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Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Modification of Secondary Treatment Requirements for Discharges Into Marine Waters

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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).




In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), this document announces that EPA is planning to submit the following continuing Information Collection Request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB):

Modification of Secondary Treatment Requirements for Discharges into Marine Waters, EPA ICR Number 0138.07, OMB Control Number 2040-0088, expiring July 31, 2002. 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.


Comments must be submitted on or before March 4, 2002.


U.S. EPA; Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds; Oceans and Coastal Protection Division (4504F); 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20460. Interested persons may obtain a copy of the ICR without charge by contacting the person identified below.

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Virginia Fox-Norse, 202-260-8448 (phone), 202-260-9920 (facsimile), (electronically).

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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 Start Printed Page 321into Marine Waters (OMB Control Number 2040-0088; EPA ICR Number 0138.07), expiring July 31, 2002.

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 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 and 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 4 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 § 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 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 EPA would like to solicit comments 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.

Burden Statement: The estimated annual average burden for the 51 respondents totals 65,037 hours for this information collection. The average annual reporting burden varies depending on the size of the respondent and the category of the information collection. The frequency of response varies from once every five years, to case-by-case, depending on the category. 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; 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.

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 are displayed in 40 CFR part 9 and 48 CFR chapter 15.

Please send comments regarding these matters, or any other aspect of information collection, including suggestions for reducing the burden, to the address listed above.

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Dated: December 20, 2001.

Robert H. Wayland III,

Director, Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds.

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[FR Doc. 02-111 Filed 1-2-02; 8:45 am]