TITLE III – STANDARDS AND ENFORCEMENT

SECTION 301. EFFLUENT LIMITATIONS.

(a)    Compliance Schedules. The bill deletes obsolete compliance deadlines from Section 301(b).

(b)    Modifications for Nonconventional Pollutants. The bill expands EPA and State authority to modify permit limitations based on best available technology to all nonconventional pollutants.

SECTION 303 WATER QUALITY STANDARDS AND IMPLEMENTATION PLANS.

(a)    No Reasonable Relationship. EPA shall establish no water quality standard under 303(b) where the costs of attaining such a standard are not reasonably related to the anticipated benefits.

(b)    Revision of State Standards.

1. Review of Revisions by the Administrator. The bill requires States to review water quality standards every five years (instead of three years) and, for criteria that are revised by EPA, within 180 days of such revision.

2. Factors. In setting water quality standards, States must protect human health and the environment and enhance water quality, and may take into consideration benefits and costs. The record of a State’s review of water quality standards that include water quality criteria issued or revised by the Administrator after the date of enactment shall include the Administrator’s estimate of the costs of compliance with such water quality criteria and any comments received by the State on such estimate.

(c)    Revision of Designated Uses.

1. Regulations. The bill requires EPA to amend its regulations regarding designation of uses of waters by States.

2. Waters Not Attaining Designed Uses. EPA’s amended regulation shall allow a State to modify the designated use of a water that is not attaining its designated use if the State determines that attainment of the designated use is infeasible (as defined by the Administrator) or if the State determines that the costs of achieving the designated use are not justified by the benefits.

3. Modification of Point Source Limits. The bill authorizes modifications of water quality based limitations in permits to conform to a modified designated use.

SECTION 306. TOTAL MAXIMUM DAILY LOADS.

(a)    State Determination of Reasonable Progress. The bill authorizes States to determine whether a TMDL is necessary to achieve further reasonable progress toward the attainment or maintenance of water quality standards.

(b)    Phased Total Maximum Daily Loads. The bill authorizes States to consider anticipated load reduction from implementation of management practices, stormwater controls or other nonpoint or point source controls when establishing TMDL. Loads necessary to achieve water quality standards are to be established by 2015.

(c)    Consideration. The bill requires States to consider the availability of scientifically valid data and information, projected reduction for all sources, and cost-effectiveness of control measures when establishing TMDLs.

SECTION 310. TOXIC POLLUTANTS.

(a)    Toxic Effluent Limitations and Standards. The bill requires that specific factors be considered by EPA in promulgating effluent standards (or prohibitions) for toxic chemicals. Factors to be considered include: the pollutant’s persistence, toxicity, degradability, and bioaccumulation potential; the magnitude of risk; the relative contribution of point source discharges to the risk; the availability of substitute chemicals; the beneficial and adverse social and economic effect; the availability of other regulatory authorities; and such other factors as the Administrator deems appropriate.

SECTION 311. LOCAL PRETREATMENT AUTHORITY.

The bill allows a POTW to apply local limits in lieu of national categorical pretreatment standards for the purpose of eliminating redundant treatment or reducing the administrative burden on the POTW, if the POTW demonstrates to EPA or the State that the POTW is and will remain in compliance with its discharge permits, air emission limitations, and biosolids beneficial use requirements, and all other applicable State requirements, and that local limits will prevent introduction of pollutants that interfere with, pass through, or are otherwise incompatible with the treatment process. The POTW may not waive any pretreatment requirements applicable to any industrial user that is in significant noncompliance (as defined by EPA) with the pretreatment program. The POTW must demonstrate continued compliance in its annual pretreatment report to EPA or the State.

SECTION 319. NONPOINT SOURCE MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS.

The bill requires each Section 319 program to include management practices and measures to reduce pollutant loading that may include voluntary and incentive-based programs, regulatory programs, enforceable policies and mechanisms, State management programs approved under 306 of the Coastal Zone Management Act, and other methods to manage nonpoint sources to the degree necessary to provide for reasonable further progress toward attaining water quality standards within 15 years of State program approval. Reasonable progress toward attainment of water quality standards may be demonstrated by a variety of measures and mechanisms. Adequacy of Federal funding is a factor in determining reasonable progress. The program also must include identification of goals and milestones for attaining water quality standards, including a projected date for attaining such standards as expeditiously as possible, but no later than 15 years from the date of program approval.

The bill includes recognition of compliance with approved whole farm or ranch natural resources management plans< as compliance with the State management program.

The bill authorizes EPA to review State programs and, in limited instances, to prepare and implement a program for a given State.

The bill authorizes funding for technical and financial assistance by EPA including grants for preparing and/or implementing reports and programs. Increases the Federal cost share from 60% to 75% and requires EPA to establish an allotment formula for distribution to the States. Expands eligible uses of funds. >EPA is authorized to withhold grants to States that are not in compliance. Increases funding levels to $400 M each year from FY 2001 through FY 2005.

The bill directs EPA to publish guidance on model management practices and measures for consideration by the States.

The bill clarifies that land application of livestock manure is not a point source and is regulated under Section 319 only.

The bill includes an unfunded mandate safeguard, i.e., compliance dates are delayed one year for each year Congress does not appropriate 100% of authorized funds, unless EPA and the State jointly certify that the amounts appropriated are sufficient to meet the requirements of this section.

SECTION 324. BENEFIT AND COST CRITERION.

(a)    Decision Criterion. EPA may not issue regulations or guidance, which, if a rule, would result in an annual increase in costs of $25M or more unless EPA certifies that the regulation or guidance maximizes net benefits to society. The requirement to maximize net benefits supplements and, to the extent there is a conflict, supersedes decision criteria otherwise applicable under this Act, except that the resulting regulatory requirements or guidance shall be economically achievable.

(b)    Benefit and Cost Analysis Guidance. EPA must issue guidance for conducting benefit and cost analyses within 180 days of enactment which shall include requirements to identify policy alternative, methods for estimating incremental benefits and costs, an estimate of the incremental risk avoided by the regulatory requirement, and an estimate of total costs.

(c)    Exemptions. Permits, purely procedural requirements, water quality criteria, and water quality based standards are exempt from this section.

(d)    Discretionary Exemptions. The bill allows EPA to exempt regulations that would result in costs of less than $25M/year from the requirements of this section.

(e)    General Rule on Applicability. In general, this section applies to covered regulations and guidance issued after one year from the date of enactment.

 

 

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