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Agency Information Collection Activities: Continuing Collection; Comment Request; Water Quality Standards Regulation (Renewal), EPA ICR Number 0988.09, OMB Control Number 2040-0049

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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 a continuing Information Collection Request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This is a request to renew an existing approved collection for the Water Quality Standards Regulation. This ICR is scheduled to expire on August 31, 2005. 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 May 23, 2005.


Submit your comments, referencing docket ID number OW-2003-0018, to EPA online using EDOCKET (our preferred method), by e-mail to, or by mail to: EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water (4101T), 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460.

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Frederick D. Leutner, Office of Water (4305T), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 566-0400; fax number: (202) 566-0409; e-mail address:

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EPA has established a public docket for this ICR under Docket ID number OW-2003-0018, which is available for public viewing at the Water Docket in the EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), EPA West, Room B102, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC. The EPA Docket Center 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. An electronic version of the public docket is available through EPA Dockets (EDOCKET) at​edocket. Use EDOCKET 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 above.

Any comments related to this ICR should be submitted to EPA within 60 days of this notice. EPA's policy is that public comments, whether submitted electronically or in paper, will be made available for public viewing in EDOCKET as EPA receives them and without change, unless the comment contains copyrighted material, CBI, or other information whose public disclosure is restricted by statute. When EPA identifies a comment containing copyrighted material, EPA will provide a reference to that material in the version of the comment that is placed in EDOCKET. The entire printed comment, including the copyrighted material, will be available in the public docket. Although identified as an item in the official docket, information claimed as CBI, or whose disclosure is otherwise restricted by statute, is not included in the official public docket, and will not be available for public viewing in EDOCKET. For further information about the electronic docket, see EPA's Federal Register notice describing the electronic docket at 67 FR 38102 (May 31, 2002), or go to​edocket.

Affected entities: Entities potentially affected by this action are all States and certain authorized Indian tribes that adopt water quality standards under the Clean Water Act; and water dischargers subject to certain requirements related to water quality standards in the Great Lakes system, including dischargers in the following SIC categories: Mining (SIC codes 10, 14); Food (20); Pulp and Paper (26); Inorganic Chemical Manufacturing (281); Organic Chemical Manufacturing (28); Petroleum Refining (29); Metal Manufacturing (33), Metal Finishing (34-37); Steam Electric (4911), and Publically Owned Treatment Works (4952). For the purposes of the Regulation, the term “State'' means the 50 States, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Title: Water Quality Standards Regulation (Renewal).

Abstract: Water quality standards are provisions of State, Tribal, and Federal law that consist of designated uses for waters of the United States, water quality criteria to protect the designated uses, and an antidegradation policy. Section 303(c) of the Clean Water Act requires States and authorized Tribes to establish water quality standards, and to review and, if appropriate, revise their water quality standards once every three years. The Act also requires EPA to review and either approve or disapprove the new or revised standards, and to promulgate replacement Federal standards if necessary. Section 118(c)(2) of the Act specifies additional water quality standards requirements for waters of the Great Lakes system.

The Water Quality Standards Regulation (40 CFR part 131 and portions of part 132) governs national implementation of the water quality standards program. The Regulation describes requirements and procedures for States and authorized Tribes to develop, review, and revise their water quality standards, and EPA procedures for reviewing and approving the water quality standards. The regulation requires the development and submission of information to EPA, including:

—The minimum elements in water quality standards that each State or Tribe must submit to EPA for review, including any new or revised water quality standards resulting from the jurisdiction's triennial review (40 CFR 131.6 and 131.20). The elements include use designations for specific water bodies; methods used and analyses conducted to support water quality standards revisions; supporting analysis for use attainability analyses; water quality criteria sufficient to protect the designated uses; methodologies for site-specific criteria development; an antidegradation policy; certification by the jurisdiction's Attorney General or other appropriate legal authority that the water quality standards were duly adopted pursuant to State or Tribal law; information that will aid EPA in determining the adequacy of the scientific basis for the standards; and information on general policies that may affect the implementation of the standards.

—Information that an Indian Tribe must submit to EPA in order to determine whether a Tribe is qualified to Start Printed Page 14463administer the water quality standards program (40 CFR 131.8).

—Information a State or Tribe must submit if it chooses to exercise a dispute resolution mechanism for disputes between States and Tribes over water quality standards on common water bodies (40 CFR 131.7).

—Information related to public participation requirements during State and Tribal review and revision of water quality standards (40 CFR 131.20). States and Tribes must hold public hearings as part of their triennial reviews, and make any proposed standards and supporting analyses available to the public before the hearing.

The Regulation establishes specific additional requirements for water quality standards and their implementation in the waters of the Great Lakes system, contained in the Water Quality Guidance for the Great Lakes System (40 CFR part 132). This portion of the Regulation includes the following requirements for information collection: bioassay tests to support the development of water quality criteria; studies to identify and provide information on antidegradation control measures that will guard against the reduction of water quality in the Great Lakes system; and information collection and record keeping activities associated with analyses and reporting to request regulatory relief from Guidance requirements. The Guidance includes additional information collections that are addressed in separate Information Collection Requests for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program.

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 40 CFR are listed in 40 CFR part 9.

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 public reporting and recordkeeping burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 856 hours per response annually. 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.

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Dated: March 10, 2005.

Mary T. Smith,

Acting Director, Office of Science and Technology.

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[FR Doc. 05-5613 Filed 3-21-05; 8:45 am]