Saturday, February 28, 2009

Iowa - IDNR Draft Antidegradation Policy

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is proposing changes to its “Antidegradation Policy”. The changes can impact any wastewater discharger in Iowa, but especially new permittees or existing permittees that may wish to increase their discharge in the future. The changes being proposed include:

  • Incorporate by reference the document entitled “Iowa Antidegradation Implementation
    Procedure,” which proposes an approach to assessing and minimizing degradation of Iowa’s surface waters,
  • Update antidegradation policy language with four tier approach,
  • Remove High Quality (Class HQ) and High Quality Resource (Class HQR) designated uses and add several waters to the newly proposed Outstanding Iowa Water (OIW) category.

The purpose of the antidegradation policy is to set minimum requirements to conserve, maintain, and protect existing uses and water quality for water bodies that currently meet their water quality standards. The department is required by Clean Water Act to develop and adopt a statewide antidegradation policy and to identify procedures for implementing the policy. Comments on the draft policy are being accepted through January 29, 2009.


Caltha LLP provides expert consulting services to public and private sector clients nationwide to address water quality standards, wastewater permitting and assessing potential impacts of chemicals in the aquatic environment.

Caltha LLP Aquatic Toxicology / WQ Standards Services Website

Water Quality Standards - South Dakota SDDENR Proposed Revisions

The South Dakota Department of Environment & Natural Resources (DENR) has proposed revisions to the State water quality standards.

Link to proposed SDDENR water standards

Many of the revisions being proposed relate to the application of dissolved oxygen (DO) standards to lakes and rivers in the State.


Caltha LLP provides expert consulting services to public and private sector clients nationwide to address water quality standards, wastewater permitting and assessing potential impacts of chemicals in the aquatic environment.

Caltha LLP Aquatic Toxicology / WQ Standards Services Website

Mercury Emission Reduction Strategy Report - Draft Available For Comment

In 2008, the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration (GLRC) Executive Committee directed that a Great Lakes Mercury Emission Reduction Strategy be developed with a goal of producing institutionalized activities to sustain mercury emission reductions from unregulated sources, and regulated sources with potential for additional reduction. The strategy would produce recommendations or options for actions to be taken by States. A workgroup was formed in April 2008 to develop the Strategy.

In November 2008, the work group released several draft documents which will be part of the overall Draft Mercury Emission Reduction Strategy Report. A key document out for review is the draft listing of priority source sectors to be addressed. The priority source sectors are:

  • Utility boilers
  • Metals production
  • Waste incineration
  • Cement production
  • Non-utility fuel combustion
  • Mercury cell chlor-alkali plants
  • Mercury emission related to product use and disposal

Caltha LLP provides expert consulting services to public and private sector clients nationwide to address water quality standards, wastewater permitting and assessing potential impacts of chemicals in the aquatic environment.

Caltha LLP Aquatic Toxicology / WQ Standards Services Website

Industrial Pretreatment Rules - New MPCA Regulations

The new Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Wastewater Pretreatment Rules (Minnesota Rules 7049) recently became effective. Prior to promulgation of these Rules, Minnesota industries that discharged to their local Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) and where subject to Federal pretreatment requirements did not have easy options to demonstrate compliance, especially if they were located outside of a major metropolitan area.

Changes in the new pretreatment requirements will primarily affect:

  1. Industrial dischargers that are subject to Federal Categorical Effluent Standards;

  2. Industrial dischargers that have higher flow or loads to their POW compared to other dischargers; and

  3. POTWs that have not been delegated authority to operate their own industrial pretreatment program

One of the key elements of the new MPCA Rule is the definition of “Significant Industrial Users”. These industrial dischargers will have increased reporting and monitoring requirements. POTWs must identify all their Significant Industrial Users and report on them annually to MPCA.

For more information on this new Rule, go to Regulatory Briefing - New Minnesota Pretreatment Rule. Caltha publishes Regulatory Briefings to highlight new or proposed Federal and State regulations; Click here to register to receive these Briefings by email.


Caltha LLP provides expert consulting services to public and private sector clients nationwide to address water quality standards, wastewater permitting and assessing potential impacts of chemicals in the aquatic environment.

Caltha LLP Aquatic Toxicology / WQ Standards Services Website

Mercury Controls For Air Emissions - Petition Under 319(g)

The New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission has petitioned that EPA regarding Section 319(g) of the Clean Water Act, which requires controls on air emissions of mercury. EPA is being asked to bring together a management conference with eleven States that contribute much of the mercury emissions that end up in water bodies in the Northeast.

The EPA approved a Northeastern regional mercury TMDL last year that the States believe can only can be achieved through stricter federal air emission controls on mercury. Under Section 319(g) of the Clean Water Act, States can petition the EPA to bring together "a management conference of all states which contribute significant pollution resulting from nonpoint sources".

The petition prepared by the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission says that Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina and Illinois each contribute significant nonpoint source mercury pollution that prevent them from meeting their goals.



Caltha LLP provides expert consulting services to public and private sector clients nationwide to address water quality standards, wastewater permitting and assessing potential impacts of chemicals in the aquatic environment.

Caltha LLP Aquatic Toxicology / WQ Standards Services Website

MPCA Antidegradation Requirements for Storm Water Discharges

On December 18, 2008, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) released a redraft of the Multisector Industrial General Permit (MSGP) currently being written. Similar to previous drafts, this version is incomplete. [Read about previous draft of MPCA permit]

One of the important elements of this draft is the proposed antidegradation requirements for stormwater [Read further information on Antidegradation Policies].

Two overall categories are presented to determine potential antidegradation policy status:

All waters of State (Statewide). Any facility that requires an NPDES permit for stormwater discharge AND after January 1, 1988 increased the area of industrial activities by more than 91 acres (by expansion or new construction) must implement specific additional stormwater controls listed in the permit. As currently drafted, this requirement appears to apply retroactively, meaning that a facility that expanded by more than 91 acres anytime after January 1, 1988 could be required to retrofit stormwater controls to meet the new requirements.

Sites Near “Special Waters”. This requirement applies to facilities located within 1-mile of listed special waters, including Lake Superior, upper Mississippi River, lake trout lakes and other outstanding resource value waters. This requirement, as currently drafted, applies to all facilities within 1-mile of these waters, regardless of a “new or expanded” discharge. Facilities currently permitted and in compliance with the MPCA general permit would need to meet all permit requirements, including the listed additional stormwater controls. These permittees could be required to retrofit existing stormwater controls to meet the new requirements.


The MPCA MSGP is a work in progress; revisions and additions to the permit continue to be made. Once a draft is completed, the permit will be issued for public comment. Because of the size and complexity of the draft permit (especially compared to the current permit, written in 1997), it is expected that there will be significant public comments.



Caltha LLP provides expert consulting services to public and private sector clients nationwide to address water quality standards, wastewater permitting and assessing potential impacts of chemicals in the aquatic environment.

Caltha LLP Aquatic Toxicology / WQ Standards Services Website

NPDES Permit Benchmark Value vs Permit Limitation

How are "benchmark values" in my NPDES permit different than my permit limits"?

Benchmark values differ from permit limits. In a typical wastewater NPDES permit, limits may be specified for chemical parameters; if any of the limits are exceeded, it becomes a violation of the permit and may be subject to enforcement action.

Benchmark values, in the context of stormwater NPDES permits, are intended to provide a measurement of the effectiveness of the stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP). Exceeding a benchmark does not directly result in a permit violation. However, permits typically require facilities to reevaluate their SWPPP and to take prompt corrective action after a benchmark value is exceeded. Failure to take prompt corrective action if a benchmark value is exceeded can be a permit violation and subject to enforcement action. Multiple exceedances of a benchmark could result in a State requiring that the facility apply for an individual stormwater discharge permit. In this case, legally enforceable stormwater discharge limits may be written into the permit.

[read more about selecting appropriate stormwater monitoring techniques]

Caltha LLP provides expert consulting services to public and private sector clients nationwide to address water quality standards, wastewater permitting and assessing potential impacts of chemicals in the aquatic environment.

Caltha LLP Aquatic Toxicology / WQ Standards Services Website