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Florida Department of Environmental Protection Overview of EPA’s Promulgated Numeric Nutrient Criteria for Flowing Waters (Streams, Lakes and Springs)

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Presentation on theme: "Florida Department of Environmental Protection Overview of EPA’s Promulgated Numeric Nutrient Criteria for Flowing Waters (Streams, Lakes and Springs)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Florida Department of Environmental Protection Overview of EPA’s Promulgated Numeric Nutrient Criteria for Flowing Waters (Streams, Lakes and Springs) Prepared by: Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration

2 Page 2 Overview of Presentation Nutrient Criteria Development Timeline DEP’s Perspective on NNC EPA’s Promulgated Criteria Implementation TMDLs as SSACs Cost Estimates

3 Page 3 FDEP Started Developing Numeric Criteria in 2001 Litigation began in 2008 Background Note: If court invalidates, EPA determination, consent decree and any promulgated criteria would be invalid. Aug-12 Oct-08Jan-09Apr-09Jul-09Oct-09Jan-10Apr-10Jul-10Oct-10Jan-11Apr-11Jul-11Oct-11Jan-12Apr-12Jul-12 Aug2008 EarthJustice filed suit to compel EPA to establish criteria Jan2009 EPA declares numeric nutrient criteria"necessary" Aug2009 EPA prepared consent order that contained implementation dates Jan2010 EPA must propose numeric criteria for lakes& flowing waters Nov2011 EPA must propose numeric criteria for estuaries&S.Fl flowing waters Oct2010 EPA must finalize numeric criteria for lakes&flowing waters Aug2012 EPA must finalize numeric criteria for Estuaries&S.Fl flowing waters Nov2009 Federal Court enters and moves to consolidate challenges to the determination Sep Oct 2009 Many different parties challenge EPA determination and file motions regarding consent decree

4 Page 4 DEP’s Perspective on EPA’s NNC Agree that more must be done to address nutrient impairment Based on current assessments ~40% of Florida’s inland waters are impacted by nutrients Numeric Nutrient Criteria must be based on sound science and any policy decisions must take economics into account EPA relied largely on Florida data and analysis, and made substantive improvement over their initial proposal, but…. We still have some issues

5 Page 5 EPA’s Proposal Promulgated rule includes: a)Lake, stream, and spring criteria for the protection of aquatic life b)Additional stream criteria for the protection of downstream lakes c) Provisions for Federal Site-Specific Alternative Criteria (SSAC)

6 Page 6 Stream Criteria Based on ”reference approach,” with 5 regions Used DEP’s “benchmark” approach (90 th percentile of minimally disturbed sites) for most of the regions, and Used EPA’s “SCI” approach (75 th percentile of biologically healthy sites) for West Central Region We could not identify consistent dose-response relationships

7 Page 7 Stream Criteria (continued) Expressed as annual geometric means, which cannot be exceeded more than once in a 3-year period

8 Page 8 Stream Criteria (continued) Differences from DEP approach include: EPA excluded sites that were impaired for DO, which excluded many sites that drain wetland areas, which tend to have naturally higher TN levels Did not require biological validation of impairment, which we required in our draft rule

9 Page 9 Implementation of the Stream Criteria Data sufficiency requirements established by DEP Minimum 4 data points/year, one is each consecutive quarter in 7.5 years for TN and TP Based on existing data (absent biological confirmation), the number of nutrient impaired streams would increase by ~33%

10 Page 10 Springs Nitrate Criterion Set at 0.35 mg/L as an annual geometric mean, not to be exceeded more than once in a three-year period “Spring” is defined as a site at which ground water flows through a natural opening in the ground onto the land surface or into a body of surface water EPA says DEP will make site specific evaluation as to where criterion applies Based on dose-response relationships with periphyton and lab studies

11 Page 11 Lake Criteria “Clear” < 40 PCU, and “Low Alkalinity” < 20 mg/L Criteria expressed as annual geometric means, which cannot be exceeded more than once in a three-year period

12 Page 12 Lakes Modified Criteria “Baseline” criteria for TN and TP apply unless DEP establishes “modified criteria” To be eligible, must meet chl-a magnitude for at least the 3 immediately preceding years, and must meet data requirements At least one sample in May – September and at least one sample in October – April, and a minimum of 4 samples from each year Must be within range shown in brackets, and cannot be above criteria applicable to streams receiving the lake’s discharge

13 Page 13 Lake Modified Criteria (continued) FDEP must notify the public and maintain a record of the modified criteria, and notify EPA, with supporting information, within 30 days Can only establish modified criteria once, and will need to go through a formal SSAC process to revise a second time

14 Page 14 Lake Modified Criteria (continued) Differences from DEP approach We planned to implement modified criteria on annual basis If chlorophyll a criterion met, the TN and TP criteria would be measured values as long as they were below the upper range Easy to implement in 303(d) context, but harder to implement in permitting context EPA’s requirement for data in all three years greatly limits number of lakes eligible for modified criteria

15 Page 15 Implementation of the Lake Criteria Data sufficiency requirements established by DEP Minimum 4 data points/year, one in each quarter for chl-a, TN or TP Long term averages for color and alkalinity Undefined by EPA Minimum 10 data points DEP assumed 7.5 year period, geometric mean for color and arithmetic mean for alkalinity Based on existing data the number of nutrient impaired lakes would increase by ~33%

16 Page 16 Issues with Implementation Data sufficiency requirements established in current Impaired Waters Rule ( FL Admin. code) One annual average used to assess for nutrients EPA’s Criteria requires at least 2 consecutive years of data, but really 3 years to assess most waters Modified Criteria for lakes requires data in the last 3 years of assessment period Without minimum data requirements some assessments or criteria could be set using one data point over an entire assessment period

17 Page 17 Issues with Implementation While DEP agrees with using more data to assess: NNC will mean more monitoring is required DEP Strategic Monitoring Program Currently have assessed ~25% for nutrients Based on existing data ~15% can be assessed under the NNC Florida currently has more data than any state in the nation (30% of nutrient data collected nationwide) Based on existing data ~30 lakes are eligible for modified criteria

18 Page 18 Lake Downstream Protection Values (DPVs) Provides three options to determine DPV 1.Can use BATHTUB, WASP or other scientifically defensible model (including allocations from TMDL established or approved by EPA) 2.If downstream lake meets applicable nutrient criteria, then DPVs are ambient instream levels 3.If do not model and lake criteria not attained, then the DPVs are set at lake criteria

19 Page 19 Lake Downstream Protection Values (DPVs) DPV can be allowable load or concentration at the point of entry into the lake If DPV not met at point of entry, then streams in watershed do not attain DPV

20 Page 20 Concerns with Downstream Protection Values DEP believes that DPVs are neither legally nor technically necessary, and will present an undue burden on DEP to develop Not needed because stream criteria based on reference approach are inherently protective Limits State’s and Stakeholder’s flexibility on how best to address impairment of downstream waters

21 Page 21 Effective Date Criteria effective 15 months after publication in the Federal Register, which is March 6, 2012 Federal site-specific alternative criteria (SSAC) provision is effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, which is Feb. 6, 2011

22 Page 22 Federal SSAC Provision Includes provision that allows EPA to establish site-specific chlorophyll-a, TN, TP, or nitrate-nitrite numeric criterion where that SSAC is demonstrated to be protective of the applicable designated use(s) Must be consistent with 40 CFR , including protection of downstream waters

23 Page 23 SSAC Steps 1.Entity seeking a SSAC must compile the supporting data and analyses, develop the expression of the criterion, and prepare the supporting documentation 2.Entity provides copy of all materials to DEP so that DEP can provide comments to EPA 3.Regional Administrator will evaluate submittal and if adequate, will prepare Technical Support Document and publish a public notice and take comment on the proposed SSAC

24 Page 24 Allowable SSAC Approaches Regulation describes three approaches Can use approaches that EPA used to develop stream and lake criteria and apply these methods to a smaller subset of waters Can “conduct a biological, chemical, and physical assessment of waterbody conditions”, or Use another scientifically defensible approach that is protective of designated use EPA has prepared draft guidance

25 Page 25 TMDLs as SSACs EPA encourages any entity wishing to have EPA adopt a particular TMDL target as a SSAC to submit the TMDL to EPA for consideration as a SSAC as soon as possible during these 15 months, and copy FDEP

26 Page 26 Federal vs. State SSACs Until (and if) DEP adopts numeric nutrient criteria, these SSACs will not go through State SSAC process Do not need to meet State requirements for Type I or Type II SSAC, and will not be adopted by State rule

27 Page 27 Impact of Criteria on Nutrient TMDLs While not specifically addressed in rule, the preamble provides discussion about nutrient TMDLs as potential candidates for SSAC EPA-established or approved TMDLs may provide sufficient information to support a SSAC Federal SSAC procedure must be followed for determining whether any specific TMDL target should be adopted as a SSAC We have raised several issues related to translating TMDLs into SSACs, most notably load versus concentration

28 Page 28 Impact of Criteria on Nutrient TMDLs Preamble also notes that No TMDL will be rescinded or invalidated as a result of the rule Rule does not have the effect of withdrawing any prior EPA approval of a TMDL in Florida Neither the CWA nor EPA regulations require TMDLs to be completed or revised within any specific time period after a change in water quality standards occurs

29 Page 29 Implementation Preamble notes that compliance schedules, variances, and use changes can be used EPA economic analysis implies that AWT is sufficient for domestic wastewater facilities EPA is working with DEP and stakeholders to address questions about implementation of criteria Webinars were held

30 Page 30 Economic Analysis EPA significantly underestimated costs to implement the criteria ($130 Million) We think costs more likely to be between $1.7 and $4.8 Billion ANNUALLY EPA cost estimates too low because they only estimated incremental costs, assuming our draft criteria were adopted AND presumed many dischargers would receive some type of relief Our estimates include treatment to meet NNC Reverse Osmosis and/or Deep Well Injection

31 Page 31 Legal Challenges to EPA’s NNC Many parties challenged the regulation, alleging Determination is arbitrary/capricious (a litigation strategy) EPA violated a fundamental precept of the CWA that States have the primary responsibility for adopting water quality standards “Reference” approach for streams is not valid because it does not link nutrients to impairment Criteria are impossible to achieve, and many pristine waters and waters with naturally high nutrients will be deemed impaired EPA failed to follow required administrative procedures

32 Page 32 What’s Next? Lawsuits will take year or more DEP still evaluating the criteria and will need to brief new leadership team Not clear what State rulemaking will be done We will engage the public and craft state rules that implement the criteria in a practical way that reduces pollution without causing unnecessary spending of public and private money

33 Page 33 For More Information


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