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

On January 31, 2013, EPA took action on Oregon’s new or revised aquatic life toxics criteria submitted in 2004. These criteria are developed to protect aquatic species such as fish, shellfish and aquatic insects. The aquatic life toxics criteria for each pollutant are typically comprised of four values: acute and chronic values for freshwater, and acute and chronic values for saltwater protection.

EPA approved 38 criteria associated with 14 toxic pollutants and disapproved 45 criteria values associated with 16 toxic pollutants (11 pesticides, ammonia, cadmium, copper, selenium, and aluminum). EPA disapproved the freshwater acute criterion for cadmium based on findings in the National Marine Fisheries Service’s August 2012 Biological Opinion. EPA disapproved the ammonia criteria because new toxicity data showed that the criteria were not protective of mollusks. EPA also disapproved criteria associated with 14 other pollutants, including 11 pesticides, copper, selenium and aluminum, due to inconsistencies associated with EPA’s nationally recommended criteria.

The Environmental Quality Commission adopted revisions to address the disapprovals for pesticides and selenium, along with other corrections and clarifications on Dec. 12, 2013. EPA approved these revisions on April 11, 2014; therefore, the revisions are effective for all CWA programs on April 18, 2014. Table 30 now contains all currently effective aquatic life toxics criteria for Oregon. See the Corrections and Clarifications to Toxics Water Quality Standards Rulemaking web page for more information. DEQ will address the disapproval for ammonia, copper, cadmium and aluminum in separate rulemakings. Until such time revised criteria are approved, criteria for these pollutants will reflect criteria last approved by EPA.

Fact Sheet: EPA Action on Toxics Water Quality Criteria to Protect Aquatic Life

EPA Decision Documents:

Transmittal letter to the state

EPA Clean Water Act 303(c) Determinations on Oregon's New and Revised Aquatic Life Toxic Criteria

Enclosure 1: Aquatic Life Criteria Submitted by Oregon in July 2004

Enclosure 2: Supplemental Technical Support Document

Enclosure 3: Response to Supplemental Comments

Enclosure 4: Aquatic Life Criteria in Effect for Clean Water Act Purposes

DEQ's Response Letter to EPA (April 30, 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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