Water: Regulatory Information
Withdrawal of Aquatic Life Water Quality Criteria for Copper and Nickel Applicable to South San Francisco Bay, California
- Why is EPA removing the federal criteria now?
- What criteria will apply now?
- Do California's site-specific objectives protect designated uses?
- Is there any additional burden on the regulated community?
- Does the final rule change the way National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits are written in California?
- What is the result of today's final action?
- How can I get more information?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is withdrawing federal aquatic life copper and nickel water quality criteria in south San Francisco Bay (the area south of Dumbarton Bridge). The State of California adopted numeric aquatic life copper and nickel water quality objectives for south San Francisco Bay, and EPA approved the objectives because they meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act. Therefore, federal criteria are no longer necessary.
In 2000, EPA found that California's water quality standards did not meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act (CWA). In accord with the CWA, EPA subsequently promulgated federal numeric water quality criteria for priority toxic pollutants for inland surface waters and enclosed bays and estuaries in the State of California. This regulation is known as the California Toxics Rule or CTR. These water quality criteria became the approved water quality criteria for toxic pollutants for all purposes and programs under the Clean Water Act (see 40 CFR 131.38).
Since EPA promulgated the CTR for California, the State has adopted numeric aquatic life copper and nickel water quality criteria for south San Francisco Bay. The State calls these criteria site-specific objectives. EPA found that the State's numeric site-specific objectives fully protect the designated uses of California's waters in south San Francisco Bay, and are consistent with the CWA and federal regulations. Thus, EPA recognizes that the federal aquatic life copper and nickel criteria in south San Francisco Bay are no longer necessary.
The State of California has adopted site-specific objectives that meet the requirements of the CWA. When EPA approves a state's adopted water quality criteria that meet the requirements of the CWA, EPA issues a rule withdrawing the federal criteria.
The applicable aquatic life copper and nickel criteria in south San Francisco Bay are the State-adopted site-specific objectives, which EPA has already approved.
Yes, California's site-specific objectives are protective of the designated uses in south San Francisco Bay, California.
This final rule imposes no costs on the regulated community. Removal of the federal criteria will not result in more stringent water quality standards.
The California Regional Water Quality Board for the San Francisco Bay Region will no longer write permits using both federal and state water quality standards for south San Francisco Bay; it need only comply with state water quality standards. The State of California is the NPDES permit writing authority and will implement the site-specific objectives in new and renewed permits. EPA will retain oversight authority.
EPA's final rule removes federally promulgated aquatic life copper and nickel water quality criteria in south San Francisco Bay, California. California's aquatic life copper and nickel site-specific objectives are now the only applicable aquatic life water quality criteria for copper and nickel in south San Francisco Bay.
For more information about this rule, please contact Diane E. Fleck, P.E., Esq., U.S. EPA Region 9, Water Division (WTR-2), 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, California 94105; phone 415 972-3480, fax 415 947-3537; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also contact Manjali Vlcan, U.S. EPA Headquarters, Office of Water (4305T), 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20460; phone 202 566-0382; fax 202 566-0409; e-mail email@example.com.
Federal Register notice describing how to get more information and review the complete administrative record.