EPA Must Respect States on Clean Water Standards

Under the Clean Water Act (CWA), states are responsible for developing, implementing and revising water quality standards. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ensures that the standards adequately protect human health and the environment based on established requirements.

One of the components of CWA standards developed by states are Human Health Water Quality Criteria (HHWQC). Unfortunately, in some states, EPA has violated its own long-standing risk and other policies to nullify and override state HHWQC. The imposed EPA requirements protect against risks even more remote than the risk of getting hit by an asteroid (see comparison of risks chart). They are unattainable and could cost manufacturers billions of dollars. Additionally, many of these facilities provide high-paying manufacturing jobs in rural communities that cannot afford to lose them.

AF&PA believes that EPA should:

  • Approve Washington and Maine’s rules and withdraw the federal rules it imposed in those states.
  • Allow states such as Idaho and Florida to establish their own HHWQC without federal interference as long as they are consistent with the CWA and applicable regulations.
  • Begin deriving its own HHWQC recommendations using a Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA) approach based on sound science, encourage states to do so, and then approve the resulting criteria.
Related: Unattainable Clean Water Act Standards One Pager (PDF) | Comparable Risks (JPG)