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)
The Consent Decree deadline for the final numeric water quality criteria for nutrients in estuarine and coastal waters in the State of Florida, and for flowing waters in the south Florida region, is September 30, 2013.
However, EPA and Florida's Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) have come to an agreement that would eliminate the need for EPA to finalize this rule.
Proposed Federal Nutrient Water Quality Standards for the State of Florida's Estuaries, Coastal Waters, and South Florida Inland Flowing Waters
EPA has 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. These criteria, and the downstream protection values for flowing waters into estuaries and coastal marine waters, are intended to help reduce water pollution that causes algal blooms. Algal blooms deplete oxygen needed by fish and other aquatic life, block sunlight required by aquatic plants which provide habitat for aquatic life, and discolor water. Some algal blooms can produce chemicals toxic to humans and animals, resulting in disruption of recreational activities, contaminating drinking water, and potentially threatening public health.
You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.
This proposed rule, along with Florida’s newly-approved state water quality criteria for certain estuaries and coastal marine waters in and approved by EPA, seeks 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.
- Press Release (November 30, 2012)
- Fact Sheet (PDF) (3 pp, 235K)
- Federal Register Notice | Print Version (PDF) (63 pp, 747K) (December 18, 2012)
- Docket with technical support documents (docket number EPA-HQ-OW-2010-0222)
The comment period for this rule ended on February 1, 2013.
If you have questions about the proposed rule, contact Erica Fleisig (Fleisig.email@example.com) 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.
- News Release announcing SAB review of EPA data and methodology
- Final SAB recommendations (PDF) (67 pp, 225K)
- More information on the SAB review.