Newport Bay Copper

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Copper Metals in Newport Bay 

The Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board (SARWQCB) is considering a regulatory order – known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) – that would require a 60-percent reduction of copper from boat hulls located in Newport Bay within 12 years. The major source of copper in Newport Bay is believed to be from copper-based anti-fouling paints (AFP). Responsible parties required to reduce copper AFP include marina owner and operators, individual recreational boat owners, boat yards, as well as the City of Newport Beach and the County of Orange. The SARWQCB has proposed an implementation plan, called the Copper Anti-Fouling Paint (AFP) Reduction Program, to reduce copper in the water column. The Regional Board issued a Supplemental Staff Report and Substitute Environmental Document (SED) for the Copper TMDL and Non-TMDL Metal Action Plans for Zinc, Mercury, Arsenic and Chromium that is available for public comment. These new documents were developed to address stakeholder concerns and questions on the previous 2016 draft.

The link for the FTP site:
The credentials are: 
Username: rb8download 
Password: Region8_public

The City has provided the following Copper TMDL documents:




The City's previous comments and materials submitted in response to the 2016 draft Newport Bay Copper TMDL:

Public Participation 

The Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board will hold a  public workshop to obtain public comments regarding the proposed amendments to the Water Quality Control Plan for the Santa Ana River Basin to incorporate a TMDL for Copper in Newport Bay. No action will be taken at the workshops to consider adoption of the proposed amendments. The Regional Board will hold a public hearing scheduled for October 15, 2021 to adopt this TMDL.

Workshops will be held:

In addition to attending the hearing, the City encourages boaters, residents and interested parties to submit comments to the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board. All comments must be submitted to Linda Candelaria, PhD at

Revised Federal Standard Proposed For Copper in Marine Waters Information

Concurrent with the Draft Newport Bay Copper TMDL, the Environmental Protection Agency is updating its national recommended ambient water quality criteria for copper in estuarine/marine environments. EPA's water quality criteria provides recommendations to states and tribes authorized to establish water quality standards under the Clean Water Act. The updated water quality criteria uses the Biotic Ligand Model which allows the criteria to vary with changes in water quality parameters (i.e., temperature, salinity, dissolved organic carbon and pH). The City is providing the following information on the Revised Federal Standard Proposed for Copper in Marine Waters Information:

The City encourages boaters, residents and interested parties to submit comments, and the City is providing the following text supporting the City’s position:

The 2016 revised Draft Criteria are associated with a large degree of uncertainty and potential error because they were derived based on a single abalone toxicity test and assumed (but not measured) water chemistry values including those for dissolved organic carbon. For many California Bays and Harbors, the proposed acute criterion will be less than what the State of California considers to be background seawater concentrations for copper (California Ocean Plan) because of the low dissolved organic carbon present in these areas. In particular, we believe the Draft Criteria will be most difficult for enclosed bays and harbors, where circulation with ocean water is limited, and in arid regions where naturally low DOC occurs, like Southern California. Prior to the adoption of the Draft Criteria, it is recommended that uncertainties in the criteria derivation be addressed to make the criteria more scientifically defendable but without unfounded conservativeness. Our recommendations are as follows:

Additional abalone toxicity test data (and associated water quality data) should be collected to provide a more robust and defensible data set from which the criteria can be derived. This is a reasonable request as the red abalone is a species approved by EPA for use in marine/estuarine toxicity tests and is commonly used for such purposes. Alternatively, the criteria should be revised such that they are derived using validated data from numerous toxicity tests with other sensitive and relevant marine species (i.e., Blue mussels).

 If the Biotic Ligand Model is used in the derivation, the Draft Criteria should only be derived using measured and not assumed water chemistry data (i.e., dissolved organic carbon) and the normalization to standard water chemistry conditions (using the Biotic Ligand Model) should be based on toxicity tests with U.S. species paired with synoptically collected water chemistry data.

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