Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ohio EPA Revises Water Quality Trading Program For NPDES Permits

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) has proposed changes to the rules that govern trading programs for wastewater discharge permits issued by the State. Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) 3745-5 provides the administrative requirements for the development and implementation of water quality trading programs in Ohio. Water quality trading is a voluntary program that allows a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit holder (point source) to meet its regulatory obligations by using pollutant reductions generated by another wastewater point source or non-point source.

Ohio EPA is required to review its rules every five years to determine if the rules need revisited. State law and the federal Clean Water Act require Ohio EPA to periodically update rules to reflect the latest scientific information.

A majority of the revisions consist of minor updates to references and grammatical edits. In addition, the following specific changes are being considered:

Rule 03 – Revising rule to state that use of a water quality credit shall not cause or contribute to a violation of water quality standards. Adding provision that nonpoint source load reductions funded through Ohio EPA’s Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program are not eligible to generate water quality credits
Rule 04 – Adding date by which two existing trading programs must submit water quality trading management plans
Rule 06 – Changing the size of the hydrologic unit codes that must be used when identifying areas where nonpoint source projects might be located
Rule 11 – Identifying additional compliance-related provisions that will be included in NPDES permits when the permittee is participating in a water quality trading program.
Rule 14 –
Revising language to include biological and stream habitat parameters in ambient water quality monitoring plans

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