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25 Pa. Code § 93.8d. Development of site-specific water quality criteria.

§ 93.8d. Development of site-specific water quality criteria.

 (a)  The Department will consider a request for site-specific criteria when one or more of the following apply:

   (1)  There exist site-specific biological or chemical conditions of receiving waters which differ from conditions upon which the water quality criteria were based.

   (2)  More stringent criteria are needed for a parameter listed in §  93.7 (relating to specific water quality criteria) to protect more sensitive, intervening uses.

   (3)  There exists a need for a site-specific criterion for a substance not listed in §  93.8c, Table 5 (relating to water quality criteria for toxic substances).

 (b)  The request for site-specific criteria must include the results of scientific studies for the purpose of:

   (1)  Defining the areal boundaries for application of the site-specific criteria which will include the potentially affected wastewater dischargers identified by the Department, through various means, including, but not limited to, the total maximum daily load (TMDL) process described in Chapter 96 (relating to water quality standards implementation) or biological assessments.

   (2)  Developing site-specific criteria which protect the surface water’s existing and designated uses.

 (c)  Scientific studies shall be performed in accordance with the procedures and guidance in the Water Quality Standards Handbook (EPA 1994), as amended and updated, including: ‘‘Guidance on the Determination and Use of Water-Effect Ratios for Metals’’ (February 1994); and the ‘‘Methodology for Deriving Ambient Water Quality Criteria for the Protection of Human Health’’ (2000). Other guidance approved by the department, which is based on EPA-approved or scientifically defensible methodologies, may be used. The development of new or updated site-specific criteria for copper in freshwater systems shall be performed using the biotic ligand model (BLM).

 (d)  Prior to conducting studies specified in subsections (b) and (c), a proposed plan of study shall be submitted to the Department for review, consideration and approval.

 (e)  Signed copies of all reports including toxicity test data shall be submitted to the Department within 60 days of completion of the tests.

 (f)  If the Department determines that site-specific criteria are appropriate in accordance with subsection (a), the Department will do the following:

   (1)  Publish the site-specific criterion in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, along with other special conditions under §  92a.82(b)(3) (relating to public notice of permit applications and draft permits) and provide for public participation and public hearing in accordance with § §  92a.81, 92a.82, 92a.83 and 92a.85.

   (2)  Maintain a publicly available online table of site-specific criteria.

   (3)  Submit the methodologies used for site-specific criteria development to the EPA’s Regional Administrator for review and approval, within 30 days of Department’s final action.

   (4)  Prepare a recommendation to the EQB in the form of proposed rulemaking, incorporating that criterion for the water body segment.

 (g)  If the Department determines that new Statewide criteria or modifications to Statewide criteria are appropriate, the Department will prepare a recommendation to the EQB in the form of proposed rulemaking, incorporating the criteria into this chapter. The new criteria and changes to the criteria will become effective following adoption by the EQB as final rulemaking and publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

 (h)  A person challenging a Department action under this section shall have the burden of proof to demonstrate that the Department’s action does not meet the requirements of this section.


   The provisions of this §  93.8d amended under sections 5(b)(1) and 402 of The Clean Streams Law (35 P.S. § §  691.5(b)(1) and 691.402); section 1920-A of The Administrative Code of 1929 (71 P.S. §  510-20).


   The provisions of this §  93.8d adopted May 15, 2009, effective May 16, 2009, 39 Pa.B. 2523; amended July 19, 2013, effective July 20, 2013, 43 Pa.B. 4080; amended July 10, 2020, effective July 11, 2020, 50 Pa.B. 3426. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (367561) to (367563).

Cross References

   This section cited in 25 Pa. Code §  16.24 (relating to metals criteria); 25 Pa. Code §  16.41 (relating to changes and additions); and 25 Pa. Code §  93.8a (relating to toxic substances).

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