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Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Modification of Secondary Treatment Requirements for Discharges Into Marine Waters, EPA ICR Number 0138.08, OMB Control Number 2040-0088

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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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. This ICR is scheduled to expire on September 30, 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 August 15, 2005.


Submit your comments, referencing docket ID number OW-2003-0033, to EPA online using EDOCKET (our preferred method), by e-mail to, or by mail to: EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Water Docket, Mail Code: 4101T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460.

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

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EPA has established a public docket for this ICR under Docket ID number OW-2003-0033, 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 Start Printed Page 35083be 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 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

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 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 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 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 POTWs' discharges on marine environments. None of this information is confidential; thus confidentiality is not an issue. 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 Start Printed Page 35084collection 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. The annual reporting and recordkeeping burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 667 hours per response for POTWs and 86 hours per response for States. There are no applicable projected cost burdens for respondents or record keepers resulting from the collection of information, for a total capital and startup cost component annualized over its expected useful life, a total operation and maintenance component, or a purchase of services component. 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: June 6, 2005.

Diane Regas,

Director, Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds.

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[FR Doc. 05-11916 Filed 6-15-05; 8:45 am]