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Site Specific Water Quality Criteria In Pennsylvania

 
(LAST REVISED ON 11/04/2015)
 
According to 25 Pa Code Section 93.8d, the Department is required to maintain publicly available lists of site-specific criteria.
§ 93.8d. Development of site-specific water quality criteria.

(a)  The Department will consider a request for site-specific criteria when one or more of the following apply:
   (1)  There exist site-specific biological or chemical conditions of receiving waters which differ from conditions upon which the water quality criteria were based.
   (2)  More stringent criteria are needed for a parameter listed in §  93.7 (relating to specific water quality criteria) to protect more sensitive, intervening uses.
   (3)  There exists a need for a site-specific criterion for a substance not listed in § 93.8c, Table 5 (relating to water quality criteria for toxic substances).
(b)  The request for site-specific criteria must include the results of scientific studies for the purpose of:
(1)  Defining the areal boundaries for application of the site-specific criteria which will include the potentially affected wastewater dischargers identified by the Department, through various means, including, but not limited to, the total maximum daily load (TMDL) process described in Chapter 96 (relating to water quality standards implementation) or biological assessments.
(2)  Developing site-specific criteria which protect the surface water’s existing and designated uses.
(c)  Scientific studies shall be performed in accordance with the procedures and guidance in the Water Quality Standards Handbook (EPA 1994), as amended and updated, including: ‘‘Guidance on the Determination and Use of Water-Effect Ratios for Metals’’ (February 1994); and the ‘‘Methodology for Deriving Ambient Water Quality Criteria for the Protection of Human Health’’ (2000). Other guidance approved by the Department, which is based on other EPA-approved or scientifically defensible methodologies, may be used.

(d)  Prior to conducting studies specified in subsections (b) and (c), a proposed plan of study shall be submitted to the Department for review, consideration and approval.

(e)  Signed copies of all reports including toxicity test data shall be submitted to the Department within 60 days of completion of the tests.

(f)  If the Department determines that site-specific criteria are appropriate in accordance with subsection (a), the Department will do the following:
(1)  Publish the site-specific criterion in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, along with other special conditions under § 92a.82(b)(3) (relating to public notice of permit applications and draft permits) and provide for public participation and public hearing in accordance with §§ 92a.81, 92a.82, 92a.83 and 92a.85.
(2)  Maintain publicly available lists of site-specific criteria.
(3)  Submit the methodologies used for site-specific criteria development to the EPA’s Regional Administrator for review and approval, within 30 days of Department’s final action.
(4)  Prepare a recommendation to the EQB in the form of proposed rulemaking, incorporating that criterion for the water body segment.
(g)  If the Department determines that new Statewide criteria or modifications to Statewide criteria are appropriate, the Department will prepare a recommendation to the EQB in the form of proposed rulemaking, incorporating the criteria into this chapter. The new criteria and changes to the criteria will become effective following adoption by the EQB as final rulemaking and publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

(h)  A person challenging a Department action under this section shall have the burden of proof to demonstrate that the Department’s action does not meet the requirements of this section.

Site-Specific Water Quality Criteria Development Methods may include:
 
Criteria Recalc – Criteria Recalculation:
  • Appendix B: the Recalculation Procedure.   Interim Guidance on Determination and Use of Water-Effect Ratios for Metals.  U.S. EPA. Feb. 1994.   (EPA-823-B-94-001)
WER – Water-Effect Ratio:
  • Interim Guidance on Determination and Use of Water-Effect Ratios for Metals.  U.S. EPA. Feb. 1994.   (EPA-823-B-94-001)
  • Streamlined Water-Effect Ratio Procedure for Discharges of Copper.   U.S. EPA.  March 2001.   (EPA-822-R-01-005)
BLM – Biotic Ligand Model:    (for Freshwater Copper Only)
  • On-line Model Resources & Application available thru HydroQual’s website (www.hydroqual.com/wr_blm.html)
Human Health Criteria Method:
  • Methodology for Deriving Ambient Water Quality Criteria for the Protection of Human Health (2000).  U.S. EPA.  October 2000. (EPA-822-B-00-004)
Aquatic Life Criteria Method:
  • Guidelines for Deriving Numerical National Water Quality Criteria for the Protection of Aquatic Organisms and Their Uses.  U.S. EPA. 1985.  (PB85-227049)
Great Lakes WQ Criteria Methods:
  • Appendix A to Part 132—Great Lakes Water Quality Initiative Methodologies for Development of Aquatic Life Criteria and Values
  • Appendix C to Part 132—Great Lakes Water Quality Initiative Methodologies for Development of Human Health Criteria and Values
Other guidance approved by the Department, which is based on other EPA-approved or scientifically defensible methodologies may be used