Monday, February 8, 2010

TCEQ Proposed Antidegradation Rule

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has proposed revisions to its water quality standards, including Chapter §307.5. Antidegradation. These rules apply to all wastewater discharges, including stormwater. The rule establishes the antidegradation policy of the commission which includes a three tier system:

Tier 1. Existing uses and water quality sufficient to protect those existing uses must be maintained. Categories of existing uses are the same as for designated uses
Tier 2. No activities subject to regulatory action are allowed that would cause degradation of waters that exceed fishable/swimmable quality, unless it can be shown that the lowering of water quality is necessary for important economic or social development.
Tier 3. Outstanding national resource waters are defined as high quality waters within or adjacent to national parks and wildlife refuges, state parks, wild and scenic rivers, and other designated areas of exceptional recreational or ecological significance. The quality of
outstanding national resource waters must be maintained and protected.


No discharges can lower water quality to the extent that the Texas Surface Water Quality Standards are not attained. Any discharge of wastewater that would constitute a new source or an increased source of pollution from any industrial, public, or private project or development
are required to provide a level of wastewater treatment consistent with the provisions of the
Texas Water Code and the Clean Water Act. For nonpoint sources of pollution, as necessary, cost effective and reasonable best management practices established through the Texas Water Quality Management Program are to be implemented.


Tier 1 reviews must ensure that water quality is sufficiently maintained so that existing uses are protected. All discharges that could cause an impairment of water quality are subject to Tier 1 reviews. If the existing uses and criteria of a potentially affected water body have not been previously determined, then the antidegradation review must include a preliminary determination of existing uses and criteria.

Tier 2 reviews apply to all discharges that could cause degradation of water quality where water quality exceeds levels necessary to support propagation of fish, shellfish, wildlife, and recreation in and on the water (fishable/swimmable quality). Tier 3 reviews apply to all discharges that could cause degradation of outstanding national resource waters.

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.

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

State Antidegradation Policies - New or Expanded Discharges

Over recent years, much attention has been placed on State policies and procedures regarding impaired waters, 303d listing, and TMDLs. However, State Antidegradation Policies can be as significant, and in many cases can affect significantly larger number of dischargers.

In essence, the two regulatory programs address two subsets of "waters of the State" 1) those that currently do not meet their water quality standards, and 2) those that do currently meet standards. Impaired Waters Programs address waters that do not meet their respective water quality standards. Studies and implementation plans ("TMDLs) are required to move these impaired waters back into compliance.

In contrast, Antidegradation policies or programs address waters that current meet their respective standards. In this case, policies or rules are in place to assure that NEW or EXPANDED discharges to these waters do not result in an unacceptable degradation in water quality (even if still below water quality standards). Antidegradation policies will generally set thresholds for new or expanded discharges above which Antidegradation Reviews may need to be conducted before the discharge is permitted.

One of the complicating factors in antidegradation policies is the application to stormwater discharges which require an NPDES permit. Typically the antidegradation policy thresholds are not expressed in units that are easily applied to stormwater discharges. For example, an existing industrial facility which has a permit to discharge stormwater expands its truck parking area, which technically increases flow. Depending on the specific requirements of the State's antidegradation policy, this increase may require an antidegradation review.


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



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State Water Quality Standards - Site Specific NPDES Permit Limits

Setting water quality standards (also known as “ambient water quality criteria, or AWQC”) is one of three elements of a typical State water pollution control program under the Clean Water Act.

  1. Designating uses of water bodies
  2. Establishing water quality standards to meet designated uses
  3. Waste discharge permit / NPDES permits

States will also have policies or rules that are used to assure that water bodies that do not meet their water quality standards (“impaired waters”) are brought back into compliance, and policies or rules to assure that water bodies currently meeting standards are not allowed to be significantly degraded (“antidegradation or nondegradation policy”).

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 is often asked to participate as a “specialty consultant” on larger project teams, bringing our expertise in water quality standards and setting of NPDES permit limits.

[See a map showing States where Caltha LLP worked in 2008]

To request further information on water quality standards consultant services for individual States, click on a State below:

Alabama Water Quality Standards
Alaska Water Quality Standards
Arkansas Water Quality Standards
California Water Quality Standards
Connecticut Water Quality Standards
Florida Water Quality Standards
Georgia Water Quality Standards
Illinois Water Quality Standards
Indiana Water Quality Standards
Iowa Water Quality Standards
Kansas Water Quality Standards
Kentucky Water Quality Standards
Louisiana Water Quality Standards
Maine Water Quality Standards
Massachusetts Water Quality Standards
Michigan Water Quality Standards
Minnesota Water Quality Standards
Mississippi Water Quality Standards
Nebraska Water Quality Standards
Nevada Water Quality Standards
New Jersey Water Quality Standards
New York Water Quality Standards
North Carolina Water Quality Standards
North Dakota Water Quality Standards
Ohio Water Quality Standards
Oklahoma Water Quality Standards
Oregon Water Quality Standards
Pennsylvania Water Quality Standards
South Carolina Water Quality Standards
South Dakota Water Quality Standards
Tennessee Water Quality Standards
Texas Water Quality Standards
Utah Water Quality Standards
Virginia Water Quality Standards
Washington Water Quality Standards
Wisconsin Water Quality Standards

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Stormwater Antidegradation Requirements for Tier 2, 2.5, 3 Waters

The US EPA Multi-sector General Permit promulgated in 2008 (“MSGP-2008”) includes antidegradation requirements that apply to new and/or expanded discharges of stormwater from regulated industrial sites.

[What is an Antidegradation Policy?]

EPA’s approach to antidegradation requirements is based on three categories of “special” waters – Tier 2, Tier 2.5 and Tier 3.

[Read more about how Stormwater Antidegradation Tiers are defined]

Requirements:

Tier 2. For new or existing dischargers to Tier 2 waters, the discharger is required to notify US EPA prior to making changes at the site which “qualify the facility as a new source or that could significantly change the nature or significantly increase the quantity of pollutants discharged”. EPA may notify the facility that additional analyses, control measures, or other permit conditions are necessary to comply with the applicable antidegradation requirements, or notify the facility that an individual permit application is necessary.

Tier 2.5. Same requirements as Tier 2.

Tier 3. New or existing discharges to Tier 3 waters can not be permitted under the MSGP-2008.

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



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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Proposed Antidegradation Policy - Extension of DNR Comment Period

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has extended the public comment period on the proposed antidegradation rules to March 4.


Antidegradation policy is one of the three components of Iowa water quality standards - 1) designated uses, 2) water quality criteria to protect those uses, and 3) antidegradation policy. The Iowa DNR is proposing a four-tiered approach, including creating a guidance document that establishes procedures for implementing the antidegradation policy.

The changes being proposed include the following:

  1. Incorporate by reference the document entitled “Iowa Antidegradation Implementation Procedure,” which proposes an approach to be followed in assessing and minimizing degradation of Iowa’s surface waters

  2. Update antidegradation policy language with four tier approach, and

  3. Remove High Quality (Class HQ) and High Quality Resource (Class HQR) designated uses and add several waters to the newly proposed Outstanding Iowa Water (OIW) category.

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



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Monday, March 2, 2009

EPA Antidegradation Requirements Under MSGP-2008

The US EPA Multi-sector General Permit promulgated in 2008 (“MSGP-2008”) includes antidegradation requirements that apply to new and/or expanded discharges of stormwater from regulated industrial sites.

[What is an Antidegradation Policy?]

Regulation of discharges is based on three categories of waters:

Tier 2 Waters – Tier 2 waters are characterized as having water quality that exceeds the levels necessary to support propagation of fish, shellfish, and wildlife and recreation in and on the water.
Tier 2.5 Waters – For antidegradation purposes, Tier 2.5 waters are those waters designated by States or Tribes as neither Tier 2 nor Tier 3. States have special requirements for these waters. These waters are given a level of protection equal to and above that given to Tier 2 waters, but less than that given Tier 3 waters.
Tier 3 Waters – For antidegradation purposes, Tier 3 waters are identified by states as having high quality waters constituting an Outstanding Natural Resource Water (ONRW), such as waters of National Parks and State Parks, wildlife refuges, and waters of exceptional recreational or ecological significance.

Regardless of these general descriptions, the water bodies regulated under each tier must be LISTED by US EPA. The list of effected waters can change overtime. Currently, the States with listed waters include:

Tier 2 or 2.5: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, District of Columbia, Minnesota
Tier 3: New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Mexico

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



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Water Quality Standards - Antidegradation Rules in Ohio

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently in the process of revising State Rules relating to Water Quality Standards and Antidegradation (Non-Degradation). The draft Rules are being published independently; however, because all the Rules are interrelated, OEPA has extended the public comment period.

The draft Rules applying to Antidegradation were released for comment near the end of 2008. Some of the key revisions being proposed include:

  • The definition of “best available demonstrated control technology” (BADCT) is being updated to include new design criteria and effluent limits for nitrogen and phosphorus.
  • Definitions for “designated uses”, “existing uses”, and “threatened species” are being removed since these definitions are located in the Water Quality Standards Rule.
  • Definitions for “local and regional drainage pattern”, “loss of use”, “preferred alternative”, and “40 C.F.R.” are being added.
  • The types of alternatives to be considered under the definitions for “minimal degradation alternative” and “non-degradation alternative” are being clarified.
  • The definition of “regulated pollutant” is being revised to clarify that parameters include narrative and numeric water quality criteria and those limited by best professional judgment in a NPDES permit.
  • The rule exemption in paragraph for net increases from existing sources is being clarified.
    Applications for Section 401 water quality certifications for wetlands will be exempt from the submital of alternatives analysis and social and economic justification information
  • Section 401 water quality certifications impacting Lake Erie or its shoreline will be exempt from the mandatory public hearing
  • New language is included regarding what constitutes the loss of a beneficial use.
  • The set aside revision process for special high quality waters in is being clarified.
  • The tables of special high quality waters are being updated.

The deadline for comments on the draft rule has not been determined yet. A draft rule addressing mitigation requirements or impacts on streams will be made available for review and comment in early 2009. Because the content of that rule relates to part of the antidegradation rule, the comment deadline for both rules will be 60 days after the stream mitigation rule is made available.

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



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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Iowa - IDNR Draft Antidegradation Policy

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is proposing changes to its “Antidegradation Policy”. The changes can impact any wastewater discharger in Iowa, but especially new permittees or existing permittees that may wish to increase their discharge in the future. The changes being proposed include:

  • Incorporate by reference the document entitled “Iowa Antidegradation Implementation
    Procedure,” which proposes an approach to assessing and minimizing degradation of Iowa’s surface waters,
  • Update antidegradation policy language with four tier approach,
  • Remove High Quality (Class HQ) and High Quality Resource (Class HQR) designated uses and add several waters to the newly proposed Outstanding Iowa Water (OIW) category.

The purpose of the antidegradation policy is to set minimum requirements to conserve, maintain, and protect existing uses and water quality for water bodies that currently meet their water quality standards. The department is required by Clean Water Act to develop and adopt a statewide antidegradation policy and to identify procedures for implementing the policy. Comments on the draft policy are being accepted through January 29, 2009.


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

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MPCA Antidegradation Requirements for Storm Water Discharges

On December 18, 2008, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) released a redraft of the Multisector Industrial General Permit (MSGP) currently being written. Similar to previous drafts, this version is incomplete. [Read about previous draft of MPCA permit]

One of the important elements of this draft is the proposed antidegradation requirements for stormwater [Read further information on Antidegradation Policies].

Two overall categories are presented to determine potential antidegradation policy status:

All waters of State (Statewide). Any facility that requires an NPDES permit for stormwater discharge AND after January 1, 1988 increased the area of industrial activities by more than 91 acres (by expansion or new construction) must implement specific additional stormwater controls listed in the permit. As currently drafted, this requirement appears to apply retroactively, meaning that a facility that expanded by more than 91 acres anytime after January 1, 1988 could be required to retrofit stormwater controls to meet the new requirements.

Sites Near “Special Waters”. This requirement applies to facilities located within 1-mile of listed special waters, including Lake Superior, upper Mississippi River, lake trout lakes and other outstanding resource value waters. This requirement, as currently drafted, applies to all facilities within 1-mile of these waters, regardless of a “new or expanded” discharge. Facilities currently permitted and in compliance with the MPCA general permit would need to meet all permit requirements, including the listed additional stormwater controls. These permittees could be required to retrofit existing stormwater controls to meet the new requirements.


The MPCA MSGP is a work in progress; revisions and additions to the permit continue to be made. Once a draft is completed, the permit will be issued for public comment. Because of the size and complexity of the draft permit (especially compared to the current permit, written in 1997), it is expected that there will be significant public comments.



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

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