Monday, April 23, 2018

New Human Health Water Standard For Exposure To Metolachor

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has completed a reevaluation of the existing water risk guidance for the metolachor, a widely used as an herbicide. The review included re-evaluation of the available data for existing health-based guidance values for metolachlor (s-metolachlor). As a result of the re-evaluation, the guidance values for metolachlor (s-metolachlor) were updated. The revised health based water guidance concentration is 300 µg/L for short-term exposure; the previous guidance value was 400 µg/L.

MDH conducts re-evaluations to keep existing health-based guidance values up to date with the most recent MDH risk assessment methodology and the available science. Incorporating new data and updating methodology may result in changes to existing guidance values. A re-evaluation may also result in a recommendation for a more in-depth review. MDH re-evaluates all guidance developed since 2008 on a routine basis.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Do I Need Permit To Apply Pesticide To Dry Waterbody?

FAQ: Do I Need An NPDES Permit To Apply Pesticide That Is Not Approved For Water Application?

Possibly. According to US EPA, some pesticide labels refer to “water” and not “waters of the United States.” It is possible that some pesticide products that are not approved for use in “water” may result in discharges to waters of the United States.

For example, waters of the United States may be dry at the time of pesticide application, and there may be situations where pesticides are applied to temporarily dry waterbodies using pesticides labeled for terrestrial or seasonally-dry use. The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements apply regardless of whether the waters of the United States are wet or dry at the time of the discharge.

Caltha LLP | Your Water Quality Standards 
and Permit Limits Partner

FAQ: What Is "Residual Designation Authority"?

FAQ: What is EPA's Residual Designation Authority?

EPA can use its "residual designation" authority under 40 CFR 122.26(a)(9)(i)(C) and (D) to require NPDES permits for stormwater discharges or other category of discharges on a case-by-case basis when it determines that:
  • the discharges contribute to a violation of water quality standards,,
  • are a significant contributor of pollutant to federally protected surface waters, or
  • controls are needed for the discharge based on wasteload allocations that are part of "total maximum daily loads" (TMDLs) that address the pollutant(s) of concern.

Industrial Waste Discharge To Storm Sewer Identified During SWPPP inspection
Industrial Waste Discharge To Storm Sewer

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

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Do Oil Sheens Need To Be Reported? What Is Sheen Rule?

Under the Clean Water Act, the "sheen rule" provides the framework for determining whether an oil spill should be reported to the federal government. Federal regulation requires the person in charge of a facility or vessel responsible for discharging oil that may be "harmful to the public health or welfare" to report the spill. The regulation establishes the criteria for determining whether an oil spill may be harmful to public health or welfare, thereby triggering the reporting requirements:
  • · Discharges that cause a sheen or discoloration on the surface of a body of water;
  • · Discharges that violate applicable water quality standards; and
  • · Discharges that cause a sludge or emulsion to be deposited beneath the surface of the water or on adjoining shorelines.
These reporting criteria are independent of local or State spill reporting requirements. Therefore, spills might be reportable even if State spill reporting thresholds are not exceeded.

  Hazardous Chemical Spill to Sewer Outside Manufacturing Plant
Hazardous Chemical Spill to Sewer Outside Manufacturing Plant

Because the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, which amended the Clean Water Act, broadly defines the term "oil," the sheen rule applies to both petroleum and non-petroleum oils and fats (e.g., vegetable oil, milk). The regulation also provides several exemptions from the notification requirements.

Need more information of federal, State or local spill reporting requirements? Contact Caltha at

Caltha LLP | Your EH&S Compliance, 
Auditing and EMS/SMS Partner

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Iowa Proposes Rules To Create New General Wastewater Permits

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has proposed two general discharge permits to cover two types of common and generally low risk discharges. DNR plans to issue two new National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permits known as General Permit #8 (GP8) and General Permit #9 (GP9). GP8 allows for discharges of hydrostatic test water (water used to test the integrity of a pipe or tank), underground storage tank ballast water (water used to weight a tank to facilitate underground installation), and water associated with installation, repair, and replacement of potable water lines. GP9 allows for discharges from dewatering associated with construction and small residential geothermal heating and cooling systems. IDNR is proposing to include eligibility criteria and Best Management Practices. These will ensure that discharges will comply with water quality standards. Most permittees will be automatically authorized to discharge. Only a few higher-risk dischargers will need to submit a Notice of Intent. There is no fee for either permit. DNR is seeking public comment on proposed rules that will create two new general permits. DNR will hold three public hearings across the state in March:
  • Wednesday, Mar. 7, 4 p.m. at the Coralville, IA Public Library
  • Thursday, Mar. 8, 4 p.m. at the Harlan, IA Public Library
  • Wednesday, Mar. 14, 4 p.m. at the Urbandale, IA Public Library
Caltha LLP | Your Air Permit, Wastewater Permit, 
Storm Water Permit Partner

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Groundwater Health Limits For Trimethylbenzene

The Health Risk Assessment Unit at the Minnesota Department of Health has started a full review of three trimethylbenzene (TMB) isomers (1,2,3-trimethylbenzene; 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene; and 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene). TMB isomers are produced during petroleum refining and production of a component of gasoline. TMB isomers are also used in the production of solvents and are ingredients in paints, dyes, cleaning agents, and automotive fluids.

 The review will consider if the existing Health Risk Values (HRL) for the three trimethylbenzene compounds in groundwater are adequately protective. This review is particularly significant because trimethylbenzene compounds are commonly detected in soil and groundwater at petroleum release sites, such as leaking underground storage tank (LUST) sites.

 MDH previously developed water guidance for 1,2,4- and 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene. Re-evaluation of these contaminants in 2017 resulted in a recommendation for full review.

Caltha LLP | Your Environmental Site Assessment
and Remediation Partner

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Waters of the United States Definition Addressed By Supreme Court

On January 22, 2018, the Supreme Court unanimously decided a procedural issue determining the court in which challenges to the meaning of the term “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) may be brought. The choice of court is significant because it affects the resources needed to litigate the merits of challenges, sets the statute of limitations for filing lawsuits and helps determine whether actions can be challenged in subsequent civil or criminal proceedings.

Immediate Impact of Waters of US Decision

The decision requires that any challenge to the current meaning of WOTUS must be brought in the federal district court rather than in the federal court of appeals and allowed pending litigation in the district courts to continue. Lifting the stay puts the Obama-era WOTUS definition back into effect and forces any future litigation to occur throughout the United States wherever there is a challenge to the WOTUS definition, unless it is able to get a stay in the pending litigation.

Why is Waters of the US Definition Important?

WOTUS is a key term impacting the scope of Clean Water Act. The EPA and Corps of Engineers issued the definition in May 2015. The rule was widely criticized, with many, such as farmers, home builders, and developers, claiming that the rule impermissibly allowed EPA to regulate private land. Others felt the rule narrowed federal jurisdiction. In the Supreme Court, the current Administration argued that any challenges to the meaning of WOTUS must be brought in a court of appeals; this argument was rejected in the court decision. Under the Clean Water Act, the uncertainty as to the scope of the WOTUS rule affects whether a Federal discharge permit (NPDES permit) is required and the scope of permits needed to discharge wastewater and storm water. It also impacts whether real estate contains federally-regulated wetlands.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Changes To Minnesota Water Based Health Risk Limits

The Minnesota Department (MDH) is proposing amendments to the Health Risk Limits (HRLs) Rules and to adopt new and updated human health-based water guidance values into rule. The chemicals proposed for amendment include herbicides and other pesticides, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and volatile organic compounds (VOC). Below is a listing of chemicals MDH is considering in its rule revision:

Chemical Name Previously adopted values in HRL Rule?
Acenaphthene Yes
Acetochlor Yes
Acetochlor ESA Yes
Acetochlor OXA Yes
Alachlor Yes
Chloroform Yes
Clothianidin No
Cyanazine Yes
cis-1,2-Dichloroethene Yes
2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) Yes
Dieldrin Yes
Dinoseb No
S-Ethyl-N,N-dipropylthiocarbamate (EPTC) Yes
Fluoranthene Yes
Perfluorobutyrate (PFBA) Yes
Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Salts Yes
Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Salts Yes
Pyrene Yes
Tetrahydrofuran No
Thiamethoxam No
1,1,1-Trichloroethane Yes
Vinyl Chloride Yes

MDH will accept written comments on the proposed rules amendments through Wednesday, February 21, 2018.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Benzo[a]pyrene, BaP Water Health Risk Review

The Minnesota Department of Health-Health Risk Assessment Unit has started a full review of benzo[a]pyrene or BaP. BaP is a chemical formed from combustion, and is one of a larger class of chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Sources of BaP can include industrial processes, cigarette smoke, grilled or broiled foods, wood fires, motor vehicle emission, and many other activities that involve combustion of organic material. BaP is classified as carcinogenic to humans by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Minnesota Department of Health previously developed water guidance for BaP in 2012 and the current review will update that guidance if deemed necessary.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Revisions To Narrative Water Quality Standards Proposed By EPD

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division has proposed revisions to existing rules in the Rules for Water Quality Control at 391-3-6-.03(5)(b) and (c). These proposed changes are intended to clarify certain narrative water quality standards that could apply to all Waters of the State.

The current rules state, in relevant part:
 (b) All waters shall be free from oil, scum and floating debris associated with municipal or domestic sewage, industrial waste or other discharges in amounts sufficient to be unsightly or to interfere with legitimate water uses.
(c) All waters shall be free from material related to municipal, industrial or other discharges which produce turbidity, color, odor or other objectionable conditions which interfere with legitimate water uses.

The proposed revisions would modify these sections (as noted in red) as follows:
 (b) All waters shall be free from oil, scum and floating debris associated with municipal or domestic sewage, industrial waste or other discharges in amounts sufficient to be unsightly or to unreasonably interfere with the designated use of the water body.
(c) All waters shall be free from material related to municipal, industrial or other discharges which produce turbidity, color, odor or other objectionable conditions which unreasonably interfere with the designated use of the water body.

 Comments on the proposed revision are due by January 31, 2018.

  Click here for other regulatory updates for Georgia.