USA: EPA Proposes Adding 255 Waterways to Impaired Waters List
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency yesterday provided the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) a proposed list of impaired waterways in West Virginia.
The list includes 1,176 waterways previously designated as impaired by the State, and an additional 255 waterways identified by EPA, based on the State’s current water quality standards. EPA took this action in order to meet the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act.
The Clean Water Act requires states to use all readily available water quality information to assess the health of waters, and every two years identify those waterbodies that do not meet water quality standards.
The impaired waters list is then submitted to EPA for review and approval. States or EPA must subsequently develop cleanup plans to restore the impaired waterways.
EPA acknowledges WVDEP’s position that it is precluded by Senate Bill No. 562 from evaluating waters for aquatic life uses pending adoption of a new methodology for evaluating waterways. In the meantime, EPA has an obligation to take action to ensure that the federal requirements of the Clean Water Act are met.
EPA identified the additional waterways, representing more than 1,000 miles of rivers and streams, based on its review of readily available State data. The agency reviewed the information using substantially the same methodology that West Virginia has used to review this type of data in the past.
EPA will publish a notice of the proposed additions in the federal register on or before April 15, which will begin a 30-day public comment period. EPA will review all of the comments and make changes to the proposed list as appropriate.
Press Release, March 26, 2013