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Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request; National Water Quality Inventory Reports (Renewal)

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AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (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 December 31, 2011. 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.

DATES:

Comments must be submitted on or before September 12, 2011.

ADDRESSES:

Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID number EPA-HQ-OW-2003-0026 by one of the following methods:

  • http://www.regulations.gov (our preferred method): Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
  • E-mail: OW-Docket@epa.gov.
  • Mail: EPA Water Docket, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode (28221-T), 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460.

Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2003-0026 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 Start Printed Page 41244an “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 http://www.regulations.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Alice Mayio, Assessment and Watershed Protection Division, Office of Water, Mail Code: 4503T, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: 202-566-1184; fax number: 202-566-1437; e-mail address: Mayio.alice@epa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

How can I access the docket and/or submit comments?

EPA has established a public docket for this ICR under Docket ID number EPA-HQ-OW-2003-0026 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 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.

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?

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.

What should I consider when I prepare my comments for EPA?

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 to 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 of 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?

Affected entities: Entities potentially affected by this action are States, Territories and Tribes with Clean Water Act (CWA) responsibilities.

Title: National Water Quality Inventory Reports (Clean Water Act Sections 305(b), 303(d), 314(a), and 106(e)) (Renewal).

ICR numbers: EPA ICR Number 1560.10, OMB Control Number 2040-0071.

ICR status: This ICR is currently scheduled to expire on December 31, 2011. 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: The Section 305(b) reports contain information on the water quality standards attainment status of assessed waters, and, when waters are impaired, the pollutants and sources affecting water quality. This information helps track State progress in controlling water pollution. Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act requires States to identify and rank waters which cannot meet water quality standards (WQS) following the implementation of technology-based controls. Under Section 303(d), States are also required to establish total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) for listed waters not meeting standards as a result of pollutant discharges. In developing the Section 303(d) lists, States are required to consider various sources of water quality related data and information, including the Section 305(b) State water quality reports. Section 106(e) requires that states annually update monitoring data and include it in their Section 305(b) report. Section 314(a) requires states to report on the condition of their publicly-owned lakes within the Section 305(b) report.

EPA's Assessment and Watershed Protection Division (AWPD) works with its Regional counterparts to review and approve or disapprove State Section 303(d) lists and TMDLs from 56 respondents (the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the five Territories). Section 303(d) specifically requires States to develop lists and TMDLs “from time to time,” and EPA to review and approve or disapprove the lists and the TMDLs. EPA also collects State 305(b) reports from 59 respondents (the 50 States, the District of Columbia, five Territories, and 3 River Basin commissions).

Tribes are not required to submit 305(b) reports. However, to meet the needs of Tribes at all levels of development, EPA has prepared guidance that presents the basic steps a Tribe should take to collect the water Start Printed Page 41245quality information it needs to make effective decisions about its program, its goals, and its future directions. Tribal water quality monitoring and reporting activities are covered under the Section 106 Tribal Grants Program and not included in the burden estimates for this ICR.

This announcement includes the re-approval of current, ongoing activities related to 305(b) and 303(d) reporting and TMDL development for the period of January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2014. During the period covered by this ICR renewal, respondents will: complete their 2012 305(b) reports and 2012 303(d) lists; complete their 2014 305(b) reports and 2014 303(d) lists; transmit annual electronic updates of ambient monitoring data via the Water Quality Exchange; and continue to develop TMDLs according to their established schedules. EPA will prepare biennial Reports to Congress for the 2012 reporting cycle and for the 2014 cycle, and EPA will review TMDL submissions from respondents.

The burdens of specific activities that States undertake as part of their 305(b) and 303(d) programs are derived from a project among EPA, States and other interested stakeholders to develop a tool for estimating the States' resource needs for State water quality management programs. This project has developed the State Water Quality Management Workload Model (SWQMWM), which estimates and sums the workload involved in more than one hundred activities or tasks comprising a State water quality management program. Over twenty States contributed information about their activities that became the basis for the model. According to the SWQMWM, to meet 305(b) and 303(d) reporting requirements the States will conduct: watershed monitoring and characterization; modeling and analysis; development of a TMDL document for public review; public outreach; formal public participation; tracking; planning; legal support; etc. In general, respondents have conducted each of these reporting and record keeping activities for past 305(b) and 303(d) reporting cycles and thus have staff and procedures in place to continue their 305(b) and 303(d) reporting programs. The burden associated with these tasks is estimated in this ICR to include the total number of TMDLs that may be submitted during the period covered by this ICR.

Burden Statement: The annual public reporting and recordkeeping burden for this collection of information is expected to average 66,590 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.

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

Estimated total number of potential respondents: 59.

Frequency of response: Biannually.

Estimated total average number of responses for each respondent: 1.

Estimated total annual burden hours: 3,740,017.

Estimated total annual costs: $177,837,808. These costs are entirely attributed to labor, with $0 attributable to capital investment or maintenance and operational costs.

Are there changes in the estimates from the last approval?

There is no change expected in the estimates for the total respondent burden hours identified in the ICR currently approved by OMB. EPA may revise these burden estimates before submitting this ICR to OMB based on comments received from the public and updated labor costs.

What is the next step in the process for this ICR?

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.

Start Signature

Dated: June 30, 2011.

Benita Best-Wong,

Acting Director, Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds.

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[FR Doc. 2011-17613 Filed 7-12-11; 8:45 am]

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