United States             Office of Water            EPA-823-N-95-006
                      Environmental Protection      Mail Code 4305            OCTOBER 1995
                      Agency                 Washington, DC 20460
SEPA           Water  Quality
                      Criteria  and


            EPA is preparing to publish an advance notice of proposed rule making
      (ANPRM) seeking views and recommendations from interested parties on possible
      revisions to the Water Quality Standards Regulation at 40 CFR Part 131. States and
      EPA have developed functional water quality standards programs under the current
      regulations and these programs generally work. Simply put, the current regulation is
      not broken. Rather, with the renewed interest in watershed management combined with
      improved methods for water quality assessment, a comprehensive evaluation of this
      regulation is appropriate at this time. We need to examine whether changes in the
      regulation could enhance water quality management on a watershed basis.  A review of
      the regulation will also compliment similar outreach discussions EPA is  currently
      undertaking for the purposes of reviewing the water quality planning and management
      and TMDL programs as well as the NPDES program.  EPA is committed to ensuring
      that these programs, combined, ultimately form an integrated basis for  water quality
      planning, priority setting and implementation  on a watershed  basis.

            Changes may be needed  to the water quality standards regulation to better reflect
      the environmental priorities and issues we face going into the 21st century. EPA
      believes the challenges presented by increasingly complex threats to water quality and
      competition for limited resources require us to consider revisions which re-emphasize
      and strengthen our water quality decisionmaking. A review of the water quality
      standards regulation could identify opportunities to integrate new science into a basin
      management approach that enables flexible, sensible decisions.

            The ANPRM process allows EPA to begin this work by consulting with all
      interested parties to find out what, if any, changes are necessary and desirable to make
      the water quality standards regulation more responsive to current needs and to identify

opportunities for further clarifications of policy and guidance by EPA.  In the twelve
years since EPA last revised the water quality standards regulation, interested parties
have gained considerable experience in developing and implementing water quality
standards. This experience will provide valuable information for review of these

       The most significant shift in  water quality management programs in recent years
has been the increased emphasis on the use of watershed based programs. It is
increasingly apparent that  we share a common view that water quality programs,
including water quality standards, can be better tailored to the characteristics,
problems, risks and chances for success in individual watersheds or basins with
meaningful involvement of the local communities. The water quality standards
regulation should ensure that States and Tribes have the flexibility to define the water
quality standards and hence the environmental objectives of a waterbody according to
the characteristics of the ecosystem  and the needs of the water's users.  The regulation
must allow the states to tailor waterbody use designations and criteria to protect these
uses within individual basins or watersheds based on environmental and social needs in
the basin.  The present use of  broad, statewide use classifications and lists of associated
chemical criteria may be too general,  lacking the refinement necessary to tailor water
quality management actions to  specific watersheds.   Additionally, it should be made
clearer that States and Tribes have  the flexibility to adjust use designations as
information improves about whether a designated use can be attained and to reflect
natural and human caused changes  in water quality that may have occurred.  We must
identify opportunities to make water quality standards more flexible and at the same
time more integrated to address multiple stressors and their cumulative impacts in order
to more effectively protect  designated uses.

       Significant scientific advancements over the last twelve years have added to our
ability to assess environmental  impacts and risks related to changes in water quality.  As
they are further developed, new and emerging sophisticated and  integrated analytical
tools such as bioassessment, bioaccumulative chemical criteria, sediment quality criteria
and toxicity assessments will increasingly allow us to better characterize the ecological
condition of water resources.  At present, this improving capability, utilized in a
tailored watershed planning and management framework, can enhance the States'
ability to characterize and  protect locally agreed upon goals for maintaining and
protecting chemical, physical and biological integrity of individual basins.   At the same
time, we must concede that at any given time, no matter how good our assessment
methods, our knowledge about  natural and social systems is imperfect and incomplete.
In the  long term, chemical, physical and biological assessment methods will continue to
improve.  As they do, we need  to ensure that the standards program can effectively
accommodate the new science and what it can tell us.  In the meantime, we should not
allow progress to be stalled by  incomplete knowledge.

       The water quality standards  program must protect the nation's waters as
envisioned in the Clean Water Act.  It must establish requirements that are necessary to
attain  and maintain healthy, sustainable ecosystems.  It must be flexible enough for

States to ensure that standards are protecting water quality in a way that makes sense.
We must avoid a program that results in costly requirements that have little or no
environmental benefit.  We can utilize the experience gained by EPA, States, Tribes,
municipalities, the regulated community and environmental groups implementing water
quality standards over the last twelve years, to assess the regulation and determine if
changes are needed to better reflect local environmental needs in a sensible,
environmentally beneficial way.

      EPA may learn through the ANPRM process that the concepts described above
can be better integrated into water quality management decisionmaking through
development of new or revised  policies and guidance rather than revisions to the
regulation.  Because of this possibility, EPA is reserving its decision whether to propose
and finalize revisions  to the regulation.  EPA will revise the regulation if it is necessary
based on stakeholder  recommendations.   At minimum, EPA believes that any revisions
to the water quality standards regulation should result in reasonable compliance costs
for the regulated community, as well as  reasonable implementation costs for States and
EPA and   be as simple or simpler to implement than the existing regulation.

      The ANPRM is intended to initiate discussions on the current regulation, and
provide a basis for  proceeding with any  revisions.  EPA will consider all comments
before deciding whether to revise the regulation or formulating any proposed revisions
to the regulation.

o     EPA plans to publish the Advance Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM) on
      its water  quality standards regulations in mid-1996.  The ANPRM will present
      and solicit comment on a collection of issues with the intent of identifying
      necessary and desirable changes to the water quality standards program that will
      ensure that the program remains  consistent with the concepts of watershed
      protection and  that it remains flexible enough to evolve as ecological  health
      assessment techniques become more sophisticated. Issues that the ANPRM will
      address include:

             refining designated uses,
             utilizing new criteria science,
             antidegradation policies and procedures,
             the policy on independent applicability,
             mixing zone policies and procedures,
             compliance schedules,
             endangered  species,
             wetlands and water quality standards, and
             environmental justice.

o     EPA is currently developing the draft ANPRM.  Our next steps are to distribute
      the draft for comment to all interested parties in October, and then to revise the
      October draft to incorporate the views of stakeholders.

      After publication of the ANPRM in the Federal Register in mid-1996, EPA will
      hold public meetings in the ten cities where EPA Regional Offices are located.
      EPA will accept public comments through the completion of the public meetings.

      For further information on the ANPRM or to be included in the distribution of
      the October 1995 draft, please call Rob Wood, Manager Water Quality
      Standards Regulation Development at (202) 260-9536.

 (202)  260-1315


The formal training program on the
development of water quality criteria
and standards known as the Water
Quality Standards Academy continued
to prove successful in FY1995.  More
people attended the Academy in FY95
that in FY94. Four hundred and
twenty-seven completed the course,
including representatives of 28 States,
and Territories, and 39 different Indian
Tribes.  Other participants represented
EPA headquarters and regional offices,
municipalities, regional governments,
industrial organizations, environmental
groups, other Federal Agencies, Foreign
Governments and consultants.  A total
of 1077 people are "graduates" of the
Academy. The training was held in
eight different cities around the country
and included a special session for the
U.S.  Fish and Wildlife Service

The Academy provides a basic
foundation in the criteria and standards
program  for people with six months or
less in the program. In practice,
however, much more experienced people
attending the Academy were very
complimentary.  They find the program
to be extremely useful as it is the  first
time  they have had the benefit of
discussing the entire criteria to
standards program as a whole entity and
had real-life experience upon which to
apply the concepts presented during the
Academy discussions.
FY96 plans for the Academy are unclear
given the lack of a budget for the
upcoming fiscal year. The most
optimistic outlook right now is that we
will continue to present the Academy in
FY96 but only about half as many
sessions.  It may be that the Academy
becomes a casualty of reduced funding
levels and resulting decisions on
program  priorities. Frances Desselle
202-260-1320 is responsible for
administering the Academy.


In FY95, 7 more Tribes were authorized
to administer the water quality
standards program and 4 Tribal
standards were approved.  At the end of
FY95, 12 Tribes were authorized to
administer the standards program and
six of those Tribes now  have approved

Tribes authorized to administer the
program  include:
1. Pueblo of Isleta *
2. Pueblo of Sandia *
3. Pueblo of San Juan *
4. Puyallup
5. Seminole
6. Miccosukee
7. Salish-Kootenai
8. Chehalis
9. Santa Clara Pueblo  *
10. Picuris *
11. Nambe Pueblo *
12. Sokaogon  Chippewa

The Tribes above marked with  * have
approved water quality  standards.
Please note that several  other Tribal
standards are actively under review by
EPA and may be approved by the time

this newsletter is actually distributed.
Karen Gourdine 202-260-1328 is the
standards program contact with regard
to Tribal questions.

We are still researching the possibility of
promulgating a generic or basic or
limited (pick your own term) set of
standards that would be  applicable to
Tribes until such time as a Tribe decides
to adopt their own standards. Working
in cooperation with our Office of Indian
Affairs, we are seeking Tribal input as
to whether they support that
promulgation. Once the threshold
question of whether we should
undertake that approach is answered,
the Agency would have several different
options as to how to proceed.
A project in which a contractor is
reviewing existing draft and final State
antidegradation implementation plans to
identify common approaches to
antidegradation issues and innovative
solutions was expected to be completed
by now.  However, end of year funding
problems have caused a delay in
finishing that project.  We believe the
project can be completed during the first
quarter of FY96.  Bob Shippen 202-260-
1329 is managing this project.


Endangered Species Act consultations
with the Fish and Wildlife Service and
the National Marine Fisheries Service
have become an integral part of the
standards program. We developed a
system to track the number of
consultations ongoing and the issues
being discussed. By the end of FY95, 38
informal consultations have been started
and 7 completed.  Six formal
consultations were started and 5
completed.  Karen Gourdine 202-260-
1328 keeps track of these consultations.


The Interim Economic Guidance for use
in the water quality standards program
was published in August.  BUDGET
States and EPA Regional Offices have
copies. Assuming the budget allows, we
will print additional copies in FY96.

(202)  260-5388


Distribution of the second meeting notice
for the National Sediment
Bioaccumulation Conference that will be
held  November  29-December 1 in
Crystal City resulted in a surge of
registrations. At least 220 people to
date  have registered for the conference
including representatives from 17 states
and 8 other federal agencies.  If you are
interested in seeing the agenda and/or

registering for the conference, please
call Leanne Stahl at (202) 260-7055.
Anyone planning to attend the
conference should register as soon as
a. Risk Communication Guidance

The Risk Assessment and Management
Branch within the Office of Science and
Technology has distributed the final
guidance document related to fish
consumption advisories. This document
is titled  Guidance for Assessing
Chemical Contaminant Data for Use in
Fish Advisories,  Volume IV:  Risk
Communication, Publication #: EPA

The main |L,oal of this document is to
assist  professionals working for state
agencies and other interested parties
with their approaches to the complex
area of risk communication. The Risk
Communication volume starts with
sound risk communication principles
and adapts them to the fish consumption
advisory  process. The  document first
provides  an overview of the risk
communication process and its major
components.  Subsequent sections
provide in-depth discussions of such
topics as: problem analysis and
program objectives;  audience
identification and needs assessment;
communication strategy design and
implementation; program  evaluation;
responding to public inquiries; and other
topics. The discussions are illustrated
frequently with "real life"  examples
drawn from numerous  state or regional
fish advisories. The  document is part of
EPA's four volume fish advisory
guidance series titled   Guidance for
Assessing Chemical Contaminant Data for
Use in Fish Advisories.
b. Mercury Proceedings Document

In July, OST distributed copies of the
document titled National Forum on
Mercury in Fish,  Proceedings, EPA
823-R-95-002, June 1995.

The primary purpose of the EPA-
sponsored conference, held last year,
was to transfer "state of the art"
information about mercury to states and
other parties involved with risk
assessment  and fish consumption
advisories.   A variety of topics were
presented in several sessions:
Mercury Overview and Background;
Occurrence in Fish and Wildlife;
Watershed  Effects;  Florida Studies;
Toxicity and Risk Assessment; Risk
Management & Risk Communication;
State Program Needs; National Mercury
Study; and Mercury Control Strategies.
Within each session, there were
individual presentations  followed by
questions from the audience and
responses by the speaker's. The
Proceedings document contains a
summary of each speakers presentation,
a selection  of key graphics, and a
summary of audience questions and

c. To Order a Copy of either document:

Mail, Call, FAX, or Email a request  to:
OW Resource Center (RC4100), 401  M
St., S.W.,  Washington, DC 20460.
Phone Recording Order: (202) 260-7786,
FAX Order:  (202) 260-0386, EMail:
waterpubs@epamail.epa.gov - include

the document title and publication
number.  For more in depth
information about either of these
publications, contact Rick Hoffmann at
(202) 260-0642.


Chemical Contamination in Fish

During FY 95, OST worked with
Purdue University and EPA Region 5 to
develop an environmental education
software program titled Chemical
Contamination  in Fish.  The final
program is now available.  This
overview program covers such topics as
bioaccumulation, information on specific
contaminants and fish consumption
advisories, risk reduction, fish species
and collection methods, survey
approaches,  etc.  OST provided much of
the information for the program by
modifying information from existing
EPA guidance documents to suit an
educational audience.  Purdue
University developed this program and
numerous others as part of a cooperative
effort funded by EPA to produce
software for environmental awareness.
There are several ways to obtain the
EPA/Purdue software program

 > Via FTP from the GLNPO Gopher:
The Great Lakes National Program
Office (GLNPO) Gopher/World Wide
Web site now carries the software listed
above and other educational programs.
The files are in compressed form  and
can be uncompressed using PKUNZIP
version 2.04c or later.  Anonymous FTP
is not yet  available at this site, so point
your gopher it host
glnpogis2. $* epa.gov or use
URL =gopher://glnpogis2. r05. epa.gov: 707
Follow the menus to Educational
Resources in the Great Lakes  and
Software for Environmental Awareness.
The GLNPO gopher is also listed under
the Great Lakes Information Network
(GLIN) gopher and under U.S.
Government Gophers, including EPA
Public Access Gopher (earthl.epa.gov).
For help via GLIN, call (319)  665-9135
or send electronic mail to glin-
help@great-lakes.net.  For help via
GLNPO, send electronic mail  to
reshkin@epamail.epa.gov or
njalli@glnpogis5. r05. epa. go v for
technical questions.

> On Diskette from US EPA Region 5.
Send three (3) formatted 3 Vz" HIGH
DENSITY diskettes for each software
program order; DO NOT SEND
MONEY. Mail the request to:
Karen Reshkin, USEPA Region 5, 77
W. Jackson, S-14J, Chicago, IL 60604-
3590; [Tel. (312) 353-6353]

 (202)  260-1330


Background - Better Assessment  Science
Integrating Point and Nonpoint Sources
(BASINS) is a GIS based tool developed
by EPA's Office of Water to help States
target and evaluate waterbodies that are
not meeting water quality standards.
BASINS brings together data on water
quality and quantity, land uses, point
and nonpoint source loadings, with

supporting nonpoint and water quality
models, allowing for comprehensive
assessments to be performed on any
watershed in the continental U.S.
BASINS was developed to support
implementation of Section 303(d) of the
Clean Water Act, which requires states
to develop TMDLs (Total Maximum
Daily Load) for water bodies not  meeting
water quality standards by allocating
pollutant loads among point and
nonpoint sources. The system will be
distributed on CD ROM to the user
community, and will require ArcView-2
software.  BASINS  has three major
modules -  screening and targeting,
nonpoint source modeling to estimate
loadings to receiving waters, and point-
nonpoint integration.

Screening and targeting - The screening
and targeting module helps the user
characterize a watershed  by looking at
river monitoring and status data from
several sources,  including:

1.     Aggregated STORET data for the
       entire U.S.  These data are  from
       individual monitoring stations
       and have been aggregated over
       time for approximately 50

2.     The National Sediment Inventory.
       The NSI contains sediment
       chemistry, tissue residue, benthic
       invertebrate, toxicity, fish
       abundance,  and histopathology
       data for freshwater and coastal
       sediments.  The NSI includes data
       extracted from the following
       sources: STORET,, Ocean Data
       Evaluation System (ODES),
       NOAA's Coastal Sediment
       Inventory (COSED), Permit
      Compliance System (PCS), and
      Toxic Release Inventory (TRI).

3.     Pollutant loading data from
      permitted dischargers extracted
      from the Permit Compliance
      System (PCS).

4.     Any existing datasets describing
      305(b) or 303(d) waters, where

Region VIII added some funding to this
part of the project to add more of their
States' 303(d), 305(b), and 319 waters to
the GIS coverages, so  this area will be
better mapped. The program will
include some prepared queries to make
it easier for novice Arcview users to
identify hydrologic units and
waterbodies with potential water quality
problems. Future work will focus on the
inclusion of additional data sources,
such as the Fish Consumption Advisory
Database, which contains information on
fish consumption advisories issued by
the States, and on augmenting existing
data sources.

Nonpoint source modeling - The
nonpoint source model helps the user
estimate nonpoint source loadings of
nutrients, sediment, bacteria and toxics
at a cataloging unit level anywhere in
the country using data provided by the
system. The model predicts loadings in
mixed land use watersheds, including
agricultural, forested  and urban areas.
At a catalog unit (USGS 8 digit)  level,
all data required for modeling are
provided  by the system. The properties
of the nonpoint source model are:  Time
step: Variable user defined time step;
Spatial: Initially single watershed,
optional sub-watersheds; Pollutants:
Nutrient species,  sediment, bacteria, and

toxics; Urban: Dust and dirt
accumulation on impervious area;
Rural: Water balance using ET and
infiltration calculation; Base Flow:
Baseflow recession curve -  optional two
stage upper and lower zone; Output:
User defined location and time step.

All data needed to run the model will be
available to the user from within the
system. In addition, the data used in
calculations will be presented to the user
in a series of screens that allow override
of default values.

Work will continue to develop the
screening level sediment transport
assessment technique - described
separately  This model will  provide
relative indices of erosion and deposition
potential in  river beds and can be
graphically displayed within Arc-View.

Point-nonpoint source integration -
Integration of nonpoint and point source
loadings is done by a modified  version of
P-Route (Pollutant Route), a screening
level stream routing model that
performs simple dilution calculations
under mean and low flow conditions for
entire watersheds.  The model integrates
the nonpoint source loadings described
above with point source loadings,
obtained from  permit limits stored in  the
PCS (Permit Compliance System).
There are some basic problems with
combining a continuous nonpoint
loading with a design streamflow, so we
have put in  a variety of options for how
the load integration is done. This allows
the user to combine any percentile of
nonpoint loading from a years
simulation with either mean or 7Q10
flow.   Some pollution problems require
a more detailed modeling approach than
the simple dilution used by  P-Route, but
can still utilize a steady state water
quality model.  For these situations,
BASINS can use the nonpoint and point
source data with QUAL2E, an EPA
water quality model.

Status - A final version should be done
by Sept 30, 1995 and 100 CD's for each
region will be pressed within a month or
so.  For more information call Jerry
LaVeck at 202-260-7771, (email
laveck.jerry@epamail.epa.gov), or
Marge Coombs at 202-260-9821 (email
coombs. mar ge@epamail. epa. gov)


A workshop was held in Chicago on July
31 - August 1 with representatives of
EPA Headquarters and Regions, the
Great Lakes States, and the Council of
Great Lakes Governors. The purpose of
the workshop was to discuss
implementation of the final Water
Quality Guidance for the Great Lakes

Eight organizations have filed petitions
for review of the Agency's issuance of
the final Guidance.  The organizations
are: the American Iron and Steel
Institute, the Association of
Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies, the
Great Lakes Coalition, the Chemical
Manufacturers Association, the National
Wildlife Federation, the American
Forest and Paper Association, General
Electric, and the Edison Electric
Institute.  The deadline has passed  for
filing any more petitions in the Court of
Appeals.  The Department of Justice has
requested the organizations to submit
papers describing their issues.  For more
information, contact Mark Morris (202-

260-0312) or Fred Leutner (202-260-
 (202)  260-0658


John Eaton, from ORD in Duluth, has
advised us of a fish temperature
tolerance data-base they have been
constructing with information from
States (Oklahoma and others). From
the data-base they  are working to
develop temperature criteria for fish
based on presence/absence of 56 fish
species. He also sent copies of two
papers that are available:

Eaton, J.G., J.H. McCormick, B.E.
Goodno, D.G. O'Brien, H.G. Stefan, M.
Hondzo, and R.M. Scheller. 1995.  A
Field Information-based System for
Estimating Fish Temperature
Tolerances.  Fisheries 20:10-18.

Eaton, J.G., and R.M. Scheller.  Effects
of Climate Warming on Fish Thermal
Habitat in Streams of the United States.

If you have any questions for John on
the papers or the data-base, he can be
reached at (218) 720-5557.


(Each issue of the Water Quality
Standards Newsletter will have an article
on biocriteria, in an effort to provide a
forum for discussion)

Biological Criteria: narrative expressions
or numerical values that describe the
biological integrity of aquatic

EPA's early efforts to meet the Clean
Water Act objective of "chemical,
physical and biological integrity" focused
primarily on chemical integrity. The
main focus was on end-of-the-pipe
pollutants and chemical criteria were
used to reduce or eliminate those
contaminants.  As a result, chemical
pollution levels in waterbodies have gone
down dramatically and in many cases
people can catch fish in waters which
were once visibly polluted. Chemically-
based water quality programs have
obviously produced great successes.

Ironically, reductions in  levels of
chemical pollution in waters have
revealed other factors which are
sometimes less obvious, but which also
affect aquatic organisms. Some of these
factors include sedimentation, hydrologic
modification, the introduction of exotic
species, nutrification, habitat alteration,
channelization of rivers and streams,
etc. These conditions have dramatic
effects on the biota living in the waters,
yet meeting chemical criteria does  not
protect the biological community from
these sorts of impacts. To address  this,
EPA decided to support  the development
of biological criteria as a tool which,
when used with existing  water quality
criteria, result in a more comprehensive
strategy to protect water resources.

Biocriteria detect problems other
methods may miss or underestimate,
and provide a  systematic process for
measuring progress resulting from the

 implementation of water quality
 programs. For example, Ohio has
 developed biocriteria based on fish and
 macroinvertebrate communities as an
 indicator of aquatic community health
 and is using them to evaluate the
 effectiveness of various remediation
 projects. On the Olentangy River in
 central Ohio, the construction of
 advanced wastewater treatment plants
 reduced the levels of pollutants in the
 river.  Biological  surveys done at sites
 along the river have shown that the
 aquatic community (ICI-Invertebrate
 Community Index)(Fig.l) has continued
 to improve since the construction of the
 wastewater treatment plants. This
 illustration clearly demonstrates  how the
 aquatic community responds when a
 negative impact is removed from the
 ecosystem, and how this response can
 provide  information on the effectiveness
 of remediation projects. This is just one
 example of the many uses of biological
 criteria in a water quality program.
Next Topic in Biocriteria Series: What is
a Reference Condition?

1 <
I 20
[  ^^ S

3 78 77 78 81 83 85 87

 Figure I. Long-term TVend of the Invertebrate Community
   Index (ICI) at Ohio EPA Annual Monitoring Stations.
Future articles in the Biological Criteria
Series will address field techniques,
reference condition,  severely impacted
areas, ongoing research efforts,and
more. For more information on
biological criteria, contact Candace
Stoughton at (202)260-1737.


 United States
 Environmental Protection Agency
 Washington, DC 20460

 Official Business
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