United States          Office of Water         EPA-823-N-97-005
                         Environmental Protection  Mail Code 4305         Spring-Summer
                         Agency	Washington, DC 20460    1997	
                   WATER QUALITY
                   CRITERIA AND


      Water quality criteria provide the scientific underpinning for the water quality program.
They define the chemical, physical, and biological aspects of water quality needed to protect the
designated uses of the water that States and Tribes adopt in their water quality standards. As the
water quality program has progressed over the years, EPA's development of water quality criteria
has become an increasingly sophisticated and complex process. By the time EPA publishes
criteria under section 304(a) of the Clean Water Act, they have gone through a careful
development process involving many offices in EPA. Many steps are also involved when a State
or EPA authority uses criteria to develop effluent limits for dischargers, or total maximum daily
loads for waterbodies.  To ensure that all of these processes go well within EPA, we have recently
established a Water Quality Criteria Steering Committee and two Technical Review Committees.
We would like our readers to know about these efforts, even though their work will be mostly
behind the scenes, since we believe they will help us improve our ability to serve the "customers"
for criteria—States, Tribes, and the public.

      The Water Quality Criteria Steering Committee is being established to identify and address
emerging water quality criteria issues within EPA in a timely fashion and facilitate communication
on these issues between Regional and Headquarters Offices. The Steering Committee is
composed of managers from the EPA Regional Offices, the Office of Water (OW), the Office of
Research and Development (ORD) and the Office of General Counsel. The Steering Committee
will work in conjunction with two Technical Review Committees (human health and aquatic life)
which will draw from the scientific water quality expertise residing in various EPA offices.  The
Technical Review Committees will evaluate scientific issues related to the development,
implementation and interpretation of water quality criteria.

         The membership of the committees is limited to EPA staff since the purpose is to enhance
  the internal management and implementation of the Agency's water quality criteria program  The
  mechanisms already in place to work with  EPA's partners in the water quality program, including
  the States, municipalities, industries and public and private interest groups, will continue to be
  used to ensure that communications outside the Agency are timely and effective.


  The primary objectives of the Steering Committee include the following:

        •     Identify the process for addressing water quality issues in a structured and timely
        •     Support the establishment and maintenance of a database for criteria development
              and revision;
        •     Identify the long-term needs or activities of the water quality criteria program
              including the appropriate office(s) to take responsibility.
        •     Establish a Communications Protocol which facilitates efficient and productive
              communication between OW, ORD and the Regional Offices;

 The objectives of the Technical Review Committees include the following:

        •      Work with staff on the development of or revision to water quality criteria
              documents for proposal and final publication;
        •      Evaluate and make scientific and technical recommendations on ad hoc issues
              brought to the Steering Committee;
        •   '   Critically review toxicity data to make recommendations or revisions to the criteria
        •      Provide technical input and expertise to State, local and EPA staff on
              interpretation and use of water quality criteria.

 Current Status

       Since the Steering Committee was initiated in February 1997, four meetings have been
 held via teleconferencing.  The initial meetings of the Steering Committee have been used to agree
 on operational procedures and review the status of the various criteria program activities. The
 existing Aquatic Life Guidelines Committee will serve as the technical review committee for
 ecological criteria issues.  Actions have been initiated to staff the technical review committee for
 human health criteria.  The Committees' next priorities include completion of the
 communications protocol  and establishment of a user-friendly database which .will be an up-to-
 date source of information on the current water quality criteria and their supporting data.

       Alan Hais and Fred Leutner, Office of Science and Technology (OST) will initially chair
and co-chair the Steering Committee, respectively.  Other members of the Steering Committee
include: Sally Marquis and Bob Robichaud (Region 10); Joan Karnauskas (Region 5); Cheryl
Overstreet (Region 6); Margarete Heber (Office of Wastewater Management); Don Brady (Office
of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds); Steve Hedtke and Lynn Papa (Office of Research and

Development); and Lee Schroer (Office of General Counsel). The Aquatic Life Guidelines
Committee currently includes Charles Stephan, Russ Erickson and Glen Thursby (ORD) and
Charles Delos (OST); additional members may be added. Please contact Heidi Bell, the OST
Steering Committee Coordinator, at (202) 260-5464 or bell.heidi@epamail.epa.gov for more
                                          TTE WILTSE
                                    DIRECTOR, HEALTH &
                                    ECOLOGICAL CRITERIA DIVISION



 One session of the "Water Quality Standards Academy" will be held this fiscal year.  The "Water
 Quality Standards Academy" is a highly structured training course on all aspects of the water
 quality standards and criteria program. The course is designed for those with fewer than six
 months experience with the water quality standards and criteria program. Others may benefit
 from the course, including veterans of the water quality standards and criteria program who want
 a refresher course. The course will be held July 28-August 1,  1997 in Washington, DC. There is
 no cost to attend this training course. Registration is required. EPA will send written
 confirmation of acceptance into the course. Contact: Kate Belmont, The Cadmus Group Inc   at
 (703) 931-8701 for registration information.


 The EPA  Office of Water and Region 7 will co-host a meeting August 25-28, 1997 in St. Louis,
 Missouri.  The objective of the meeting is to provide an exchange of scientific, technical and
 policy information on water quality standards, water quality criteria and water quality-based
 permitting.  This meeting is an expansion of the multi-regional  meetings on water quality
 standards  and criteria that were held in past years.

 The four-day meeting is open to anyone interested in these topics, including representatives from
 States, Indian Tribes, Federal agencies, environmental groups, industrial groups, municipalities.,
 the academic community, EPA and others. The meeting theme is "Development and
 Implementation of Tools for Water Quality-based Pollution Control." There is no charge to
 attend this meeting. You must, however, pre-register. Contact Liz Heitt, Tetra Tech Inc., (703)
 385-6000  for registration and other pertinent information.


 The Office of Water is sponsoring a series of "BASINS Water Quality Modeling Workshops" to
 be held through December 1997.  These workshops are for you, if you are involved in
 developing, reviewing or approving total maximum daily loads  (TMDLs) for controlling point and
 nonpoint sources using the watershed approach. The number of attendees for each workshop will
 be limited to 30.  To learn more about the uses of BASINS, to obtain an announcement, or to
 assure your place in the BASINS workshop, call the Regional point-of-contact indicated below as
 soon as possible.  There is no registration fee associated with the workshops.

BASINS, which stands for Better Assessment Science Integrating Point and Nonpoint Sources, is
 a new geographic information system application developed by  EPA to help  States and tribes
 evaluate existing data sources to identify waterbodies that may not be achieving water quality
standards.  BASINS is being used increasingly in developing total maximum daily loads (TMDLs)
required by the Clean Water Act.  The heart of BASINS is its suite of interrelated components

 that are grouped into three categories: (1) national database Data Extraction tool and dynamic
 Project Builder tool; (2) assessment tools (TARGET, ASSESS and Data Mining) that address
 needs ranging from large-scale to small-scale; and (3) watershed and water quality models
 including NPSM (HSPF (version 10)), TOXIROUTE, and QUAL2E (version 3.2). BASINS'
 databases and assessment tools are directly integrated within an ArcView 2.1 geographic system

 The Regional point-of-contact will send course announcements to the intended audience 6-8
 weeks ahead of the scheduled workshop date.  The BASINS course schedules, and names and
 telephone numbers of the Regional points-of-contact are as follows:
Point of Contact    Telephone #
Nov 3-7.
July 28-Aug 1
June 9-13
April 14-18
Oct 6-10
June 23-27
May 12-16
Sep 15-19
August 19-22
July 14-18
                                 Mark Voorhees
                                 Steve Wood
                                 Tom Henry
                                 Margaret Thielke
                                 Brad Jennings
                                 Jerry Pitt
                                 Tony Ott
                                 David Smith
                                 James Curry
                                      (617) 565-4436
                                      (212) 637-3866
                                      (215) 566-5752
                                      (404) 562-9243
                                      (214) 665-7255
                                      (913) 551-7766
                                      (415) 744-2012
                                      (206) 553-6912
(202) 260-1542


The Interim Economic Guidance for Water Quality Standards: Workbook (hereinafter referred to
as "Workbook") is available on the world wide web at http://www.epa.gov/OST/econ. This
document was published in March 1995 (EPA-823-B-002). It is the Agency's first product for
describing economic methods that could be used in the water quality standards program.  The
"Workbook" is designed to assist States and Indian Tribes in understanding the economic factors
that may be considered and the types of tests that can be used to determine: 1) if a designated use
cannot be attained, 2) if a variance to an individual discharger can be granted or 3) if degradation
of high quality water is warranted.  This document provides a framework for making these
determinations. The measures and tests suggested in this guidance are standard economic
analytical tools. The "Workbook" provides methods for considering the economics for public and
private entities and for communities. Contact: George Denning (202) 260-7374, e-mail address


 On August 29, 1996, EPA published for public comment, proposed Federal water quality
 standards for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (61 FR 45379-45385) to comply with a court
 order in Raymond Profitt Foundation v. Browner.  The proposed standards were to address
 aspects of Pennsylvania's antidegradation policy that were disapproved by EPA in 1994.

 The public comment period for this proposed rule closed on October 16, 1996.  After reviewing
 the comments received, EPA published the final rule on December 9, 1996 (61 FR 64816-61822).
 The final federal water quality standards establish a three-tiered antidegradation policy consistent
 with federal minimum requirements (contained in 40CFR Part 131.12) for the Commonwealth of

 If the Commonwealth adopts revisions to its antidegradation policy that are consistent with the
 Federal requirements, EPA will withdraw this Federal rule. For additional information, contact
 Bob Shippen at (202) 260-1329 or at Shippen.Robert@epamail.epa.gov.


 On February 20, 1997, as a result of a lawsuit filed by the Idaho Conservation League and Idaho
 Sporting Congress, the United States District Court for the District Court of Washington ruled
 that EPA had failed to carry out its mandatory duty to promulgate federal water quality standards
 to address those portions of Idaho's standards disapproved on June 25, 1996.  The District Court
 ordered EPA to propose replacement standards by April 21, 1997, and to promulgate final
 standards 90 days thereafter (July 21, 1997).

 On Monday, April 21, 1997, Carol Browner, Administrator of EPA, signed proposed water
 quality standards for Idaho (62 FR 23003; April 28, 1997). EPA's proposed rule contains 1) a
 default use designation of fishable/swimmable for unclassified waters, 2) fishable/swimmable uses
 for 53 specific stream segments, 3) species-specific temperature criteria for threatened and
 endangered species (i.e., bulltrout, sturgeon, and snails), 4) an antidegradation policy for
 outstanding national resource waters (ONRWs), 5) narrative criteria for water quality within a
 mixing zone, and 6) clarification that waters of the U.S. are subject to water quality standards.
 Due to the scope of the court order, and the time frames specified in the court order, EPA did not
 collect information on the attainability, or lack thereof, of "fishable/swimmable" uses for the
 waters listed in the June 1996 disapproval letter. Therefore, EPA had to propose beneficial uses
 based on the goal uses of the Clean Water Act for those waters.

 In addition to a 30 day comment period, EPA held two public hearings in Boise, Idaho, on May
 12. Idaho has already submitted revisions to its antidegradation policy for ONRWs,  and restored
fishable/swimmable uses for 2 of the 53 streams. EPA is currently reviewing the State revisions
and will approve or disapprove the revised standards.  In addition, Idaho has been utilizing
emergency rule procedures to address many of the other issues for which EPA proposed
replacement standards. During the comment period, EPA sought data and information from the
public on the appropriateness of the proposed designated beneficial uses and will revise them as
needed.  Additionally, EPA continues to work with Idaho to resolve remaining issues. For more

 information and to view the complete text of the Federal Register notice see EPA's web site at
 "http://www.epa.gov/OST/Rules/", or call Lisa Macchio of U.S. EPA Region 10 at (206) 553-


 In May 1996, the Office of Water sent the interim draft Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
 (ANPRM) on the water quality standards regulation to each State and Territory, over 100 Indian
 Tribes, environmental advocates, industry and municipal representatives and interested parties.
 Comments on the scope of the document and the characterization of the issues were received
 from 73 respondents.  Many commenters suggested that EPA narrow the scope of issues to be
 addressed in the ANPRM and sharpen and focus the revised ANPRM on those issues for which a
 regulatory change would be possible or desirable. EPA officials are meeting with stakeholder
 groups concerning their comments. EPA will revise the draft ANPRM to respond to public
 comments and to narrow the scope of issues to be included in the ANPRM.  In narrowing the
 scope of the ANPRM, EPA intends to focus on the issues identified by stakeholders as high
 priority for improving the national water quality and the standards program.  Federal Register
 publication of the ANPRM is expected during Summer 1997. Contact: Rob Wood (202) 260-
 9536 or Wood.Robert@epamail.epa.gov.


 On May 21, 1997, EPA proposed to withdraw the applicability of the Federal human health
 criteria for arsenic in Alaska that were promulgated by EPA in the National Toxics Rule (NTR).

 In the NTR (57 FR 60848, December 22, 1992), EPA promulgated Federal regulations
 establishing water quality criteria for priority toxic pollutants in several States, including Alaska
 (codified at 40 CFR 131.36). In that Federal action, EPA promulgated aquatic life and human
 health criteria in the State, including human health criteria for arsenic. However, the State has the
 arsenic maximum contaminant level (MCL) in place along with aquatic life criteria for arsenic
which appears to meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act.

If finalized, this rulemakmg would make the State's own criteria applicable for all purposes under
the Clean Water Act, including limits in National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
 (NPDES) permits.  EPA will also solicit comments on whether there are any locations in Alaska
where the arsenic criteria in the NTR should  not be removed. For additional information, contact
Kent Ballentine at 260-1323 or ballentine.kent@epaniail.epa.gov.

 (202) 260-1330


 A new document titled Book II. Streams and Rivers. Parti: Biochemical Oxygen
 Demand/Dissolved Oxygen andNutrients/Eutrophication is now available.  This guidance
 document assists water quality analysts to assess impacts of point and nonpoint source discharges
 on water quality of rivers and streams in terms of biochemical oxygen demand and eutrophication.
 The manual includes many examples of uses and limitations of fate and transport models in
 assessing the impacts of nutrients and organic wastes on water quality of rivers and streams. Also
 the manual includes a diskette which contains model inputs necessary to illustrate site-specific
 model applications.

 This document combines chapters one and two of the 1983 Technical Guidance Manual for
 Performing Waste Load Allocations, Bookll'mto a single document. It eliminates duplicative
 information on hydrodynamics, nutrient and dissolved oxygen interactions, and physical
 characteristics of streams and rivers.  Also, this document includes updated information on
 modeling, reaction rate coefficients, field measurement techniques, etc. In addition, it includes
 several new examples using EPA-supported water quality models such as QUAL2E and WASPS.

 To order a copy of this document, please write to: USEPA, National Center for Environmental
 Publications and Information, 11029 Kenwood Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45242; fax (513) 489-
 8695. The document number is EPA-823-B-95-007.


 We now have two pages on EPA's web server that provide information on BASINS (see article
 above). The first page is a fact sheet on BASINS. The fact sheet gives an overview of all the
 BASINS components and describes how they tie together. The analytical tools built into
 BASINS are described, as are the environmental data and map coverages. A section on predictive
 modeling describes the nonpoint and water quality models used in BASINS.   There is also
 information on the hardware/software requirements to run BASINS, and a list of contacts for
further information and ordering a copy.

The second BASINS page contains answers to FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - a net
abbreviation for questions on a topic that come up repeatedly.  In this page we condensed the
most common questions from users who were setting up or using BASINS.  In addition to
answering questions, the FAQ also provides a location to  announce updates to the system and bug
fixes, and provide easy links to new information that has come out since BASINS was released,
such as the new on-line version of QUAL2E documentation.

Both BASINS web pages can be found by looking under "What's New" in EPA's home page,
under  "Tools" on the OST Home page, or by entering the following URLs:

Fact sheet

Frequently Asked Questions

(202) 260-5388


EPA has established a national bathing beach health protection program. The Agency formally
announced the Beaches Environmental Assessment, Closure, and Health (BEACH) Program on
May 23, 1997.

EPA's BEACH Program was established to improve the health of beach goers through assistance
to state, tribal, and local health and environmental officials in designing, developing and
implementing beach monitoring and advisory programs.  Strong water quality standards,
improved scientific methods, and providing information to the public are the key elements of the
BEACH Program. During the next several years, the program will focus on:

•      improving the scientific and policy foundations in support of local, State, and tribal action.
       EPA encouraged responsible parties to adopt updated bacteriological ambient water
       quality criteria. We also intend to invite representatives to a national beach health
       conference later this year;
       providing improved test methods and indicators to better protect the health of beach goers
       in a more timely and comprehensive manner;
•      developing better predictive models to help notify the public of potential risks; and
•      enhancing the public's right-to-know about the safety of their local beaches by establishing
       and disseminating a national beach contamination data base.

As part of EPA's commitment to ensure the public right-to-know, we created an Internet website
and written materials.  These materials and the website make it easier for everyone to find out
about local beach water quality conditions, beach advisories, closures, and other pertinent

EPA's new website on the Internet, called "Beach Watch," is an on-line directory of information
about the water quality at our nation's beaches, local protection programs, and other beach-
related programs. The "Beach Watch" website is located on the Internet at
http://www.epa.gov/OST/beaches. EPA is working with environmental and health officials from
state, tribal, county, and city government agencies, other federal agencies and the public to collect
and update information on beach closings, their monitoring and advisory programs and other

relevant information. This information is posted on "Beach Watch." Beach closings and local
contacts are listed by state where available. We are working to provide national coverage of local
beach information and will make this and other information available through "Beach Watch" and
other sources. "Beach Watch" will be updated as new information becomes available.

Government agencies, tourism boards, environmental groups and others are encouraged to
contact EPA about contributing health related studies, reports, and appropriate questions and

Summary information about specific aspects of the BEACH program will be included in future
issues of this Newsletter.

Beach Health Information Request
I am interested in receiving information about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's beach health
program that is being developed.  Please add my name to the information request database.


Title:	          .	


Street Address (or PO Box):	

City:	;	


ZIP (postal code):	

Country (if not U.S.):	

Phone: (      )	-	

FAX:  (      )          	;	

Government:   	Federal  	State  _Regional  	County  	City  	Other

Other:   __Industry  _Academic   __Environmental	Public Interest  __Tribal   	Other
                                        Send Form to:

                             U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
                                National Beach Health Program
                            Attn: Mr. Rick Hoffmann (mail code 4305)
                                        401M St. SW
                                    Washington, DC 20460
                                     FAX: (202) 260-9830
YES	, Please send me a copy of the January 13,1997,  letter and add me to the mailing list.

NO	, Do not send me the January 13,1997, letter. Just add me to the mailing list.

 (202) 260-0658


 Dr. Jeanette Wiltse was recently appointed Director of the Health and Ecological Criteria
 Division (HECD).  She has held a variety of positions in several programs during her 19 year
 career at EPA. Prior to joining the Office of Water, she was Associate Director, National Center
 for Environmental Assessment, Office of Research and Development. She served as the Agency's
 National Air Toxics Coordinator and as Chief of the Risk Analysis Branch of the Office of Toxic
 Substances. Dr. Wiltse was an attorney in the Office of General Counsel, U.S. Product Safety
 Commission before joining the EPA. Dr. Wiltse earned a Ph.D. degree in Biochemical Genetics
 from the University of Minnesota and an M.S. in Microbiology from Baylor University. She
 received a J.D. from the George Washington University, Washington, DC. She is a member of
 the bar in Texas and in the District of Columbia.

 Dr. Vicki Dellarco is the Senior Science Advisor in the Health and Ecological Criteria Division.
 She joined the EPA in 1980 where she worked in the Office of Research and Development
 (ORD). She brings to the Office of Water over 17 years experience in the area of health risk
 assessment. Prior to joining the Office of Water, she was Senior Health Scientist hi ORD's
 National Center for Environmental Assessment. Dr. Dellarco's professional experience has
 focused on the genetic effects of environmental chemicals and how gene-chemical interactions
 lead to carcinogenesis, genetic disease and developmental effects. Dr. Dellarco serves on the
 editorial boards for the journals Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis and Mutation
 Research.   She has taught genetic toxicology and serves as a council member to the
 Environmental Mutagen Society. Dr. Dellarco received a Ph.D. in Genetics from Iowa State
 University in 1980.

 Dr. Rita Schoeny is an Associate Director, Health and Ecological Criteria Division.  She joined
 EPA in 1986 and has held various positions in the Office of Research and Development. Prior to
joining the Office of Water, she was the Science Advisor for the National Center for
 Environmental Assessment-Cincinnati Group. Dr. Schoeny received a B.S. in Biology at the
 University of Dayton and a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the School of Medicine, University of
 Cincinnati.  Following completion of a post doctoral fellowship at the Kettering Laboratory,
 Department of Environmental Health, she was appointed Assistant Professor, Department of
 Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati Medical School. She holds appointments as
 Volunteer Associate Professor of Environmental Health (University of Cincinnati) and Adjunct
 Professor of Toxicology at the University of Kentucky, Lexington.


 The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FLDEP) has  developed the Florida Stream
 Condition Index (SCI) as one of the tools it uses to maintain and protect the ecosystem health of
the State's waters. A document is now available which outlines the methods, metrics, etc. which

are used as part of the SCI to assess the biological condition of waters in the State of Florida. For
more information, or to receive a copy, contact Ellen McCarron at FLDEP: (904) 921-9499, or
E-mail Mccarron.E@dep.state.fl.us.


The Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds (OWOW) of the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency is in the process of revising the Rapid Reassessment Protocols (RBPs) (Plafkin et al.
1989) based on refinements in the methods that have occurred from testing and implementation of
the approach over the past 7 years. Methods for periphyton, and guidance for a performance-
based methods system (PBMS) are additions to the RBPs. This revision of the RBPs features
methods that are more flexible for sampling aquatic habitat in proportion to its natural
representation in the system. Improved techniques for habitat assessment and benthic
subsampling are also included.

The EPA web site includes an annotated outline of the revised RBPs and a time line for
development and completion of the methods, as well as deadlines for receiving comments on the
various chapters and revisions.

To access the document, the URL on the EPA Home Page is:



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Environmental Protection Agency
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Washington, DC 20460

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