The Most Extensive Revisions to Ohio’s Water Quality Standards in 30 Years
Posted: October 26th, 2008Author: All4 Staff
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) has recently released three (3) of four (4) draft water quality rule packages. The draft rule packages for Water Quality Standards, Antidegradation, and Section 401 Water Quality Certifications have been released for public review and comment. The fourth draft rule package for the Stream Mitigation Protocol will be released in early 2009 and comments on all four (4) rule packages will be due 60 days after the release of the fourth package by Ohio EPA. According to Ohio EPA, these draft rules contain the most extensive revisions to Ohio’s water quality standards in 30 years and will impact virtually all industry sectors in Ohio.
The revisions to these rules will:
- Update surface water standards to reflect the most recent scientific information and U.S. EPA guidance;
- Expand the number of beneficial uses of water recognized in the Ohio water quality standards to include drainage, navigation and primary headwater habitat;
- Update the antidegradation rule to improve protection of high-quality waters;
- Reduce the time and work needed to issue permits, especially Section 401 water quality certifications; Establish a method to implement protective stream mitigation requirements inSection 401 water quality certifications; and
- Create a State Water Quality Permit to regulate impacts to “waters of the state” that no longer fall under Clean Water Act jurisdiction.
These rule revisions will increase the complexity and stringency of the water rules and will affect anyone who holds a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) wastewater discharge permit in Ohio.