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Water: Regulatory Information

Federal Nutrient Water Quality Standards for the State of Florida's Estuaries, Coastal Waters, and South Florida Inland Flowing Waters (Coastal Rule)


Caloosahatchee River near Cape Coral, 2005

John Cassani: Nutrient pollution in marina on Caloosahatchee River near Cape Coral, 2005

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new icon EPA Discontinues Work on Coastal Rule

A January 7, 2014, court ruling allows EPA to discontinue its work on the coastal rule, so Florida can implement their state-adopted, EPA-approved criteria to address nutrient pollution in Florida’s waters. On April 2, 2014, EPA published its proposal to withdraw the Inland Rule and discontinue its work on three 2012 proposed rules. The comment period closes on June 2, 2014.

Rulemaking Background

On December 18, 2012, EPA published proposed numeric water quality criteria and downstream protection values to protect aquatic life and human health in certain estuaries and coastal waters within the state of Florida, and in flowing waters in south Florida, from nitrogen and phosphorus pollution. 

This proposed rule sought to improve water quality of Florida's estuaries, coastal waters, and flowing waters in south Florida, and thereby protect public health, aquatic life, and the recreational uses of Florida’s waters, which are a critical part of the state’s economy.

The comment period for this rule ended on February 1, 2013. 

If you have questions about the proposed rule, contact Erica Fleisig (Fleisig.erica@epa.gov) at 202-566-1057.

EPA held two public information sessions about the proposed rule in Tampa, Florida on January 17 and 18. The Agency also held three webinars on January 22, 23, and 24.  

Methods and Approaches for Deriving Numeric Criteria

As part of the federal promulgation of numeric criteria for nutrient pollution in the state of Florida, EPA developed a document entitled: "Methods and Approaches for Deriving Numeric Criteria for Nitrogen/Phosphorus Pollution in Florida’s Estuaries, Coastal Waters, and Southern Flowing Waters." This document describes approaches EPA considered for the derivation of numeric criteria for nutrient pollution in Florida estuaries, coastal waters, and southern inland flowing waters. In addition, the document describes the approach EPA considered for developing downstream protection values (DPVs) that may be applied to Florida streams to ensure the attainment and maintenance of downstream water quality standards.

As follow up to a commitment EPA made on June 7, 2010, EPA sought feedback on the scientific defensibility of the approaches being considered for the derivation of numeric criteria for nutrient pollution development through an SAB review. In November 2010, EPA submitted its potential methods and approaches for an independent, scientific peer review by the SAB. In July 2011, the SAB provided their final recommendations to the EPA on the methods and approaches. The recommendations provided to EPA through the SAB review process strengthen the scientific basis of numeric criteria for nutrient pollution proposed for Florida estuaries, coastal waters, and southern inland flowing waters.

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