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Proposed Information Collection Request; Comment Request; Modification of Secondary Treatment Requirements for Discharges Into Marine Waters (Renewal)

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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).




The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning to submit an information collection request (ICR), “Modification of Secondary Treatment Requirements for Discharges into Marine Waters (Renewal)” (EPA ICR No. 0138.11, OMB Control No. 2040-0088) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). Before doing so, EPA is soliciting public comments on specific aspects of the proposed information collection as described below. This is a “proposed extension of the Information Collection Request (ICR), which is currently approved through 06/30/2017”. 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.


Comments must be submitted on or before August 28, 2017.


Submit your comments, referencing Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-2003-0033, online using (our preferred method), by email to or by mail to: EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460.

EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes profanity, threats, information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute.

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

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Supporting documents which explain in detail the information that the EPA will be collecting are available in the public docket for this ICR. The docket can be viewed online at or in person at the EPA Docket Center, WJC West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC. The telephone number for the Docket Center is 202-566-1744. For additional information about EPA's public docket, visit​dockets.

Pursuant to section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA, EPA is soliciting 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. 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. At that time, EPA will issue another Federal Register notice to announce the submission of the ICR to OMB and the opportunity to submit additional comments to OMB.

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 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 reapplying for a section 301(h) 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 Start Printed Page 29546program. 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.

Form Numbers: “None.”

Respondents/affected entities: Entities potentially affected by this action are those municipalities that currently have section 301(h) waivers from secondary treatment, or have applied for a renewal of a section 301(h) waiver, and the states within which these municipalities are located.

Respondent's obligation to respond: Voluntary, required to obtain or retain a benefit.

Estimated number of respondents: Est. 50 (total).

Frequency of response: From once every five years, to varies case-by-case, depending on the category of information.

Total estimated burden: 59,370 hours (per year). Burden is defined at 5 CFR 1320.03(b)

Total estimated cost: $1.3 million (per year), includes $0 annualized capital or operation & maintenance costs.

Changes in Estimates: There is a decrease of hours in the total estimated respondent burden compared with the ICR currently approved by OMB. EPA expects the numbers will decrease due to changes in respondent universe, use of technology, etc.

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Dated: May 2, 2017.

John Goodin,

Acting Director, Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds.

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[FR Doc. 2017-13677 Filed 6-28-17; 8:45 am]