Ohio EPA seeks Early Stakeholder Input into Beneficial Use Designations

Ohio EPA’s Division of Surface Water has announced early stakeholder outreach concerning the Water Quality Standards Rules in OAC Chapter 3745-1. The early stakeholder outreach phase is an opportunity to shape the direction of rules before rule language is drafted.  By sharing comments early in the process, affected parties can help shape the process and ensure that Ohio EPA takes into account the effects the rules will have on the regulated community.

The rulemaking will include five water quality standards program beneficial use designation rules for the Maumee River, Sandusky River, Great Miami River, Portage River and Muskingum River drainage basins. Beneficial use designations are the water quality goals for lakes, rivers, steams and other water bodies. Designations include such uses as aquatic life habitats (warmwater, coldwater, etc.), recreation (bathing waters, primary contact, secondary contact) and water supplies (public, agricultural, industrial).

Three broad types of changes will be considered by Ohio EPA:

  • Changing beneficial use designations for specific water bodies;
  • Adding water bodies that are currently unlisted in the rules; and
  • Verifying existing beneficial use designations already listed in the rules.

A complete fact sheet with additional details, including links to the biological and water quality studies upon which the rule revisions are based is available here. Comments are due to Ohio EPA by February 19, 2016 and can be submitted to dsw_rulecomments@epa.ohio.gov. There will be additional opportunities to comment once a formal rule proposal is made.

If you have questions about how these rules may affect you, or if we can be of assistance in formulating comments, please contact us.

Kathy Milenkovski is an energy and environmental lawyer. She helps clients comply with complex state and federal regulatory programs and represents clients in litigation, appearing in administrative, state and federal courts.
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