Water: Regulatory Information
Federal Nutrient Water Quality Standards for the State of Florida's Lakes and Flowing Waters Outside of the South Florida Region (Inland Rule)
- Rulemaking Background
- Remanded Portions of the Inland Rule
- Extensions of Effective Date and Delays of the Rule
- Promulgation of the Final Inland Rule
- Florida Site-Specific Alternative Criteria Submissions
- Supplemental Notice of Data Availability
- Proposed Rulemaking
EPA published the final "Water Quality Standards for the State of Florida’s Lakes and Flowing Waters" rule in the Federal Register on December 6, 2010. The final standards set numeric limits, or criteria, on the amount of nutrient pollution allowed in Florida's lakes, rivers, streams and springs. This final action seeks to improve water quality, protect public health, aquatic life and the long term recreational uses of Florida's waters which are a critical part of the state's economy.
Remanded Portions of the Inland Rule
Not long after the publication of the final rule for inland waters, EPA received several legal challenges to its rule. These were resolved in a court ruling on February 18, 2012. While upholding EPA's January 2009 determination and much of its final December 2010 rule, the court invalidated EPA's numeric nutrient criteria for Florida's streams and EPA's downstream protection value (DPV) for lakes that are meeting the lake numeric criteria established in EPA's final December 2010 rule ("unimpaired lakes").
The court ordered EPA to re-propose criteria for these waters. Under the consent decree, EPA's Administrator is required to sign final rule for these waters by August 31, 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. EPA is only required to establish criteria in waters where Florida has not established their own criteria. Because EPA prefers for Florida to implement its own numeric nutrient water quality criteria, we have not included in our federal rules the Florida estuaries that are covered in the State's approved rules.
- Press Release (November 30, 2012)
- Fact Sheet (PDF) (2 pp, 188K)
- Federal Register Notice | Print Version (PDF) (21 pp, 312K) (December 18, 2012)
- Docket with technical support documents (docket number EPA-HQ-OW-2009-0596)
- Court Ruling (PDF) (86 pp, 227K) (February 18, 2012)
The comment period for this rule ended on February 1, 2013.
If you have questions about the proposed rule, contact Mario Sengco (Sengco.firstname.lastname@example.org) at 202-566-2676.
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.
Extensions of Effective Date and Delays of the Rule
EPA is also proposing to stay (postpone the applicability of) certain sections of the Inland Rule. EPA is proposing the stay to allow time to gain clarity on the implementation of Florida’s rule, particularly concerning the provisions of F.A.C. 62-302.531(9) (the all-or-nothing provisions). As we gain clarity on the impact of the all-or-nothing provisions, at a future date EPA expects to withdraw the Agency’s Inland Rule, provided Florida’s rule goes into effect.
- Fact Sheet (PDF) (2 pp, 274K)
- Federal Register Notice | Print Version (PDF) (4 pp, 202K) (December 14, 2012)
- Docket with technical support documents (docket number EPA-HQ-OW-2009-0596)
On July 6, 2012, EPA promulgated a third extension of the effective date of this rule by 6 months to January 6, 2013. (The extension did not affect or change the February 4, 2011 date for the site-specific alternative criteria provision.) The extension will provide EPA time to complete its review of Florida's adopted state water quality standards.
- Fact sheet (PDF) (2 pp, 77K) (July 2012)
- Federal Register Notice | Print Version (PDF) (4 pp, 205K) (July 6, 2012)
On May 17, 2012, EPA proposed an extension of the effective date by three months to October 6, 2012. The comment period ended on June 18, 2012.
- Fact sheet (PDF) (2 pp, 205K) (May 2012)
- Federal Register Notice | Print Version (PDF) (5 pp, 205K) (May 17, 2012)
On March 5, 2012, EPA promulgated an extension of the effective date of this rule by four months to July 6, 2012. (The extension did not affect or change the February 4, 2011 date for the site-specific alternative criteria provision.) This extension afforded the State additional time to finalize their own rule establishing numeric nutrient criteria for the State and submit it for EPA review.
- Fact sheet (PDF) (2 pp, 28K) (March 2012)
- Federal Register Notice | Print Version (PDF) (4 pp, 242K) (March 7, 2012)
Promulgation of the Final Inland Rule
In accordance with the Consent Decree EPA promulgated numeric nutrient criteria for lakes and flowing waters in Florida in November 2010.
- Press Release (November 15, 2010)
- Fact Sheet: Final Water Quality Standards for the State of Florida's Lakes and Flowing Waters (PDF) (2 pp, 27K) (November 2010)
- Federal Register Notice | Print Version (PDF) (47 pp, 392K) (December 6, 2010)
- Frequently Asked Questions (PDF) (8 pp, 39K) (August 2, 2010)
- Letter from EPA to Florida Department Environmental Protection (PDF) (2 pp, 520K)
- Technical Support Documents
- EPA has created a technical support document that provides detailed information regarding the derivation of the final criteria. This document is entitled "Technical Support Document for EPA's Final Rule for Numeric Criteria for Nitrogen/Phosphorus Pollution in Florida's Inland Surface Fresh Waters" (PDF) (156 pp, 9MB)
- To provide information on the potential incremental costs that may result from the implementation of actions related to this rule, EPA conducted an analysis that is fully described in the document entitled: "Economic Analysis of Final Water Quality Standards for Nutrients for Lakes and Flowing Waters in Florida" (PDF) (194 pp, 2.43MB)
- NOTE: Other Supporting documents for this final rule are available to the public at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OW-2009-0596, EPA Docket No. EPA-HQ-OW-2009-0596
- EPA’s Webinars on the Final Inland Rule
Florida Site Specific Alternative Criteria (SSAC) Submissions
As of February 4, 2011, the provision of EPA's Final Rule allowing SSAC is effective. SSAC may apply to specific surface waters in lieu of the criteria established in the 2010 Final Rule for Florida's Inland Waters. On March 8, 2011, EPA Region 4 hosted a webinar which provided additional detail regarding the expectations of SSAC submissions. The materials from this webinar can be found in the following section.
More information on SSAC submissions that have been received to date.
Federal Nutrient Water Quality Standards for the State of Florida's Lakes and Flowing Waters; Supplemental Notice of Data Availability and Request for Comment
On August 3, 2010, EPA published a supplemental notice of data availability and a request for comment related to EPA's January 26, 2010 notice of proposed rulemaking, "Water Quality Standards for the State of Florida's Lakes and Flowing Waters" (75 FR 4173). The supplemental notice reflected a review of comments and new information received by EPA as part of the public comment process after the January 2010 proposed rule. EPA requested further comment on possible revisions and new information related to specific approaches and issues identified in the January 26, 2010 proposal. EPA published this supplemental notice to ensure that the public has full access to the information the Agency considered as it prepared the final rule for signature.
- Fact sheet | Print Version (PDF) (2 pp, 40K) (July 2010)
- Federal Register Notice | Print Version (PDF) (5 pp, 69K) (August 3, 2010)
Proposed Federal Nutrient Water Quality Standards for the State of Florida's Lakes and Flowing Waters Outside of the South Florida Region
EPA proposed numeric nutrient water quality standards for lakes and flowing waters, including canals, within the State of Florida and proposed regulations to establish a framework for Florida to develop "restoration standards" for impaired waters. EPA issued this proposed rule pursuant to a determination that EPA made on January 14, 2009, under section 303(c)(4)(B) of the Clean Water Act. The determination states that numeric nutrient water quality standards for lakes and flowing waters and for estuaries and coastal waters are necessary for the State of Florida to meet the requirements of Clean Water Act section 303(c). EPA signed the proposed rule addressing lakes and flowing waters on January 14, 2010, per the terms of a consent decree. This proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on January 26, 2010.
- Press Release (January 15, 2010)
- Fact sheet (January 2010)
- Federal Register Notice | Print Version (PDF) (54 pp, 618K) (January 26, 2010)
- Docket Folder containing Technical Support Documents
If you have questions about the proposed rule contact Danielle Salvaterra (email@example.com) at 202-564-1649.
Public Input on the Proposed Rulemaking
EPA extended the public comment period for the proposed rule for an additional 30 days. The extended public comment period closed on April 28, 2010.
- Federal Register Notice | Print Version (PDF) (2 pp, 52K) (March 10, 2010)
- Press Release (March 4, 2010)
- EPA's Public Hearings on the Proposed Inland Rule