EPA Proposes Water Quality Standards Regulatory Clarifications

On September 4th EPA published a Federal Register notice (FR 54518) to propose changes to the core requirements of the federal water quality standards (WQS) regulation that interprets part of the Clean Water Act.  Clearer regulatory requirements and improved implementation of the federal WQS regulation will help protect and maintain waters from further degradation; ensure designated uses protect the highest attainable uses of a water body; and increase public transparency and state and tribal accountability to ensure the public has the information it needs to become actively involved as states and tribes manage their waters.

During the 90 day public comment period, EPA plans to hold two public webinars, one tribal consultation webinar, one conference call for states, and one public meeting.  EPA will also be joining forces with the Association of Clean Water Agencies (ACWA) to hold a meeting for states only.  Session details will be announced on EPA’s web site at http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/lawsguidance/wqs_index.cfm as they become available.  During these events, EPA will provide a review of the current regulation and a summary of the revisions in the proposed rule.

EPA will accept public comments on the proposed rule through December 3, 2013.  More information and instructions on how to submit comments can be found in the Federal Register notice at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-09-04/html/2013-21140.htm.  Stay tuned as we learn more about how these changes in the rule might apply to drinking water.