United States
         Environmental Protection
         Agency
 Office of Water

EPA 820-B-14-003

  August 2014
Water Quality Standards Handbook

Chapter 6: Procedures for Review and
Revision of Water Quality Standards

-------
Water Quality Standards Handbook
Chapter 6: Procedures for Review and  Revision of Water Quality
Standards

(40CFRPart  1 31-Subpart C)

Table of Contents
  Introduction	2
  6.1 State and Tribal Processes for Review and Revision of Water Quality Standards	2
    6.1.1 Coordinate with the EPA	3
    6.1.2 Involve the Public	4
    6.1.3 Review Provisions that are Applicable across the State or Reservation	4
    6.1.4 Select Specific Waterbodies to Review	5
    6.1.5 Evaluate Designated Uses	5
    6.1.6 Evaluate Water Quality Criteria	6
    6.1.7 Evaluate Antidegradation	7
    6.1.8 Submit the Water Quality Standards to the EPA	8
  6.2 EPA Review and Approval or Disapproval of New or Revised Water Quality Standards	8
    6.2.1 Policies and Procedures Related to EPA Approvals	11
    6.2.2 Policies and Procedures Related to EPA Disapprovals	12
  6.3 EPA Promulgation of Federal Water Quality Standards	13
    6.3.1 When the  EPA Might Promulgate Federal Water Quality Standards	13
    6.3.2 When the  EPA Would Withdraw Federally Promulgated Water Quality Standards	13

-------
Introduction

The Clean Water Act (CWA) requires states and authorized tribes to periodically review and, as
appropriate, adopt new or revised water quality standards (WQS) to meet the requirements of the
CWA.1 States and tribes must submit any new or revised WQS resulting from such a review to the EPA
for review and approval or disapproval action under CWA Section 303(c). This chapter provides an
overview of these  state, tribal, and federal processes. In particular, Section 6.1 of this chapter
discusses state and tribal processes for review and revision of WQS and provides information on the
regulatory requirements to which states and tribes must adhere during their WQS review,  adoption,
and submittal  processes. Section 6.2 discusses the EPA review and approval or disapproval
procedures of new or revised WQS. Section 6.3 discusses procedures for EPA promulgation of federal
WQS and circumstances under which the  EPA would withdraw federally promulgated WQS.
6.1  State and Tribal Processes for Review and Revision of Water Quality
Standards

Section 303(c)(l) of the CWA and the EPA's implementing regulations at 40 CFR 131.20 require that
states and authorized tribes, from time to time, but at least once every three years, hold public
hearings to review applicable WQS and, as appropriate, modify and adopt WQS. In each WQS review
cycle, states and tribes, with input from the public, review their existing WQS to identify additions
and/or revisions that are necessary or appropriate to ensure that their WQS meet the requirements
of the CWA and the needs of the state or tribe. States and tribes my revise their WQS in a variety of
ways including additions of and revisions to designated uses, water quality criteria, antidegradation
policies and adopted implementation procedures, or other general policies. The following are
examples of items that states and tribes should consider when reviewing their WQS:

       New federal, state, or tribal statutes, regulations, or guidance.
       Legal decisions involving WQS.
       New or updated scientific information (e.g., new or updated Section 304(a) national criteria
       recommendations).
       Input from members of the public.
       Section 305(b) reports and newly available water quality monitoring data.
       Results of previous WQS triennial reviews.
       Changes in circumstances that affect the attainability of applicable WQS.
       Other necessary or appropriate clarifications or revisions.
1 Throughout this document, the term "states" means the fifty states, the District of Columbia, the
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth
of the Northern Mariana Islands. The term "authorized tribe" or "tribe" means an Indian tribe
authorized for treatment in a manner similar to a state under CWA Section 51 8 for purposes of
Section 303(c) WQS.

-------
Figure 6.1 displays an example of a state or tribal WQS review process.
          Coordinate with the EPA
     Solicit suggestions from the public
       for WQS additions or revisions
        Review statewide provisions
    Select specific waterbodies to review
         Evaluate designated uses
       Evaluate water quality criteria
         Evaluate antidegradation
      Submit draft WQS to the EPA for
              informal review
                                             Yes
                                                        Hold a public hearing on the draft
                                                                      WQS
  Revise draft and adopt final WQS
    Certify WQS through the state
   attorney general or tribal legal
             authority
    Submit final WQS, methods,
justifications, and certification to the
           EPA for review
                                                       Does the EPA approve the final WQS?
                                                                 No
 Does the state or
  authorized tribe
  make necessary
   WQS revisions?
                                                                 No
                                                         The EPA promulgates necessary
                                                                  federal WQS
   Figure 6.1: Example of a State or Tribal WQS Review Process
6.1.1  Coordinate with the EPA
The EPA recommends that states and authorized tribes coordinate with the EPA when they begin the
triennial review process as well as before beginning activities to adopt new or revised WQS, long
before the state or tribe formally submits the WQS for EPA review. Reasons for early coordination
with the EPA include the following:

-------
       Early identification of potential areas of scientific or programmatic concern that require
       resolution between the EPA and the state or tribe.
       Discussion and resolution of any such concerns before the EPA receives a formal review
       request from the state or tribe.
       Increased likelihood that state or tribal WQS meet the  requirements of the CWA and 40 CFR
       Part 1 31 at the time of submission to the EPA.

While not a regulatory requirement,  states and tribes  may send draft WQS to the EPA for early
feedback. The EPA will  then provide  comments on the proposed revisions to assist the state or tribe
in developing WQS that are approvable by the EPA. Coordination between the state or tribe and the
EPA throughout the review process is key to the EPA's timely review of state and tribal WQS.

6.1.2  Involve the Public

An  important component of both the WQS triennial review process and any WQS revisions that result
from such a process is  meaningful involvement of the public and intergovernmental coordination
with local, state, federal, and  tribal entities with an interest in water quality issues. The EPA urges
states and authorized tribes to involve the public actively in the WQS review process by soliciting
suggestions for additions and revisions to WQS. At a  minimum, Section 303(c) of the CWA and 40
CFR 1 31.20 require states and tribes to hold a public  hearing  in reviewing and revising WQS and to
submit the  results to the EPA. The regulation at 40 CFR Part 25 also describes additional
requirements for public involvement. State and tribal  regulations may require more than one
hearing. The EPA also encourages states and tribes to solicit input from the public through other
means such as webinars and web postings using social  media.

Engaging citizens, municipalities, industries, environmentalists, universities, other tribes, other
states, and other entities in collecting and evaluating  information for the decision-making process
may assist the state or tribe in improving the scientific basis of and building support for WQS
decisions. These partnerships ensure that  ideas, data, and information are  shared, which will
increase the effectiveness  of the water quality management  process. Open discussion of the
scientific evidence and  analysis supporting proposed  revisions to the WQS can assist the state or
tribe in making its WQS decisions.

6.1.3  Review Provisions that are Applicable across the State or Reservation

Part of the state or tribal WQS review process includes reviewing the  general policies  and other
provisions that are applicable across the state or reservation to determine if additions or revisions
are  necessary. Such policies and provisions may include, but are not limited to, the following:

       WQS coverage for all waters  of the United States.
       Appropriate use designations including downstream protection  provisions.
       Water quality criteria review  and development.
       Antidegradation policies and implementation  procedures.
       Mixing zone policies.

-------
       Compliance schedule authorizing provisions.
       Low-flow provisions.
       Variance provisions.
       Definitions.

Under the CWA. states and  authorized tribes must adopt WQS for all of their intrastate and interstate
navigable waters, i.e., for all "waters of the United States," within their jurisdiction. The term "waters
of the United States" is  defined at 40 CFR 230.3(s) and 33 CFR Part 328. and other terms relevant to
WQS are defined at 40 CFR  1 31.3. State and tribal WQS should contain these or equivalent definitions
that are at least as inclusive of waters as the federal definitions.

6.1.4 Select Specific Waterbodies to Review

Consistent with 40 CFR 1 31.20(a). states and authorized tribes should use any procedures they have
incorporated into their  Continuing Planning Process for identifying and reviewing WQS on specific
waterbodies (see also 40 CFR 1 30.5). Every three years, states and tribes must reexamine any
waterbodies for which the WQS do not include the goal uses specified in Section 1 01 (a)(2) of the
CWA and, if new information indicates that such uses are attainable, revise their WQS to reflect such
uses. In addition to such waterbodies, the  EPA recommends that states and tribes consider
conducting a detailed WQS  review for waterbodies where one or more of the following occur:

       The  state or tribe has identified toxic or other pollutants, such as  nutrients, that may be
       precluding attainment of a designated use or posing an unreasonable risk to human health.
       Pollutants could have potential adverse impacts on threatened or endangered species.
       National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits containing water quality-based
       effluent limits are scheduled to be issued or reissued.
       Funding decisions for combined sewer overflows are pending.
       The  public has expressed  interested  in having the state review the WQS that are applicable  to
       a particular waterbody.

States and tribes may find it useful to identify such waters  by examining reports and listings
developed under Sections 303(d), 304(1), 305(b), and 31 9 as well as unclassified waters, construction
grants priority lists, and expired major permits. States and tribes may have other reasons for
deciding to examine  a waterbody  in detail  such as human health problems, court orders, public
input, or the economic  and  social  impacts  of implementing the existing WQS.

6.1.5 Evaluate Designated Uses

Once the state or authorized tribe has selected priority waterbodies for review, the state or tribe
must evaluate the  designated uses. An integral part of the  WQS review and revision process is
considering  whether a selected waterbody is able to attain  its  designated  use and, if such waters had
not included the uses specified in CWA Section 1 01 (a)(2), whether such uses are now attainable, as
required by  40 CFR 1 31.20(a). This consideration may involve some level of data collection up to and
including  a full waterbody survey and assessment; however, an intensive survey of the waterbody is

-------
not necessary if adequate data are already available. The data and information collected from the
waterbody survey should provide a firm basis for evaluating whether the waterbody can attain its
designated use or a designated use closer to the uses specified in Section 1 01 (a)(2) in light of the
factors precluding attainment described at 40 CFR 131.1 0(g). The purpose of the evaluation is to
characterize present uses, attainable/unattainable designated uses, and the reasons why uses are
unattainable. Information generated in the survey also can be used to establish the  basis for
seasonal uses and subcategories of uses.

Where designated uses that include the uses specified in Section  1 01 (a)(2) are not feasible to attain,
states and tribes should determine the designated use that is feasible to attain  in light of the factors
precluding attainment and any other data that were used to evaluate attainability. To that end, the
state  or tribe may conduct a use attainability analysis (UAA) to demonstrate that attaining the use is
not feasible  based on one of the factors at 40 CFR 131.1 0(g) and then designate the use(s)  that can
be attained given the physical, chemical, and biological limitations of the waterbody.

In designating uses  and the water quality criteria necessary to protect the  uses, it is important to
emphasize that each state and tribe must "ensure that its water quality standards provide for the
attainment and maintenance of the water quality standards of downstream waters," as  required  by
40 CFR  131.1 0(b). The  EPA recommends that states and tribes consider the interaction between  both
point- and nonpoint- source discharges and downstream impacts as well as the fact that the
downstream uses may not be affected by the same physical or other limitations as the upstream
uses.  For additional information on protecting downstream waters, see Protection of Downstream
Waters in Water Quality Standards: Frequently Asked Questions (201 4).

Please refer to Chapter 2 of this Handbook for a detailed discussion of designated uses.

6.1.6  Evaluate Water Quality Criteria

The regulation at 40 CFR 131.11 provides  that states and authorized tribes "must adopt those water
quality criteria that protect the designated use." If a state or tribe revises a designated  use or adopts
a new designated use, the state or tribe must ensure that it has adopted criteria to protect the new
or revised designated use. If the state or tribe removes  a designated use, the state or tribe  may
delete the criteria to protect the designated use as long as there are still criteria to protect the
remaining uses.

The regulation at 40 CFR 131.11 and Section 303(c)(2)(B) of the CWA further require states  and
tribes to adopt  numeric criteria (or narrative criteria with numeric translators) for Section 307(a)
toxic  pollutants, as  necessary, to support state and tribal designated uses where the discharge or
presence of  such pollutants in the affected waters could reasonably be expected to  interfere with
those designated uses adopted by the state or tribe. (See  Guidance for State Implementation of Water
Quality Standards for CWA Section 303(c)(2)(B) (1 988).)  For regulatory purposes, the EPA has
translated the 65 compounds and families of compounds listed under Section 307(a) into 1  26
specific toxic substances, which the EPA refers to as "priority pollutants," and has published national
criteria recommendations for most of these pollutants consistent with the authority provided in

-------
Section 304(a). Section 304(a)(l) requires the EPA to develop recommended criteria that accurately
reflect the latest scientific knowledge, and these  recommended criteria are based solely on data and
scientific judgments on pollutant concentrations  and environmental or human health effects.

In addition to the required criteria discussed above,  the EPA recommends that all state and tribal
WQS contain narrative "free from" criteria as well  as  numeric criteria for other water quality
parameters such as temperature, dissolved oxygen,  pH, and bacteria, which are typically included in
state and tribal WQS. The EPA has also recognized the  importance of having numeric criteria for both
phosphorus and nitrogen and has urged states and tribes to prioritize waters for development of
numeric nutrient criteria (see the 201 1 memorandum Working in Partnership with States to Address
Phosphorus and Nitrogen Pollution through Use of a Framework for State Nutrient Reductions).

As previously discussed, Section 303(c)(l) and the EPA's  implementing regulation at 40 CFR
1 31.20(a) require states and tribes  to hold a public hearing for the purpose of reviewing their
applicable WQS at least once each three-year period. When reviewing  these applicable WQS, in
addition to reviewing all applicable criteria, states and  tribes must ensure that they have adopted
criteria for toxic pollutants as required by Section 303(c)(2)(B). It is important to  note that, although
a state or tribe may have fully complied with the  requirements of Section 303(c)(2)(B) previously,
states and tribes may be  required to adopt new toxic criteria in the following  situations:

       The EPA publishes new Section 304(a) national criteria recommendations for a priority
       pollutant.
       New information on existing water quality and  pollution sources indicates that a toxic
       pollutant for which a state or tribe had not previously  adopted criteria could now be
       reasonably expected to  interfere with the designated uses adopted by the state or  tribe.

Please refer to Chapter 3 of this Handbook to find a detailed discussion of criteria.

6.1.7 Evaluate Antidegradation

The EPA's regulations at 40 CFR 131.12  require states  and authorized tribes to include
antidegradation requirements and methods for implementing  those requirements as  part of their
WQS program. Because they are parts of WQS, antidegradation policies and adopted implementation
procedures are subject to review and revision as  part of the WQS triennial review. Each  state and
tribe must develop, adopt, and retain an antidegradation policy that applies across the state or
reservation and establish procedures for its implementation through the  water quality management
process. The state or tribal antidegradation policy and implementation procedures must be
consistent with the components detailed in 40 CFR 131.12. State or tribal WQS regulations must
specifically reference the policy if it is not included in its entirety so that  the functional relationship
between the policy and the other WQS is clear. Regardless of the location of the policy, it must be
legally binding and meet all applicable requirements described in 40 CFR 131.12. Antidegradation
implementation procedures should specify how the state or tribe would determine on a case- by-
case basis whether, and to what extent, the permitting authority might authorize a lowering of high

-------
water quality. As a result, antidegradation implementation is an integral component of a
comprehensive approach to enhancing and protecting high water quality.

Please refer to Chapter 4 of this Handbook to find a more detailed discussion of antidegradation.

6.1.8 Submit the Water Quality Standards to the EPA

Consistent with 40 CFR 1 31.20(c). states and authorized tribes must submit their new or revised
WQS to the EPA for review and approval or disapproval within 30 days of their final administrative
action. Final administrative action is the last action a state or tribe must take (e.g., signature, a
review by a legislative committee or state board, a delay mandated by a state administrative
procedures act) before its revision becomes a rule under state or tribal law. After such action, the
state or tribe can officially transmit the newly adopted WQS to the EPA for review. If no revisions are
made, states and tribes must submit the results of their review within 30 days of completion of the
review. The state or tribal WQS submission of new or revised WQS must include, at a minimum, the
six key elements described  in 40 CFR 1 31.6:

      Waterbody use designations that are consistent with  CWA Sections 1 01 (a)(2) and 303(c)(2).
      Methods and analyses used to support the WQS.
      Water quality criteria sufficient to protect designated uses.
      An antidegradation  policy and accompanying implementation procedures consistent with 40
       CFR 131.12.
      Certification by the state attorney general or appropriate tribal legal authority that the WQS
       were duly adopted according to state or tribal law.
      General information that will help the EPA determine whether the scientific basis is adequate
       for WQS that do  not include the  uses specified in Section 1 01 (a)(2), including UAAs as
       appropriate, as well as information on state  or tribal  policies that generally affect the
       application and implementation of the WQS  (e.g.,  mixing zone and variance policies).
6.2  EPA Review and Approval or Disapproval of New or Revised Water Quality
Standards

When states and authorized tribes adopt new or revised WQS, they are required under CWA Section
303(c) to submit such WQS to the EPA for review and approval or disapproval action. The  EPA
regional offices review state and tribal WQS submissions and serve as the primary point of contact
with  the states and tribes. EPA regional  administrators are responsible for approving or disapproving
WQS. Therefore, states and tribes should submit their new or revised WQS to the appropriate EPA
regional office.

Please refer to Chapter 1 of this Handbook for a discussion of the types of provisions that constitute
new  or revised WQS that require EPA review under Section 303(c).

-------
Under Section 303(c)(3) and 40 CFR 1 31.21. the EPA must approve within 60 days or disapprove
within 90 days any new or revised WQS adopted by a state or tribe. The EPA reviews the state or
tribal WQS following the requirements of Section 303(c) and 40 CFR Part 1 31 to ensure that the use
designations, water quality criteria, antidegradation policy and adopted implementation procedures,
and general policies (e.g., WQS variances and mixing zone policies) meet the minimum
requirements.2 In doing so, the EPA ensures that WQS are scientifically defensible and that they
adhere to all regulatory and statutory requirements. In reviewing new or revised WQS, the EPA will
consider the adequacy of the analyses and the public comments received during the public hearing
process. As discussed in Section 6.1.1 of this chapter, states and tribes are encouraged to provide
early drafts to the EPA so that any issues can be resolved prior to the state or tribe formally
proposing or adopting new or revised WQS.

The EPA only reviews state and tribal  WQS provisions that are new or revised. The EPA's review of
such WQS generally includes, but is not limited to, those elements  listed below that are applicable to
the specific new  or revised WQS. It is  important to  note that, because each state or tribal WQS
submission is unique, the EPA documents the basis for its actions including how the new or revised
WQS are consistent with the CWA and 40 CFR Part  131:

    Uses and Criteria:

       The EPA  determines whether states and tribes have adopted designated uses that include the
        uses specified in CWA Section 1 01 (a)(2) for all waters of the United States. For waters where
       Section 1 01 (a)(2) uses have not been adopted, the EPA determines whether the designated
        uses were adopted consistent with the requirements at 40 CFR 131.10 and whether the
        bases for the use designations (e.g., UAAs) have been reviewed every three years, as required
        by 40 CFR 131.20(a).
       The EPA  determines whether the state and  tribal criteria are sufficient to protect the
       designated uses by ensuring that all numeric criteria are based on  Section 304(a) guidance,
       Section 304(a) guidance modified  to reflect site-specific conditions, or other scientifically
       defensible methods. The EPA's decision to  approve or disapprove criteria based on site-
       specific calculations or alternative scientific methods is  based on whether the resulting
       criteria are sufficient to protect the designated use and  whether the supporting scientific
        methods and assumptions are valid and adequate. The EPA's decision to approve or
       disapprove such criteria is not based on whether the resulting criteria are more or  less
       stringent than the EPA's Section 304(a)  national recommended criteria.
       The EPA  determines whether narrative "free from" criteria are included in state and tribal WQS
       and protect all waters at all flows. The EPA also evaluates whether the WQS include a method
       for  implementing any narrative "free from" criteria for toxic pollutants for situations in which
       the EPA has not issued  Section 304(a) guidance fora particular toxicant  or where the toxicant
       causing the problem is unknown.
2 Under Section 51 0 of the CWA. state and tribal WQS may be more stringent than the EPA's
minimum requirements.

-------
       The EPA determines whether the state or tribe has included criteria for Section 307(a)
       "priority pollutants" sufficient to satisfy the requirements of Section 303(c)(2)(B).
       The EPA determines whether designated uses and criteria apply throughout the entire
       waterbody.
       The EPA determines whether the information and analyses  provided in support of the new or
       revised WQS indicate that instream designated uses and criteria will provide for the
       attainment and maintenance of downstream WQS.

    Antidegradation and General Policies:

       The EPA determines whether state and tribal antidegradation policies meet the requirements
       of 40CFR 131.12.
       The EPA determines whether the state or tribe has provided or referenced  procedures for
       implementing the antidegradation policy.
       Where general policies (e.g., mixing zone, variance, and low-flow policies) are included in
       the state or tribal WQS, the  EPA determines whether the policies  are consistent with the CWA
       and 40CFRPart 131.

    Procedural:

       The EPA determines whether the state or tribe has met the  minimum applicable requirements
       for a WQS submission contained in 40 CFR 1 31.6.
       The EPA determines whether the state or tribe has complied with the procedural
       requirements contained in 40 CFR 1 31.20 (e.g., public participation) for conducting WQS
       reviews.
       The EPA determines whether the new or revised WQS are consistent with the CWA and 40 CFR
       Part 131.
       The EPA reviews comments  and suggestions that the public submitted on proposed state and
       tribal  WQS to determine if any comments indicate that the WQS are not consistent with the
       CWA and 40 CFR Part 131.

After reviewing the new or revised state or tribal WQS, the EPA approves or disapproves such new or
revised WQS.

Figure 6.2 provides an overview of the EPA's WQS review process.
                                                                                          10

-------
Figure 6

The state or authorized tribe submits draft WQS to the EPA for
informal review
1 r
The EPA reviews the draft WQS and provides comments
^ '
The state or tribe revises the draft WQS and adopts final WQS
^ '
The state or tribe certifies the WQS through the state attorney general or tribal
legal authority
^ '
The state or tribe submits final WQS, methods, justifications, and certification
to the EPA for review

, , 60 days ,
, 90 days
The EPA approves the WQS The EPA disapproves the WQS
1 1
r 90 days
Does the state or tribe make
Yes necessary WQS revisions?
^
No
r
The EPA promulgates necessary
.2: Overview of the EPA's WQS Review Process federal WQS



6.2.1 Policies and Procedures Related to EPA Approvals

On March 30, 2000, the EPA revised its regulation at 40 CFR 1 31.21 that specifies when new or
revised state and tribal WQS become effective for CWA purposes. Commonly called "the Alaska rule"
(40 CFR 131.21(c)(2), 65 FR 24641, April 27, 2000), this regulation mandates that new or revised
WQS adopted by states or authorized tribes and submitted to the EPA after May 30,  2000, must be
approved by the EPA before they become applicable WQS for actions under the CWA (e.g.,
establishment of water quality-based effluent limitations under Section 301 (b)(l )(C) or development
of total maximum daily loads under Section 303(d)(l )(C)).  The Alaska rule also provides that WQS
already submitted to the EPA prior to May 30, 2000, are in effect for CWA purposes  regardless of
                                                                                         11

-------
whether they were approved by the EPA unless and until the EPA has either promulgated a more
stringent WQS for the state or tribe or approved a change, deletion, or addition to the specific WQS.

Consistent with 40 CFR 131.21(a)(l) and Section 303(c)(3), if the EPA determines that new or revised
WQS adopted by a state or tribe  meet the requirements of the CWA and 40 CFR Part 131, the EPA
must notify the state or tribe within 60 days that the WQS are approved. If particular events (e.g.,
state implementation decisions,  pending federal legislation pertaining  to WQS requirements) could
result in a failure of the approved WQS to continue to meet the requirements of the CWA, the EPA
should identify these events in the approval letter and the administrative record for the action in
order to guide future state and tribal review and revision activities.

When only a portion of the adopted state or tribal WQS submission meets the requirements of the
CWA and 40 CFR Part 131, the EPA may approve only that portion.

The  EPA could also issue a conditional approval. Conditional approvals should only be used as the
exception, not the rule, and in limited circumstances. For additional  information on conditional
approvals, see Guidance for the  Use of Conditional Approvals for State Water Quality Standards
(1989).

The  EPA notes that requests for clarification or additional information from the state or tribe
regarding their new or revised WQS are  not EPA approval or disapproval actions under Section
303(c).

The  EPA has compiled  state and  tribal WQS that are currently in effect for CWA purposes (i.e., those
approved  by the EPA for CWA purposes  or are otherwise in effect). Commonly referred to as the
"WQS Repository." this webpage  includes a clickable map that is useful for finding currently effective
state and tribal WQS.

6.2.2 Policies and Procedures Related to EPA Disapprovals

Consistent with 40 CFR 131.21(a)(2) and Section 303(c)(3) of the CWA. if the EPA determines that the
new  or revised state or tribal WQS do not meet the requirements of the CWA and 40 CFR Part 131,
the EPA must disapprove such WQS and notify the state or authorized tribe within 90 days. In the
event of a disapproval action, the EPA must also specify the revisions that the state or tribe must
adopt to meet CWA requirements. If the EPA disapproves a new or revised WQS, that WQS is not in
effect for CWA purposes. In such a case, the state or tribe would continue to implement the previous
EPA-approved WQS until the state or tribe remedies the disapproval  action and the EPA approves
such remedy or until the EPA promulgates a new or revised WQS.
                                                                                          12

-------
6.3  EPA Promulgation of Federal Water Quality Standards

6.3.1 When the EPA Might Promulgate Federal Water Quality Standards

As a matter of policy, the EPA prefers that states and authorized tribes  adopt their own WQS.
However, under Section 303(c)(4) of the CWA and 40 CFR 1 31.22. the EPA must promptly propose
and promulgate federal WQS if either of the following conditions occur:

      The EPA determines that a new or revised WQS submitted by a state or tribe is not consistent
       with CWA requirements and 40 CFR Part 131, and the state or tribe does not adopt
       acceptable replacement WQS within 90 days.
      In any case where the EPA Administrator makes an "Administrator determination" that a new
       or revised WQS is necessary to meet CWA requirements and 40  CFR Part 131.

As described in Section 6.2.2, if the EPA determines,  under Section 303(c)(4)(A) and 40 CFR
1 31.22(a), that new or revised WQS adopted by a state or tribe are not consistent with (i.e., do not
meet the requirements of) the CWA and 40 CFR Part 131, the EPA must disapprove such WQS within
90 days, specifying the changes necessary to meet CWA requirements.  However, under the CWA,  the
EPA must promptly propose federal WQS if the state or tribe fails to adopt and submit the necessary
revisions within 90 days after notification of the disapproval.

If the EPA Administrator makes an "Administrator's determination," under Section 303(c)(4)(B) and 40
CFR 1 31.22(b), that a new or revised WQS is necessary to meet the requirements of the CWA, the  EPA
must promptly propose such WQS and then promulgate such WQS no later than 90 days after
publication of the EPA's proposed WQS. However, the EPA is not required to promulgate a new or
revised WQS if, prior to the EPA's promulgation, the state or tribe adopts and submits a new or
revised WQS that the EPA determines  to be consistent with the CWA.

The EPA has compiled a list of federally promulgated WQS.

6.3.2 When the EPA Would Withdraw Federally Promulgated Water Quality Standards

Where the EPA has promulgated WQS for a state or tribe, the EPA withdraws its federally promulgated
WQS after the EPA determines that revised  state or tribal WQS meet the requirements of the CWA  and
40 CFR Part 131 and approves such WQS.
                                                                                        13

-------