40 CFR § 125.62 - Attainment or maintenance of water quality which assures protection of public water supplies; assures the protection and propagation of a balanced indigenous population of shellfish, fish, and wildlife; and allows recreational activities.
(a) Physical characteristics of discharge.
(1) At the time the 301(h) modification becomes effective, the applicant's outfall and diffuser must be located and designed to provide adequate initial dilution, dispersion, and transport of wastewater such that the discharge does not exceed at and beyond the zone of initial dilution:
(i) All applicable water quality standards; and
(ii) All applicable EPA water quality criteria for pollutants for which there is no applicable EPA-approved water quality standard that directly corresponds to the EPA water quality criterion for the pollutant.
(iii) For purposes of paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section, a State water quality standard “directly corresponds” to an EPA water quality criterion only if:
(A) The State water quality standard addresses the same pollutant as the EPA water quality criterion and
(B) The State water quality standard specifies a numeric criterion for that pollutant or State objective methodology for deriving such a numeric criterion.
(iv) The evaluation of compliance with paragraphs (a)(1) (i) and (ii) of this section shall be based upon conditions reflecting periods of maximum stratification and during other periods when discharge characteristics, water quality, biological seasons, or oceanographic conditions indicate more critical situations may exist.
(2) The evaluation under paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section as to compliance with applicable section 304(a)(1) water quality criteria shall be based on the following:
(i) For aquatic life criteria: The pollutant concentrations that must not be exceeded are the numeric ambient values, if any, specified in the EPA section 304(a)(1) water quality criteria documents as the concentrations at which acute and chronic toxicity to aquatic life occurs or that are otherwise identified as the criteria to protect aquatic life.
(ii) For human health criteria for carcinogens: (A) For a known or suspected carcinogen, the Administrator shall determine the pollutant concentration that shall not be exceeded. To make this determination, the Administrator shall first determine a level of risk associated with the pollutant that is acceptable for purposes of this section. The Administrator shall then use the information in the section 304(a)(1) water quality criterion document, supplemented by all other relevant information, to determine the specific pollutant concentration that corresponds to the identified risk level.
(B) For purposes of paragraph (a)(2)(ii)(A) of this section, an acceptable risk level will be a single level that has been consistently used, as determined by the Administrator, as the basis of the State's EPA-approved water quality standards for carcinogenic pollutants. Alternatively, the Administrator may consider a State's recommendation to use a risk level that has been otherwise adopted or formally proposed by the State. The State recommendation must demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Administrator, that the recommended level is sufficiently protective of human health in light of the exposure and uncertainty factors associated with the estimate of the actual risk posed by the applicant's discharge. The State must include with its demonstration a showing that the risk level selected is based on the best information available and that the State has held a public hearing to review the selection of the risk level, in accordance with provisions of State law and public participation requirements of 40 CFR part 25. If the Administrator neither determines that there is a consistently used single risk level nor accepts a risk level recommended by the State, then the Administrator shall otherwise determine an acceptable risk level based on all relevant information.
(iii) For human health criteria for noncarcinogens: For noncarcinogenic pollutants, the pollutant concentrations that must not be exceeded are the numeric ambient values, if any, specified in the EPA section 304(a)(1) water quality criteria documents as protective against the potential toxicity of the contaminant through ingestion of contaminated aquatic organisms.
(3) The requirements of paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this section apply in addition to, and do not waive or substitute for, the requirements of § 125.61.
(b) Impact of discharge on public water supplies.
(1) The applicant's modified discharge must allow for the attainment or maintenance of water quality which assures protection of public water supplies.
(2) The applicant's modified discharge must not:
(i) Prevent a planned or existing public water supply from being used, or from continuing to be used, as a public water supply; or
(ii) Have the effect of requiring treatment over and above that which would be necessary in the absence of such discharge in order to comply with local and EPA drinking water standards.
(c) Biological impact of discharge.
(1) The applicant's modified discharge must allow for the attainment or maintenance of water quality which assures protection and propagation of a balanced indigenous population of shellfish, fish, and wildlife.
(2) A balanced indigenous population of shellfish, fish, and wildlife must exist:
(i) Immediately beyond the zone of initial dilution of the applicant's modified discharge; and
(ii) In all other areas beyond the zone of initial dilution where marine life is actually or potentially affected by the applicant's modified discharge.
(3) Conditions within the zone of initial dilution must not contribute to extreme adverse biological impacts, including, but not limited to, the destruction of distinctive habitats of limited distribution, the presence of disease epicenter, or the stimulation of phytoplankton blooms which have adverse effects beyond the zone of initial dilution.
(4) In addition, for modified discharges into saline estuarine water:
(i) Benthic populations within the zone of initial dilution must not differ substantially from the balanced indigenous populations which exist immediately beyond the boundary of the zone of initial dilution;
(ii) The discharge must not interfere with estuarine migratory pathways within the zone of initial dilution; and
(iii) The discharge must not result in the accumulation of toxic pollutants or pesticides at levels which exert adverse effects on the biota within the zone of initial dilution.
(d) Impact of discharge on recreational activities.
(1) The applicant's modified discharge must allow for the attainment or maintenance of water quality which allows for recreational activities beyond the zone of initial dilution, including, without limitation, swimming, diving, boating, fishing, and picnicking, and sports activities along shorelines and beaches.
(2) There must be no Federal, State, or local restrictions on recreational activities within the vicinity of the applicant's modified outfall unless such restrictions are routinely imposed around sewage outfalls. This exception shall not apply where the restriction would be lifted or modified, in whole or in part, if the applicant were discharging a secondary treatment effluent.
(e) Additional requirements for applications based on improved or altered discharges. An application for a section 301(h) modified permit on the basis of an improved or altered discharge must include:
(1) A demonstration that such improvements or alterations have been thoroughly planned and studied and can be completed or implemented expeditiously;
(2) Detailed analyses projecting changes in average and maximum monthly flow rates and composition of the applicant's discharge which are expected to result from proposed improvements or alterations;
(3) The assessments required by paragraphs (a) through (d) of this section based on its current discharge; and
(4) A detailed analysis of how the applicant's planned improvements or alterations will comply with the requirements of paragraphs (a) through (d) of this section.
(f) Stressed waters. An applicant must demonstrate compliance with paragraphs (a) through (e) of this section not only on the basis of the applicant's own modified discharge, but also taking into account the applicant's modified discharge in combination with pollutants from other sources. However, if an applicant which discharges into ocean waters believes that its failure to meet the requirements of paragraphs (a) through (e) of this section is entirely attributable to conditions resulting from human perturbations other than its modified discharge (including, without limitation, other municipal or industrial discharges, nonpoint source runoff, and the applicant's previous discharges), the applicant need not demonstrate compliance with those requirements if it demonstrates, to the satisfaction of the Administrator, that its modified discharge does not or will not:
(1) Contribute to, increase, or perpetuate such stressed conditions;
(2) Contribute to further degradation of the biota or water quality if the level of human perturbation from other sources increases; and
(3) Retard the recovery of the biota or water quality if the level of human perturbation from other sources decreases.