affected by EPA’s deferred action on proposed cause removals are provided in the table below. For all deferred actions, respective impairments remain on the 303(d) list.

Watershed Waterbody Assessment Unit ID Impairment MassDEP Proposed Delisting
Boston Harbor: Mystic Chelsea River MA71-06 Fecal Coliform Impairment removed from Primary and Secondary Contact Recreational Uses; impairment remains for Shellfish Harvesting Use
Boston Harbor: Mystic Mystic River MA71-02 Escherichia Coli (E. Coli) Impairment removed from Secondary Contact Recreational Use; impairment remains for Primary Contact Recreational Use
Boston Harbor: Mystic Unnamed Tributary MA71-13 Escherichia Coli (E. Coli) Impairment removed from Secondary Contact Recreational Use; impairment remains for Primary Contact Recreational Use
Buzzards Bay Acushnet River MA95-32 Enterococcus Impairment removed from Secondary Contact Recreational Use; impairment remains for Primary Contact Recreational Use
Concord (SuAsCo) Assabet River MA82B-05 Escherichia Coli (E. Coli) Impairment removed from Secondary Contact Recreational Use; impairment remains for Primary Contact Recreational Use
Concord (SuAsCo) River Meadow Brook MA82A-10 Escherichia Coli (E. Coli) Impairment removed from Secondary Contact Recreational Use; impairment remains for Primary Contact Recreational Use
Concord (SuAsCo) River Meadow Brook MA82A-10 Fecal Coliform Impairment removed from Secondary Contact Recreational Use; impairment remains for Primary Contact Recreational Use
Ipswich Lubbers Brook MA92-05 Escherichia Coli (E. Coli) Impairment removed from Secondary Contact Recreational Use; impairment remains for Primary Contact Recreational Use
Mount Hope Bay (Shore) Kickamuit River MA61-08 Escherichia Coli (E. Coli) Impairment removed from Secondary Contact Recreational Use; impairment remains for Primary Contact Recreational Use
Mount Hope Bay (Shore) Kickamuit River MA61-08 Fecal Coliform Impairment removed from Secondary Contact Recreational Use; impairment remains for Primary Contact Recreational Use
Ten Mile Speedway Brook MA52-05 Escherichia Coli (E. Coli) Impairment removed from Secondary Contact Recreational Use; impairment remains for Primary Contact Recreational Use

 

Final 2018/2020 Integrated List of Waters

Final 2016 Integrated List of Waters

Prior Integrated Lists of Waters

Water Quality Data Viewer

For a geospatial view of current and historic water quality assessment and listing decisions, open WPP’s Water Quality Data Viewer (under the Integrated List of Waters view).  This information can also be viewed using the MassMapper application (select “Regulated Areas” to access the individual data layers for the DEP Integrated List of Waters: rivers, lakes/estuaries, and watersheds) and can be downloaded at MassGIS (URL pending).

Water Quality Data Viewer Integrated List of Waters

US EPA Information

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