The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is revising its water quality standards (WQS) in a rulemaking set to begin next summer. The EPA is currently seeking informal comments from regulated entities, including cities. The WQS regulation amendments will include changes in: (1) antidegradation policies protecting current water quality, and their implementation at the state level; (2) how the EPA administrator determines that a revised or new standard is necessary to meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act, and what action that requires from the EPA; (3) the definition of “uses” for water quality protection purposes and how use attainability is defined by the agency; (4) the regulatory expectations of states from the EPA regarding states repeatedly granting variances from the WQS; (5) the scope and inclusiveness of triennial standards reviews at the state level; and (6) how the rules reflect recent court decisions.

The EPA has already accepted informal comments on these proposed changes. The agency will review those comments and create proposed rules for publication in the Federal Register next summer. At that time, there will be an opportunity for formal comment. More detailed information about the WQS review and proposed changes is available on the EPA Web site.

Written comments may be submitted either via e-mail to SHPDcomments@epa.gov, or by mail to:

Thomas J. Gardner
Office of Science and Technology (Mail Code 4305T)
Office of Water
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460

If you have basic questions about this proposed rulemaking, please contact Lauren Crawford in the TML Legal Department at (512) 231-7400 or lauren@tml.org.

TML member cities may use the material herein for any purpose.
No other person or entity may reproduce, duplicate, or distribute any part of this document without the written authorization of the
Texas Municipal League.

Back to Legislative Update Index