Saturday, February 5, 2011

DEQ Rulemaking On Human Health Based Water Quality Criteria

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is proposing rulemaking, to revise the water quality standards regulation to address the human health criteria for toxic pollutants. DEQ also has proposed to adopt new and revised water quality standards rules on implementing water quality standards through various water quality control programs, including National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits and nonpoint source pollution programs.

DEQ’s currently effective human health toxics criteria are based on a fish consumption rate that US EPA does not believe provides adequate protection for the amount of fish and shellfish consumed by Oregon residents. On June 1, 2010, EPA disapproved human health toxics criteria which Oregon submitted for approval in 2004 and which were based on a fish consumption rate of 17.5 grams per day. EPA disapproved the human health toxics criteria because the fish consumption rate is not considered protective of many Oregonians. DEQ is addressing EPA’s disapproval by proposing to use a higher fish consumption rate of 175 g/day to calculate more protective human health toxics criteria. If DEQ does not establish revised criteria, EPA must conduct rulemaking to develop human health toxics criteria for Oregon.

The proposed rulemaking also proposes new rule language and revisions to existing rule language for various NPDES permit implementation tools developed to assist dischargers in complying with revised standards. Revisions to the water quality standards and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) rules are also intended to make DEQ’s rules consistent with state statutes affecting nonpoint sources of pollution and for DEQ to assign pollution load allocations to significant land and air sources in TMDLs.

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