Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
The CWA, as amended by the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act of 2000, directed the EPA to conduct studies associated with pathogens and human health under section 104(v), and to publish new or revised criteria for pathogens and pathogen indicators based on those studies under section 304(a)(9). The criteria announced today are the new or revised criteria that EPA is directed to publish under section 304(a)(9) of the CWA, as amended by the BEACH Act.
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Section 304(a) water quality criteria are recommendations developed by EPA under authority of section 304(a) of the Clean Water Act based on the latest scientific information on the relationship that the effect of a constituent concentration has on particular aquatic species and/or human health. Section 304(a)(1) of the Clean Water Act directs the EPA to develop and publish and, from time to time, revise, criteria for water quality accurately reflecting the latest scientific knowledge. Water quality criteria developed under section 304(a) are based solely on data and scientific judgments on the relationship between pollutant concentrations and environmental and human health effects. Section 304(a) criteria do not reflect consideration of economic impacts or the technological feasibility of meeting pollutant concentrations in ambient water.
Section 304(a) criteria provide guidance to States and authorized Tribes in adopting water quality standards that ultimately provide a basis for controlling discharges or releases of pollutants. The criteria also provide guidance to the EPA when promulgating Federal regulations under section 303(c) when such action is necessary. Under the CWA and its implementing regulations, States and authorized Tribes are to adopt water quality criteria to protect designated uses (e.g., aquatic life, recreational use). States and authorized Tribes may adopt other scientifically defensible water quality criteria that differ from these recommendations. When adopting new or revised water quality standards, the States and authorized Tribes must adopt criteria that are scientifically defensible and protective of the designated uses of the bodies of water. In establishing criteria, States may base it on (1) EPA's recommended criteria, (2) EPA's recommended criteria modified to reflect site-specific conditions, or (3) other scientifically defensible methods. The EPA's water quality criteria recommendations are not regulations. Thus, the EPA's recommended criteria do not constitute legally binding requirements.
The EPA is today publishing the