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Areawide Water Quality Management Plan

One major feature of the Clean Water Act (P.L. 92-500) is the requirement that areawide plans be prepared for controlling water pollution, from all sources, in urban-industrial areas like northeastern Illinois. While authority for implementing the Clean Water Act rests with the US EPA, responsibility for preparing areawide plans has been assigned to states.

In many cases, as in Illinois, governors have delegated this responsibility to regional agencies. The Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission became the delegated authority for developing this plan in 1975 and that responsibility has since been passed on to CMAP.

While the areawide plan was developed in the late 1970's, the plan's four goals and twenty-nine objectives remain as relevant today as they did then. Volumes 1 and 2 of the plan are available on-line.

CMAP follows a watershed-based approach to planning for water quality protection and/or remediation; an approach recommended by both US EPA and Illinois EPA for water-resource protection. In 2007, CMAP published Guidance for Developing Watershed Action Plans in Illinois with US EPA funding under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act distributed through the Illinois EPA, Bureau of Water.

Over the years, CMAP has developed watershed plans with local stakeholders, assisted others with watershed plan development or provided administrative oversight on behalf of Illinois EPA for plans developed by others. Plans that are funded by Section 319 of the Clean Water Act must address certain criteria that are described in detail in the Guidance document mentioned above and elsewhere. More recently, CMAP is exploring regional planning criteria such as groundwater protection among others. A list of CMAP developed plans is found to the right of this page.

Another aspect of CMAP's delegated authority as the areawide or regional water quality planning agency involves conducting a formal review process of Facility Planning Area (FPA) amendment requests. Facility Planning Areas are defined as the geographic areas for which wastewater agencies plan for their infrastructure investments over a twenty-year period. The FPA-review process follows from the Continuing Planning Process under Section 303(e) of the Clean Water Act, Areawide Waste Treatment Management under Section 208, and other related sections of the Clean Water Act. The review process concerns potential amendments to the Illinois Water Quality Management Plan, of which the Areawide Plan is a component, and ends with a recommendation made to Illinois EPA.

Additionally, CMAP serves as the Volunteer Lake Management Program coordinator for the counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, McHenry, and Will; the Lake County Health Department coordinates the program in Lake County. This program brings together citizens, state agency staff, and regional and local governmental staff to monitor and investigate the quality of Illinois's lakes. Staff provides volunteer training, technical assistance, educational materials, data management, and assistance in newsletter and annual report preparation.


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