BACKGROUND & STUDY OBJECTIVES
The Medford Regional Water Reclamation Facility is the waste-water treatment plant forthe Rogue River Valley covering Medford, Central Point, Jacksonville, Phoenix, Talent,Eagle Point, and some unincorporated areas in Jackson County. Treated effluent isdischarged from an outfall pipe located close to the south side of the Rogue Riverchannel at river mile 130.5. Detailed effluent quality limits are defined in Medford’scurrent NPDES discharge permit signed by DEQ on December 13, 2011 (copy of permitonline at: http://www.deq.state.or.us/wq/trading/docs/MedfordNpdesPermit.pdf)Besides setting chemical limits on the effluent, NPDES permits also define a mixingzone for the discharge. A mixing zone allows an area of effluent mixing within thereceiving stream where water quality may exceed some State and Federal standards toallow time for initial mixing and dilution. Once outside the mixing zone, however, thereceiving stream must meet all applicable water-quality standards. The basicrequirements of mixing zones are defined in Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR)340-041-0053 part of which is copied below:
(b) A point source for which the mixing zone is established may not cause or significantlycontribute to any of the following conditions outside the boundary of the mixing zone:(A) Materials in concentrations that will cause chronic (sublethal) toxicity. Chronic toxicity ismeasured as the concentration that causes long-term sublethal effects, such as significantlyimpaired growth or reproduction in aquatic organisms, during a testing period based on testspecies life cycle. Procedures and end points will be specified by the Department in wastewater discharge permits;(B) Exceedances of any other water quality standards under normal annual low flow conditions.
For the complete text of OAR 340-041-0053 see Appendix A.)
Medford Outfall Study
The allowable mixing zone is that portion of the Rogue River contained within a band extendingout 100 feet from the south bank of the river and extending from a point 10 feet upstream of theoutfall to a point 300 feet downstream from the outfall. The Zone of Immediate Dilution (ZID) isdefined as that portion of the allowable mixing zone that is with 2 feet upstream to 30 feetdownstream of the point of discharge.