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Washington’s Surface Water Quality Standards rule-makings: human health-based criteria and implementation tools. Cheryl Niemi Washington Department of Ecology Spokane River Forum March 27, 2013. Two concurrent Surface Water Quality Standards (WQS) rule revisions.
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Washington Department of Ecology
Spokane River Forum
March 27, 2013
Status and current timeline of the rule-makings:
CR-101 Stage – three main venues for participation
Implementation Tools: Current and future needs for tools that will help facilitate source controls and compliance for dischargers where meeting standards will take a long time – up to many decades. Current implementation tools are limited to 5 and 10 year timeframes.
This includes both toxics and conventional pollutants (e.g., temperature).
Human health-based criteria:WA is currently under 1992 federal rule for HHC: The National Toxics Rule (NTR; 40 CFR 131.36).
The older NTR criteria should be updated to include consideration of:
This will be the first time these criteria have been adopted into the WA WQS.
2010 Triennial Review of the WQS ranked HHC adoption and implementation tools revisions as a high priority – targeted to start rule-making in 2012.
Triennial Review web site: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/swqs/triennial_review.html
Pollutant concentrations decreasing over time
WQ criteria – risk based or NC
Human health criteria rule-making
Implementation Tools Rule-making
EPA’s recommended criteria are for states to use as needed. They are developed for nation-wide use.
EPA uses default exposure assumptionsthat are based on national data in its recommended HHC:
1992 National Toxics Rule
Currently contains criteria for 85 chemicals
Criteria are based on the national default assumptions used in early 1990’s:
NTR found at 40 CFR Part 131
A little over half the 85 chemicals are carcinogens (e.g. DDT and PAHs). The rest are non-carcinogens.
NTR includes a risk level for carcinogens of one-in-one million (Washington’s WQS language includes this risk level).
Identifying impaired waterbodies under CWA Section 303(d)
Targets in Water Clean-up Plans(Total Maximum Daily Loads)
NPDES permit limits
Clarification of the risk level in the WQS?
Fish consumption rate or rates
How to address sources of toxics outside the scope of the CWA – and how does this affect the criteria equation inputs?
Adopt criteria for all new EPA recommended chemicals?
Any state-specific criteria?
Risk Management example from EPA (2000):
“Risk management is the process of selecting the most appropriate guidance or regulatory actions by integrating the results of risk assessment with engineering data and with social, economic, and political concerns to reach a decision. In this (EPA 2000) methodology, the choice of a default fish consumption rate which is protective of 90 percent of the general population is a risk management decision. The choice of an acceptable cancer risk by a State or Tribe is a risk management decision.”
(from: USEPA. 2000. Methodology for Deriving Ambient Water Quality Criteria for the Protection of Human Health (2000), EPA-822-B-00-004, page 2-3)
Set requirements and boundaries.
All these can carry different weight when making regulatory decisions.
Will need to clearly articulate the choices and directions guided by these factors, as well as be clear about the policy, science policy, and risk management decisions inherent in HHC development.
Focus on transparency in communication and decision-making.
Big and complex process
Address science, science policy, and risk management all within the boundaries and requirements set by law, regulation, policy, and guidance.
Plan to continue work on developing a broad public discussion of the issues surrounding development of the human health criteria and the development of new or revised implementation tools, and the way the contents of these rules could play out in the future.
Scenarios will continue to be important to look at overall impacts to the permitting program.
Water Quality Standards Coordinator
Water Quality Standards Toxics Technical and Policy Lead
Surface Water Quality Standards web page: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/swqs/index.html
Surface Water Quality Standards Rule Revisions: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/swqs/Currswqsruleactiv.html
Water Quality Information, including rule making information: http://listserv.wa.gov/cgi-bin/wa?A0=ECOLOGY-WATER-QUALITY-INFO