United States
Environmental Protection
\r ^1	Agency
Office of Water
EPA 823-F-80-003
December 2020
Withdrawal of Certain Federal Human Health Water Quality
Criteria Applicable to Maine
EPA has finalized an amendment to the federal
regulations that withdraws certain federal ambient
water quality criteria for Maine. This final agency
action follows Maine's adoption of human health
criteria that EPA determined are based on sound
science and protect the designated uses of the
state's water bodies. The withdrawal of these
federal criteria enables Maine to implement those
EPA-approved human health criteria as part of the
state's water quality standards.
Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 101(a)(2) 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.
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.
On September 3, 2020, EPA issued a proposed rule
to withdraw federal human health criteria for toxic
pollutants applicable to Maine. EPA provided 45
days for public comment on its proposal and
received eight comments. EPA considered the
comments received on the proposal when writing its
final withdrawal rule.
This action amends 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 remain in effect for
CWA purposes.
Where can I find more information?
To view the Federal Register notice and supporting
documents for the rule, visit EPA's Water Quality
Standards website at: https://www.epa.gov/wqs-
1 Promulgation of Certain Federal Water Quality Standards
Applicable to Maine, 81 FR 92466 (December 19, 2016).