Water Quality Analyses (WQA) with EPA Concurrence of MDE's Findings: Wills Creek

Wills Creek is located in Allegany County and flows south from its headwaters in Pennsylvania to discharge into the Upper Potomac River at Cumberland, MD.    

Wills Creek (basin code 02141003), located in Allegany and Garrett Counties, Maryland, was identified on the State’s list of Water Quality Limited Segments (WQLSs) as impaired by cyanide (CN) (1996 listing), sediments (1996 listing), nutrients (1996 listing), low pH (1998 listing), fecal coliform (2002 listing) and impacts to biological communities (2002 listing). The information used for listing CN is suspect due in part to sampling and analysis methods available at the time, and assessment inconsistencies that led to the listing in 1996.

The report available below provides an analysis of recent monitoring data, which shows that the aquatic life criteria and designated uses associated with CN are being met in the Wills Creek watershed, and that the 303(d) impairment listings associated with CN are not supported by the analyses contained herein.  The analyses support the conclusion that a TMDL for CN is not necessary to achieve water quality standards.  Barring the receipt of contradictory data, this report will be used to support a CN listing change for the Wills Creek from Category 5 (“waterbodies impaired by one or more pollutants requiring a TMDL”) to Category 2 (“Surface waters that are meeting some standards and have insufficient information to determine attainment of other standards”), when the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) proposes the revision of Maryland’s 303(d) list for public review in the future.  The listings for sediments, nutrients, fecal coliform and impacts to biological communities will be addressed separately at a future date.  A Water Quality Analysis (WQA) for low pH was completed in 2005 and approved by the EPA on December 16, 2005. 

WQA of Cyanide in Wills Creek, Allegany County, MD
(Concurrence August 16, 2006)

EPA's Decision Letter EPA's Decision Letter

Main Report 

WQA_Wills_CN.pdf (548KB)

Comment Response Document

CRD_Wills_CN.pdf (66KB)

Contact Information

Please direct questions or comments concerning this project to Maryland's TMDL Program at (410) 537-3818.