The final list of state impaired and polluted water bodies that Arkansas has submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reflects a continuation of the disagreement between the state Department of Environmental Quality and the EPA in regard to water quality assessment methods. On April 1, the department submitted its 2016 list, which the EPA has until April 30 to act upon. The list is the 303(d) Impaired Waterbodies list required under the Clean Water Act. The EPA has not approved an Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality list since 2008, citing its disagreement with how the state assesses water quality.
However, even if the EPA does not approve the 2016 list, any stream placed on that list by the state would receive additional water monitoring as required when the state issues wastewater discharge permits to new facilities or renews existing permits. If the EPA approves the 2016 list, studies could be required on any listed stream to determine appropriate limits for cities, businesses or others seeking permits to discharge wastewater into that particular body of water. "With regard to EPA approval of the list, all we can say at this point is that we have submitted the list to Region 6 for review and are ready to answer any questions or concerns the EPA may have," department spokesman Doug Szenher wrote in an email to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. "We have not yet received any indication of how long the approval process may take."