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Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Great Lakes Water Quality Guidance, EPA ICR Number 1639.05, OMB Control Number 2040-0180

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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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 Start Printed Page 51786that an Information Collection Request (ICR) has been forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. This is a request to renew an existing approved collection. This ICR is scheduled to expire on August 31, 2005. Under OMB regulations, the Agency may continue to conduct or sponsor the collection of information while this submission is pending at OMB. This ICR describes the nature of the information collection and its estimated burden and cost.


Additional comments may be submitted on or before September 30, 2005.


Submit your comments, referencing docket ID number OW-2003-0030, to (1) 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, and (2) OMB at: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Attention: Desk Officer for EPA, 725 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20503.

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Lynn Stabenfeldt, Office of Wastewater Management. 4201M, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 564-0602; fax number: (202) 501-2399; e-mail address:

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EPA has submitted the following ICR to OMB for review and approval according to the procedures prescribed in 5 CFR 1320.12. On May 31, 2005 (70 FR 30944-30955), EPA sought comments on this ICR pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.8(d). EPA received no comments.

EPA has established a public docket for this ICR under Docket ID No. OW-2003-0030, 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 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 and OMB within 30 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.

Title: National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Great Lakes Water Quality Guidance.

Abstract: The primary objective of the Clean Water Act (CWA) is “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation's waters” (Section 101(a)). CWA Section 402 establishes the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program to regulate the discharge of any pollutant or combination of pollutants from point sources into the waters of the United States. CWA Section 402(a), as amended, authorizes the EPA Administrator to issue permits for the discharge of pollutants if those discharges meet the following requirements:

  • All applicable requirements of CWA Sections 301, 302, 306, 307, 308, and 403; and
  • Any conditions the Administrator determines are necessary to carry out the provisions and objectives of the CWA.

Section 101 of the Great Lakes Critical Programs Act (CPA) amends section 118 of the CWA and directs EPA to publish water quality guidance for the Great Lakes System. Provisions of the Guidance are codified in 40 CFR part 132. The Guidance establishes minimum water quality criteria, implementation procedures, and antidegradation provisions for the Great Lakes System.

Permitting authorities currently require dischargers to provide information such as the name, location, and description of facilities to identify the facilities that require permits. EPA and authorized NPDES States store much of this basic information in the Permit Compliance System (PCS) database. PCS provides EPA with a nationwide inventory of NPDES permit holders. EPA Headquarters uses the information contained in the PCS to develop reports on permit issuance, backlogs, and compliance rates. The Agency also uses the information to respond to public and Congressional inquiries, develop and guide its policies, formulate its budgets, assist States in acquiring authority for permitting programs, and manage its programs to ensure national consistency in permitting.

NPDES permit applications and requests for supplemental information currently require information about wastewater treatment systems, pollutants, discharge rates and volumes, whole effluent toxicity testing and other data. Additional information collection requirements that may be necessary to implement State, Tribal, or EPA promulgated provisions consistent with the final Guidance include: (1) Monitoring (pollutant-specific and whole effluent toxicity or WET); (2) pollutant minimization programs; (3) antidegradation policy/demonstrations; and, (4) regulatory relief options (e.g., variances from water quality criteria).

This information may be used to ensure compliance with provisions consistent with the Guidance and re-evaluate existing permit conditions and monitoring requirements. Data on discharges is entered into STORET and PCS, EPA's databases for ambient water quality data and NPDES permits, respectively. Results of water quality criteria testing will be entered into an EPA Information Clearinghouse database.

Permit applications may contain confidential business information. If this is the case, the respondent may request that such information be treated as confidential. All confidential data will be handled in accordance with 40 CFR 122.7, 40 CFR part 2, and EPA's Security Manual part III, chapter 9, dated August 9, 1976. However, CWA Section 308(b) specifically states that effluent data may not be treated as confidential. No questions of a sensitive nature are associated with this information collection. Start Printed Page 51787

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 and are identified on the form and/or instrument, if applicable.

Burden Statement: The annual public reporting and recordkeeping burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 26,781 hours per response. 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.

Respondents/Affected Entities: (1) Industries discharging toxic pollutants to waters in the Great Lakes System as defined in 40 CFR 132.2 and (2) publicly-owned treatment works discharging toxic pollutants to waters of the Great Lakes System as defined in 40 CFR 132.2.

Estimated Number of Respondents: 2,710

Frequency of Response: Varies depending on discharger's effluent characteristics.

Estimated Total Annual Hour Burden: 28,797

Estimated Total Annual Cost: $3,070,186, includes $0 annualized capital or O&M costs.

Changes in the Estimates: There is a decrease of 94,066 hours in the total estimated burden currently identified in the OMB Inventory of Approved ICR Burdens. This decrease is due to a transfer of burden hours to the Water Quality Standards ICR (OMB Control Number 2040-0049) and a decrease in the number of potentially affected entities.

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Dated: August 23, 2005.

Oscar Morales,

Director, Collection Strategies Division.

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[FR Doc. 05-17369 Filed 8-30-05; 8:45 am]