United States
Environmental Protection
\r ^1	Agency
Office of Water
EPA 823-F-20-001
August 2020
Proposed Withdrawal of Certain Federally Promulgated Human
Health Water Quality Criteria Applicable to Maine
On August 13, 2020, EPA proposed to withdraw
existing federal water quality criteria ~ clearing the
way for Maine to implement its human health water
quality criteria for toxic pollutants. EPA will accept
public comments on the proposal for 45 days upon
its publication in the Federal Register and will also
host two online public hearings. This proposed
action follows Maine's adoption of human health
criteria that EPA determined are based on sound
science and protective of the State's designated
uses. The withdrawal of existing federal criteria
would enable Maine to implement those EPA-
approved human health criteria.
Section 101(a)(2) of the CWA establishes the
national goal that water quality should provide for
the protection and propagation offish, shellfish, and
wildlife, and recreation in and on the water. To
protect people from cancer and non-cancer effects
from pollutants in public water supplies and in fish
and shellfish, states must establish human health
criteria for their waters that are designated for such
uses. EPA periodically publishes ambient water
quality criteria recommendations under CWA section
304(a) for states to consider adopting into their
water quality standards to protect these uses.
CWA section 303(c)(2)(B) requires states to adopt
numeric water quality criteria for all priority toxic
pollutants for which EPA has published CWA section
304(a) criteria recommendations.
On December 19, 2016, EPA promulgated a final rule
titled "Promulgation of Certain Federal Water
Quality Standards Applicable to Maine" at 40 CFR
131.43.1 This rule revised certain water quality
standards applicable to Maine waters, including
human health criteria for toxic pollutants applicable
to tribal waters in Maine. EPA promulgated the
December 2016 rule after its 2015 disapproval of
human health criteria and other water quality
standards the state had submitted to EPA.
In June 2020, EPA approved the state's submission of
revised human health criteria for toxic pollutants
that protect designated uses in all the waters
covered by the federal human health criteria.
This action proposes to amend the federal
regulations to withdraw all federal human health
criteria for toxic pollutants promulgated for Maine in
December 2016. All other federal water quality
standards for Maine waters at 40 CFR 131.43 will
remain in effect for Clean Water Act purposes.
Public Hearings and Soliciting Comments on
EPA's Proposed Rule
EPA welcomes comments concerning the proposed
rule and requests any additional information for
consideration by the Agency.
In addition to accepting written comments from the
public for 45 days, EPA is offering two online public
hearings on the proposed rule so that interested
parties may provide oral comments. The first hearing
will be on September 30, 2020 from 10 am to 12pm
Eastern Daylight Time. The second hearing will be on
1 Promulgation of Certain Federal Water Quality Standards
Applicable to Maine, 81 FR 92466 (December 19, 2016).

October 1, 2020 from 3 pm to 5 pm Eastern Daylight
Where can I find more information?
Contact Jennifer Brundage at (202) 566-1265,
brundage.jennifer@epa.gov or Erica Fleisig at (202)
566-1057, fleisig.erica@epa.gov. To view the Federal
Register notice and supporting documents for the
proposed rule, visit EPA's Water Quality Standards
website at: https://www.epa.gov/wqs-tech/federal-