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Kentucky’s Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards Moves Forward

01.28.2013

As reported in the September/October 2012 Environmental Letter, DOW filed its proposed changes to its water quality standards as part of its Triennial Review on August 15, 2012.  The public comment period remained open through October 1, 2012, and on November 14, 2012, DOW issued its Statement of Consideration for the public comments that were received.  DOW received numerous comments on the proposed water quality regulations from industry representatives, environmental interest groups, and EPA.

Very few revisions were made to the proposed regulations as a result of the comments that were submitted.  However, DOW did make a clarifying change, as requested by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and other business interest groups, to clarify that the narrative nutrient standard is intended to preclude elevation of nutrients to an extent such that the discharge of nutrients results in the creation of a eutrophication “problem” in the water body.  A concern was raised by the commenters that the proposed regulation could have been interpreted to limit the addition of any amount of nutrients that would contribute to a potential eutrophication process, even if a eutrophication problem did not exist.

Additionally, despite opposition from EPA, DOW continues to propose the deletion of the acute water quality criterion for selenium based upon its findings that the current criterion is not supported by sound science.  EPA urged DOW to retain the acute selenium criterion until EPA updates its national recommended criterion for selenium.  Alternatively, EPA noted that DOW could develop its own acute criterion based upon other scientifically defensible information.  DOW stated it would continue to implement the 5.0 ug/L chronic criterion for selenium in KPDES Permits in the interim, but would proceed with deletion of the acute standard.  Of interest, EPA also recommended that DOW adopt EPA’s national recommended water quality criteria for certain other pollutants and find that selenium was a bio-cumulative chemical of concern.  DOW did not take any action in response to these EPA comments.

The proposed Triennial Review regulations must next be reviewed by the Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee (ARRS) of the Kentucky General Assembly.  On January 2, 2013, DOW requested that the review be deferred until the February 2013 ARRS meeting.  DOW stated the reason for the deferral was that DOW continues to work to address issues raised by stakeholders during the public comment period on the regulations.

To view a complete PDF of the November/December 2012 issue of the Environmental Letter, click HERE.

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