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Water: Nonpoint Source Success Stories

Puerto Rico


Puerto Rico's Nonpoint Source Management Program -
New Regulations Expected in 1997

Puerto Rico's section 319 program is administered by the Water Quality Planning Bureau of the Office of the Governor. Puerto Rico targets two main categories of nonpoint source pollution: livestock enterprises and erosion. Regulations for both categories have been proposed by the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board. If passed, the new regulations will help the board enforce the use of best management practices.

At present, though no formal regulations are in place, the board requires an Erosion Control Plan at any site involving the mechanical movement of soil components. These plans include a description of the temporary and permanent measures that will be used to minimize erosion and prevent sediments from reaching nearby waterbodies. However, as these plans are not mandatory, enforcement is very difficult. The proposed regulation for erosion control will provide the legal mechanism to enforce these measures. It was submitted to the public hearing process on January 28, 1997.

Livestock enterprises are the other nonpoint source that potentially threatens the quality of Puerto Rico's water resources: the discharge or improper application of animal waste and its high nutrient concentration. The board has been concerned about this issue since the early stages of the nonpoint source management program, but it has only recently developed a proposed regulation.

Currently, the board reviews all animal waste management systems used by livestock enterprises. Such systems are covered in general terms only under Puerto Rico's nonhazardous solid wastes rule. Agreements supporting the proposed regulation have been reached, however, with local and federal agricultural agencies, such as Puerto Rico's Department of Agriculture and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Its passage will make compliance with the plans easier to enforce.

CONTACT: Eric Morales
Water Quality Planning Bureau Office of the Governor
(787) 751-5548

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