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Notice

Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Modification of Secondary Treatment Requirements for Discharges Into Marine Waters, EPA ICR Number 0138.09, OMB Control Number 2040-0088

Action

Notice.

Summary

In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), this document announces that EPA is planning to submit a request to renew an existing approved Information Collection Request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This ICR is scheduled to expire on May 31, 2009. Before submitting the ICR to OMB for review and approval, EPA is soliciting comments on specific aspects of the proposed information collection as described below.

 

Table of Contents Back to Top

DATES: Back to Top

Comments must be submitted on or before February 27, 2009.

ADDRESSES: Back to Top

Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID number EPA-HQ-OW-2003-0033, to EPA by one of the following methods:

  • http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
  • E-mail: OW-Docket@epa.gov.
  • Fax: (202) 566-9744
  • Mail: Water Docket, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code: 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460.
  • Hand Delivery: EPA Docket Center, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., EPA West, Room 3334, Washington, DC 20004. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket's normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.
  • Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2003-0033. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through http://www.regulations.gov or e-mail. The http://www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an e-mail comment directly to EPA without going through http://www.regulations.gov, your e-mail address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional information about EPA's public docket visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http://www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Back to Top

Virginia Fox-Norse, Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds: Oceans and Coastal Protection Division (Mail Code 4504T), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 566-1266; fax number: (202) 566-1337; e-mail address: fox-norse.virginia@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Back to Top

How Can I Access the Docket and/or Submit Comments? Back to Top

EPA has established a public docket for this ICR under Docket ID number EPA-HQ-OW-2003-0033, which is available for online viewing at http://www.regulations.gov, or in person viewing at the Water Docket in the EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC. The EPA/DC Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the Water Docket is (202) 566-2426. Use http://www.regulations.gov to obtain a copy of the draft collection of information, submit or view public comments, access the index listing of the contents of the public docket, and to access those documents in the public docket that are available electronically. Once in the system, select “search,” then key in the docket ID number identified in this document.

What Information Is EPA Particularly Interested in? Back to Top

Pursuant to section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA, EPA specifically solicits comments and information to enable it to:

(i) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

(ii) Evaluate the accuracy of the Agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

(iii) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

(iv) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. In particular, EPA is requesting comments from very small businesses (those that employ less than 25) on examples of specific additional efforts that EPA could make to reduce the paperwork burden for very small businesses affected by this collection.

What Should I Consider When I Prepare My Comments for EPA? Back to Top

You may find the following suggestions helpful for preparing your comments:

1. Explain your views as clearly as possible, and provide specific examples.

2. Describe any assumptions that you used.

3. Provide copies of any technical information and/or data you used that support your views.

4. If you estimate potential burden or costs, explain how you arrived at the estimate that you provide.

5. Offer alternative ways to improve the collection activity.

6. Make sure to submit your comments by the deadline identified under DATES.

7. To ensure proper receipt by EPA, be sure to identify the docket ID number assigned to this action in the subject line on the first page of your response. You may also provide the name, date, and Federal Register citation.

What Information Collection Activity or ICR Does This Apply to? Back to Top

Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2003-0033.

Affected entities: Entities potentially affected by this action are those municipalities that currently have section 301(h) waivers from secondary treatment, have applied for a renewal of a section 301(h) waiver, or those with a pending section 301(h) waiver application, and the states within which these municipalities are located.

Title: Modification of Secondary Treatment Requirements for Discharges Into Marine Waters.

ICR numbers: EPA ICR No. 0138.09, OMB Control No. 2040-0088.

ICR status: This ICR is currently scheduled to expire on May 31, 2009. An Agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information, unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. The OMB control numbers for EPA's regulations in title 40 of the CFR, after appearing in the Federal Register when approved, are listed in 40 CFR part 9, are displayed either by publication in the Federal Register or by other appropriate means, such as on the related collection instrument or form, if applicable. The display of OMB control numbers in certain EPA regulations is consolidated in 40 CFR part 9.

Abstract: Regulations implementing section 301(h) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) are found at 40 CFR part 125, subpart G. The section 301(h) program involves collecting information from two sources: (1) The municipal wastewater treatment facility, commonly called a publicly-owned treatment works (POTW), and (2) the state in which the POTW is located. Municipalities had the opportunity to apply for a waiver from secondary treatment requirements, but that opportunity closed in December, 1982. A POTW that seeks a section 301(h) waiver does so voluntarily to obtain or retain a benefit. A section 301(h) waiver modifies secondary treatment requirements of CWA section 301(b)(1)(B). Secondary treatment requirements establish technology-based effluent limitations for biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), suspended solids (SS), and pH (a measure of acidity or alkalinity) (40 CFR part 133). A POTW seeking to obtain a section 301(h) waiver, holding a current waiver, or reapplying for a waiver, provides application, monitoring, and toxic control program information. The state provides information on its determination whether the discharge under the proposed conditions of the waiver ensures the protection of water quality, biological habitats, and beneficial uses of receiving waters. The state also provides information on whether the discharge will result in additional treatment, pollution control, or any other requirement for any other point or nonpoint sources. The state also provides information to certify that the discharge will meet all applicable state laws, and that the state accepts all permit conditions.

There are four situations where information will be required under the section 301(h) program:

(1) A POTW continuing the application process for a section 301(h) waiver, or reapplying for a waiver: As the permits with section 301(h) waivers reach their expiration dates, EPA must have updated information on the discharge to determine whether the section 301(h) criteria are still being met, and whether the section 301(h) waiver should be reissued. Under 40 CFR 125.59(f), each section 301(h) permittee is required to submit an application for a new section 301(h) modified permit within 180 days of the existing permit's expiration date. 40 CFR 125.59(c) lists the information required for a modified permit. The information that EPA needs to determine whether the POTW's reapplication meets the section 301(h) criteria is outlined in the questionnaire attached to 40 CFR part 125, subpart G.

(2) Monitoring and toxic control program information: Once a waiver has been granted, EPA must continue to assess whether the discharge is meeting section 301(h) criteria, and that the receiving water quality, biological habitats, and beneficial uses of the receiving waters are protected. To do this, EPA needs monitoring information furnished by the permittee. According to 40 CFR 125.68(d), any permit issued with a section 301(h) waiver must contain the monitoring requirements of 40 CFR 125.63(b), (c), and (d) for biomonitoring, water quality criteria and standards monitoring, and effluent monitoring, respectively. Section 125.68(d) also requires reporting at the frequency specified in the monitoring program. In addition to monitoring information, EPA needs information on the toxics control program required by section 125.66 to ensure that the permittee is effectively minimizing industrial and nonindustrial toxic pollutant and pesticide discharges into the treatment works.

(3) Application revision information: Section 125.59(d) of 40 CFR allows a POTW to revise its application one time only, following a tentative decision by EPA to deny the waiver request. In its application revision, the POTW usually corrects deficiencies and changes proposed treatment levels, as well as outfall and diffuser locations. The application revision is a voluntary submission for the applicant, and a letter of intent to revise the application must be submitted within 45 days of EPA's tentative decision (40 CFR 125.59(f)). EPA needs this information to evaluate revised applications to determine whether the modified discharge will ensure protection of water quality, biological habitats, and beneficial uses of receiving waters.

(4) State determination and state certification information: For revised or renewal applications for section 301(h) waivers, EPA needs a state determination. The state determines whether all state laws (including water quality standards) are satisfied. This helps ensure that water quality, biological habitats, and beneficial uses of receiving waters are protected. Additionally, the state must determine if the applicant's discharge will result in additional treatment, pollution control, or any other requirement for any other point or nonpoint sources. This process allows the state's views to be taken into account when EPA reviews the section 301(h) application and develops permit conditions. For revised and renewed section 301(h) waiver applications, EPA also needs the CWA section 401(a)(1) certification information to ensure that all state water quality laws are met by any permit it issues with a section 301(h) modification, and that the state accepts all the permit conditions. This information is the means by which the state can exercise its authority to concur with or deny a section 301(h) decision made by the EPA Regional Office.

The information covered by this information collection request involves treatment plant operating data, effects of POTWs' discharges on marine environments, and states' viewpoints on issues concerning effects of discharges from POTWs on marine environments. None of this information is confidential; thus confidentiality is not an issue.

Burden Statement: The annual public reporting and recordkeeping burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 652 hours per response for POTWs and 86 hours per response for states. Burden means the total time, effort, or financial resources expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, or disclose or provide information to or for a Federal agency. This includes the time needed to review instructions; develop, acquire, install, and utilize technology and systems for the purposes of collecting, validating, and verifying information, processing and maintaining information, and disclosing and providing information; adjust the existing ways to comply with any previously applicable instructions and requirements which have subsequently changed; train personnel to be able to respond to a collection of information; search data sources; complete and review the collection of information; and transmit or otherwise disclose the information.

The ICR provides a detailed explanation of the Agency's estimate, which is only briefly summarized here:

Estimated total number of potential respondents: 50.

Frequency of response: The frequency of response varies from once every five years, to case-by-case, depending on the category of information.

Estimated total average number of responses for each respondent: This varies from once every five years, to case-by-case, depending on the category of information.

Estimated total annual burden hours: 61,377 hours.

Estimated total annual costs:$1.3 million. This includes an estimated burden cost of $1.3 million and an estimated cost of $0 for capital investment or maintenance and operational costs. The average annual reporting burden varies depending on the size of the respondent and the category of the information collection.

Are There Changes in the Estimates From the Last Approval? Back to Top

There will be a decrease in hours in the total estimated respondent burden compared with that identified in the ICR currently approved by OMB. This decrease reflects EPA's estimate of a decrease in the number of respondents, with a corresponding decrease in the total estimated respondent burden. The new revised estimates will be presented when the final ICR package is submitted to OMB review and approval. This change is an adjustment.

What is the Next Step in the Process for This ICR? Back to Top

EPA will consider the comments received and amend the ICR as appropriate. The final ICR package will then be submitted to OMB for review and approval pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.12. At that time, EPA will issue another Federal Register notice pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.5(a)(1)(iv) to announce the submission of the ICR to OMB and the opportunity to submit additional comments to OMB. If you have any questions about this ICR or the approval process, please contact the technical person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Dated: December 19, 2008.

Craig E. Hooks,

Director, Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds.

[FR Doc. E8-30817 Filed 12-24-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6560-50-P

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