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Korean Ministry of Environment Officials Visit DRBC

DRBC periodically receives requests to host delegations from other countries to discuss the commission and its programs. Most recently, three members of the Korean Ministry of Environment met with DRBC staff on Friday, October 18, 2013. The meeting, which lasted over six hours, was led by DRBC's Dr. Namsoo Suk, Supervisor, Modeling Section, Modeling, Monitoring, and Assessment (MMA) Branch and was also attended by MMA Branch Manager Dr. Thomas Fikslin. In order to effectively communicate with the delegation, Dr. Suk ran the meeting mostly in Korean, translating into English when necessary.

The Korean Ministry of Environment recently adopted Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) programs similar to those in the United States. Generally speaking, a TMDL is a pollutant budget - the maximum amount of a specific pollutant that can be assimilated by a stream without causing impairment or violating water quality standards. The allowable amount takes into account all sources of that pollutant in a watershed - point and non-point - and requires a portion to be set aside as a margin of safety. DRBC, at the request of the three estuary states and the U.S. EPA, took the lead in developing the technical basis for PCB TMDLs for the Delaware Estuary.

The delegation's interest in visiting DRBC was to learn more about the commission and its TMDL development efforts. Topics discussed included the following:

  • DRBC 101: Agency Organization, Funding Sources, and Water Resources Management;
  • U.S. Clean Water Act and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit Program; and
  • DRBC Programs:
    • TMDL Development Specifics - technical aspects of monitoring, modeling, estimating pollutant loads, implementation mechanisms, etc.
    • Public Participation - how input from commission advisory committees and others inform decision making processes
    • SPW - DRBC's anti-degradation program for the non-tidal Delaware River