United States
Environmental Protection °fficeofWater era-820-S-12-12001
4305T	March 2012
Extension of Effective Date for Water Quality Standards
for Florida's Lakes and Flowing Waters
The EPA is delaying the March 6, 2012
effective date of the "Water Quality Standards
for the State of Florida's Lakes and Flowing
Waters; Final Rule" (inland waters rule) by four
months to July 6, 2012. This delay will allow
EPA to work with the Florida Department of
Environmental Protection (FDEP) as a partner,
as the FDEP takes the steps necessary to
finalize and submit new State water quality
standards. This action will also avoid the
confusion and inefficiency that may occur
should federal criteria become effective while
state criteria are being finalized by the state and
reviewed by EPA.
The EPA's final inland waters rule also included
a separate effective date for the site-specific
alternative criteria provision, which took effect
on February 4, 2011. This final rule does not
affect or change the February 4, 2011 date.
Nitrogen and phosphorus pollution (also known
as "nutrient pollution") is one of the largest
causes of water quality problems in Florida.
Limiting nutrient pollution across the State will
help protect the health of Floridians and also
preserve Florida's greatest asset—clean water—
and the prosperity and jobs that go with it.
Florida's tourism industry, the State's number
one industry, employs nearly one million
Floridians and pumps billions into the State's
economy each year, including generating
thousands of jobs and well over $3 billion in
Nitrogen and phosphorus pollution causes
harmful algae blooms, which produce toxins
harmful to both humans and animals, and
deplete oxygen needed for fish and shellfish
survival. It can also smother vegetation, discolor
water and result in the formation of byproducts
in drinking water from disinfection chemicals,
some of which have been linked with serious
human illnesses. Nutrient water pollution
originates from stormwater runoff, municipal
wastewater treatment, fertilization of crops and
livestock manure. Nitrogen also forms from the
burning of fossil fuels, like gasoline, and can
enter water bodies through rainfall and
atmospheric deposition.
Consent Decree and EPA's Inland Waters
The Florida Wildlife Federation filed a lawsuit
against the EPA in 2008. This was followed by
EPA's January 2009 determination under the
Clean Water Act that specific or "numeric"
nutrient standards are needed in Florida. A
consent decree settling the lawsuit, entered into
by the parties in August 2009 and by the court in
December 2009, required the EPA to adopt
numeric nutrient pollution standards for lakes
and flowing waters by November 2010.
On December 6, 2010, the final inland waters
rule was published in the Federal Register (75
FR 75762) and codified at 40 CFR 131.43. The
final rule established numeric nutrient criteria, or
numeric limits on the amount of nutrient
pollution allowed in Florida's waters while still
protecting applicable designated uses.
By this action EPA sought to improve water
quality, protect public health and aquatic life and
the long-term recreational uses of Florida's
waters, which are a critical part of the State's
economy. This promulgation was in accordance
with the previously mentioned Clean Water Act
determination, the August 2009 consent decree,
and subsequent revisions to that consent decree.
State of Florida's Rulemaking
In the fall of 2011, FDEP developed numeric
nutrient criteria for inland waters and some
estuarine waters. FDEP is expected to submit

the new or revised water quality standards to
EPA for review pursuant to Clean Water Act
section 303(c) pending the outcome of a state
administrative challenge to the criteria.
About this Rulemaking
The EPA's final inland waters rule was
originally scheduled to take effect on March 6,
2012, except for the site-specific alternative
criteria provision, which took effect on February
4,2011. This rulemaking delays the effective
date by 4 months to July 6, 2012. It does not
change the February 4, 2012 effective date for
the site-specific alternative criteria provision.
The scope of this final rule is limited; it only
seeks to delay the effective date of the inland
waters rule. Hence, this final rule is not a new
regulation. The final rule does not involve
technical standards, or impose any economic
impact burden on any small entity.
Citizens concerned with water quality in Florida
may be interested in this rulemaking. Entities
discharging nitrogen or phosphorus to lakes and
flowing waters of Florida could be indirectly
affected by this rulemaking because water
quality standards are used in determining
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination
System permit limits.
Categories and entities that may ultimately be
affected include (1) industry, such as those
discharging pollutants to lakes and flowing
waters in the State of Florida; (2) municipalities,
such as publicly-owned treatment works
discharging pollutants to lakes and flowing
waters in the State of Florida, and (3)
stormwater management districts, including
entities responsible for managing stormwater
runoff in Florida.
For More Information
Contact Tracy Bone at bone ,tracv@epa. gov or
(202) 564-5257.