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Corrections and Clarifications to Toxics Water Quality Standards Rulemaking 2013

Current News

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Approves Revised Water Quality Standards for Oregon

On April 11, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved all revisions to Oregon’s toxics water quality standards. DEQ recommended these amendments to the Environmental Quality Commission at its Dec. 12, 2013 meeting in Portland. The revisions are effective on April 18, 2014 for all Clean Water Act programs.

EPA Approval Letter and Technical Support Document

The revisions address EPA’s Jan. 31, 2013 disapproval of 11 pesticides and selenium aquatic life criteria, and reinstate criteria for arsenic and chromium VI that were inadvertently omitted from a toxics table. In addition, the revisions consolidated all the toxics aquatic life criteria into one new Table—Table 30. Table 30 is available on the Toxics web page.

See the Technical Support Document above for details on these revisions. You may also access rulemaking documents for these revisions through the agency’s Rules and Regulations web page.

EPA did not take action on a number of other minor revisions related to this rulemaking. Most of these revisions became effective on Dec. 23, 2013. For these revisions, please see rulemaking documents on the agency’s Rules and Regulations web page.

See EPA's Jan. 31, 2013 Action on Oregon's Aquatic Life Criteria page.


DEQ initiated a rulemaking to correct errors related to the toxics water quality standardsCoho Smolt. DEQ conducted this rulemaking in response to EPA’s Jan. 31, 2013 action disapproving a number of Oregon’s toxics criteria to protect aquatic life that DEQ submitted to EPA for approval in 2004. Some of the disapproval actions resulted from errors or lack of clarification, while other disapproved criteria were based on more substantive issues. The objective of this rulemaking was to correct some of the disapproved criteria where the remedies are straightforward (e.g. correction of 11 pesticides and selenium criteria). DEQ also proposed to consolidate the effective aquatic life toxics criteria that were currently contained in three tables into one table. In addition, this rulemaking intended to correct typographical errors associated with the Human Health Toxics Rulemaking adopted in 2011.

EPA disapproved several aquatic life toxics criteria where the remedies to correct the disapprovals are complex and will involve deeper and more thoughtful discussions among DEQ, EPA, National Marine Fisheries Service, and stakeholders (i.e., revisions to address the aluminum, ammonia, copper, and cadmium criteria disapprovals). Rulemaking for the more complex issues will occur after the corrections rulemaking. DEQ separated these rulemakings to help ensure that the straightforward corrections were completed in a timely manner, and were not unnecessarily delayed by the more substantive issues DEQ anticipates arising from the other disapproved criteria.

Advisory Committee

DEQ established an advisory committee in January 2013 to provide input to DEQ on any potential fiscal impacts, including benefits that may result from this rulemaking. The rulemaking was subsequently delayed and then re-initiated in May 2013. DEQ met with the advisory committee on June 25, 2013 and July 11, 2013.

The committee included eight members representing industrial, municipal, tribal and environmental organizations with an interest in actions related to developing or revising water quality standards for toxic pollutants. See the Advisory Committee Roster and Charter below for more information. All meetings of the advisory committee were open to the public and were held at the following location:

DEQ Headquarters
Conference Room 5B
811 SW Sixth Avenue
Portland, OR 97204

Committee Meeting Information and Supporting Documents

Meeting Date Supporting Documents
Meeting #3
July 11, 2013
10:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m.

Notice about the proposal (includes fiscal analysis)
Meeting Minutes
Meeting #2
June 25, 2013
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Meeting Minutes
Proposed Rule Revisions
Proposed Table 30
Proposed Table 30 Revisions Shown
Proposed Table 40 Revisions
Presentation: Corrections and Clarifications to the Toxics Water Quality Standard Rulemaking
Meeting #1
Jan. 24, 2013
1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Meeting Minutes - Toxics
Meeting Minutes - Nonpoint Source

Note: The toxics rulemaking was originally part of an earlier rulemaking to include revisions to nonpoint source pollutant regulations. DEQ then withdrew the toxics proposed revisions and postponed this rulemaking until May 2013.

Contact Information

For questions about this rulemaking, please contact Andrea Matzke at 503-229-5384 or by email.


[print version]

For more information about DEQ's Water Quality Standards contact Debra Sturdevant by phone at 503-229-6691 or by email.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Headquarters: 700 NE Multnomah Street, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97232
Phone: 503-229-5696 or toll free in Oregon 1-800-452-4011
Oregon Telecommunications Relay Service: 1-800-735-2900  FAX: 503-229-6124

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