Water Quality Committee Update

February 21, 2019

CDPHE/State Issues

Monthly Bulletin

February Bulletin | WQCC Meeting

The WQCC reviewed a draft resolution regarding Good Samaritan legislation. Details of the legislation are not provided. Also, the WQCC drafted and approved a letter to ATSDR regarding the toxicological profile for molybdenum. No mining related permits or violations issues (one sand and gravel).

Water Quality Forum

Legislative: Provided summary of HB-1113

WQCC: Discussed the use of “current condition” language in temp mods and the preference for numerical based temp mods. 303(d) listing methodology to be discussed in March (comments due January 28).

WQCD: Discussed staffing changes. Nicole Rowan provided a summary of the final agency order on Peabody’s appeal of the CDPS permit. Discussed waters of the U.S. proposal and stated that 402 (discharge) permit applicability would not change because the definition of state waters is broader than Waters of the U.S. but 404 (dredge and fill) permits would change. Provided presentation of the integrated report (water quality status of lakes and streams statewide).

Next meeting: March 18, 2019, 12:30-4pm

Permit issues forum update January 17, 2019

Discussion of regulation 61 Changes. Upset language in regulation 61 is less stringent that Federal regulations. Regulation 61 allows upsets for technology and water quality-based limits. This is going to be maintained for now. Other areas where regulation 61 and Federal language conflicted, the WQCD used the federal language to comply with the EPA audit of the CDPS program.

Discussed watershed permitting white paper. True watershed permitting would model point and nonpoint sources. WQCD does not believe they have the resources to do conduct watershed permitting with all associated outreach, modeling, etc. Frequently asked questions document was suggested as a path forward. WQCD intends to review resource availability and will discuss at March meeting.

Downstream standards: To be discussed again at March meeting. Intend to add language to white paper from NPDES Permit Writers Manual and other relevant EPA documents. Then to be discussed with EPA.

Flow limits: To be tabled until CDPHE reaches decision on litigation. Potentially added to future workplan.

Short discussion on design vs. actual flow, how it is determined, and what number of facilities would actually benefit from changes. Also discussed tiered limits for domestic utilities versus production-based limits for industrials. WQCD requested AG’s opinion on the NPDES updates rule and impact or constraints that this puts on the process.

WET: Intend to meet with EPA prior to discussion. Potentially discussed in March.

Gabe Racz brought up streams that are effluent dependent.

WQCD 10-Year Roadmap

February meeting focused on cadmium, updates to the DSV policy, economic feasibility, and scoping for future feasibility sessions.

New EPA cadmium standard is intended to replace the current Colorado chronic and acute (trout) standards. The new chronic standard is less stringent at all hardness concentrations. The new acute criteria are less stringent when hardness is greater than 45 mg/L, but slightly more stringent at lower hardness levels. WQCD drafted an acute criterion for non-trout cold water/warm water that is less stringent at hardness over 100 mg/L but slightly more stringent at lower hardness levels. See presentation for details. Upcoming meetings to be scheduled.

Discharger specific variance policy changes incorporated WQCC decisions from 6 DSV to date. Also provided a more stepwise approach to development of a DSV. DSV’s require the best feasible instream quality and have to show a progression to meeting the standard over time. DSVs involve alternatives analysis, feasibility tests (technology, economic, other consequences). Updates also incorporated changes from the Federal rule regarding periodic review and what it entails, DSVs and impaired waters, and a completeness review (checklist).

Discussed EPA’s economic feasibility test for public and private utilities, oil refinery, and metal plating facility (and associated cost).


NMA Priorities

Held priorities meeting for upcoming environment committee meeting in Arizona. Water priorities remain consistent, including WOTUS, ACOE mitigation, Good Samaritan, groundwater/NPDES, utility ELGs, and water quality standards for conductivity and selenium.

Waters of the U.S.

CMA comments to be drafted. Send comments and suggestions to Stan and Jimmy.

Aluminum Water Quality Standard

EPA finalized Federal standard which is equation-based and dependent on hardness, pH, and DOC. EPA maintained the standard in total form, which overestimates actual toxicity and will create compliance issues. GEI working on white paper to discuss with Federal EPA on implementation procedures that can address this issue. The white paper will address ongoing science on new methods that address the total form, outline issues the standard can create with compliance and attainment determinations focusing on the wasted state and industry resources, suggest a form of a precipitation exemption that would exclude samples high in TSS from compliance and attainment determination, and recommend states address the issue at the state level.

EPA California Selenium Proposal

Comments due March 28.


Supreme court to take Maui case where a wastewater utility had an underground injection permit and injected wastewater into wells. NGOs argues that the injected wastewater was reaching the ocean via an underground hydrologic connection and required and NPDES permit (tracer dye testing showed wastewater reached ocean 84 days later). This has potential to significantly expand CWA applicability and NPDES permitting requirements. Multiple industry groups are considering filing amicus briefs on behalf of the County of Maui.


Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety

Army Corps of Engineers