Water: Regulatory Information
Federal Nutrient Water Quality Standards for the State of Florida's Estuaries, Coastal Waters, and South Florida Inland Flowing Waters (Coastal Rule)
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EPA Discontinues Work on Coastal Rule
A January 7, 2014, court ruling allows EPA to discontinue its work on the coastal rule, so Florida can implement their state-adopted, EPA-approved criteria to address nutrient pollution in Florida’s waters. On April 2, 2014, EPA published its proposal to withdraw the Inland Rule and discontinue its work on three 2012 proposed rules. The comment period for the proposal closed on June 2, 2014. EPA responded to all public comments and on September 17, 2014 upon signature by the Administrator, and confirmed in the final withdrawal rule that EPA is discontinuing work on the estuaries rule. As confirmed in a letter from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, EPA's withdrawal of Federal criteria allows the state of Florida's numeric nutrient criteria to become effective as the only rules covering Florida water bodies.
- Fact Sheet (PDF) (2 pp, 55K)
- Federal Register Notice (September 25, 2014)
- Court Ruling (PDF) (23 pp, 66K) (January 2014)
- EPA's response to public comments (PDF) (58 pp, 6MB)
- Start Date Agreement Letter (PDF) (2 pp, 58K)
On December 18, 2012, EPA published proposed numeric water quality criteria and downstream protection values to protect aquatic life and human health in certain estuaries and coastal waters within the state of Florida, and in flowing waters in south Florida, from nitrogen and phosphorus pollution.
This proposed rule sought to improve water quality of Florida's estuaries, coastal waters, and flowing waters in south Florida, and thereby protect public health, aquatic life, and the recreational uses of Florida’s waters, which are a critical part of the state’s economy.
- Press Release (November 30, 2012)
- Fact Sheet (PDF) (3 pp, 235K)
- Federal Register Notice (December 18, 2012)
- Docket with technical support documents (docket number EPA-HQ-OW-2010-0222)
The comment period for this rule ended on February 1, 2013.
If you have questions about the proposed rule, contact Erica Fleisig (Fleisig.firstname.lastname@example.org) at 202-566-1057.
EPA held two public information sessions about the proposed rule in Tampa, Florida on January 17 and 18. The Agency also held three webinars on January 22, 23, and 24.
Methods and Approaches for Deriving Numeric Criteria
As part of the federal promulgation of numeric criteria for nutrient pollution in the state of Florida, EPA developed a document entitled: "Methods and Approaches for Deriving Numeric Criteria for Nitrogen/Phosphorus Pollution in Florida’s Estuaries, Coastal Waters, and Southern Flowing Waters." This document describes approaches EPA considered for the derivation of numeric criteria for nutrient pollution in Florida estuaries, coastal waters, and southern inland flowing waters. In addition, the document describes the approach EPA considered for developing downstream protection values (DPVs) that may be applied to Florida streams to ensure the attainment and maintenance of downstream water quality standards.
As follow up to a commitment EPA made on June 7, 2010, EPA sought feedback on the scientific defensibility of the approaches being considered for the derivation of numeric criteria for nutrient pollution development through an SAB review. In November 2010, EPA submitted its potential methods and approaches for an independent, scientific peer review by the SAB. In July 2011, the SAB provided their final recommendations to the EPA on the methods and approaches. The recommendations provided to EPA through the SAB review process strengthen the scientific basis of numeric criteria for nutrient pollution proposed for Florida estuaries, coastal waters, and southern inland flowing waters.
- News Release announcing SAB review of EPA data and methodology
- Final SAB recommendations (PDF) (67 pp, 225K)
- More information on the SAB review.