EPA Office of Water (OW) and Office of Pesticide Programs(OPP) have identified a need to harmonize methods used by the Offices to determine whether pesticides represent a concern for aquatic life. To address these concerns, the Agency has begun a process to explore how to build on the high quality science in both OW and OPP to develop additional tools and approaches to support a consistent and common set of effects characterization methods using best available information.
A number of regional public meetings are being planned between January 11 and 22, 2010 to solicit input on the Agency's initial thinking regarding methods, tools, and approaches that are being developed and evaluated by OPP and OW to assure that pesticide ecological effects are characterized consistently. The areas for consideration under this effort include:
- Development and evaluation of predictive tools for use in development of community level benchmarks;
- Development of aquatic life community level benchmarks with datasets that do not conform to the "1985 Guidelines'' used to derive water quality criteria;
- Derivation of aquatic life screening values for aquatic plants
In selecting and/or developing appropriate methodogies, EPA OW and OPP expects to consider the following criteria:
- Continue to be based upon sound science and utilize the available data,
- Be legally defensible under their respective statutory mandates,
- Be based upon methodologies that are as consistent and practical as possible,
- Be implementable at the Federal and State level.
- Be developed as quickly and efficiently as possible, and
- Reflect stakeholder input and comments.
During these meetings, EPA will also solicit input from Regional stakeholders regarding 1)additional sources of pesticide data and relevant reports, 2)white paper topics, 3) availability of data, tools, approaches, and data sets on aquatic toxicity that may be useful for this effort, 4)types of values that are used by states and/or regions for protecting aquatic life in the absence of ambient water quality criteria, and 5) examples of situations in which differences between OW and OPP assessment approaches were an issue.
Following these meetings, the Agency plans to develop a set of white papers, describing potential new tools and analytical approaches that may be used by the Agency, state pesticide and water quality agencies, and other stakeholders.
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