Ohio EPA has issued four interrelated water quality rule packages for public review. These four rule packages address water quality standards, antidegradation, Section 401 Water Quality Certifications and stream mitigation.
Per Ohio EPA's fact sheet regarding the new rule packages (see Ohio EPA's Draft Rules - Surface Water Quality, Fact Sheet 2 of 3: Key Features OAC Chapters 3745-1 and 3745-32), Ohio EPA intends for the proposed rule packages to:
- Improve clarity and understanding of the regulations;
- Update surface water standards to reflect the most recent scientific information and U.S. EPA Guidance;
- Expand the number of beneficial uses of water recognized in the Ohio water quality standards to include drainage, navigation and primary headwater habitat;
- Update the antidegradation rule to better protect high-quality waters;
- Reduce the time and work needed to issue permits;
- Establish a predictable method to implement protective stream mitigation requirements in Section 401 water quality certifications; and
- Create a state water quality permit to allow authorization of impacts to "waters of the state" that no longer fall under Clean Water Act jurisdiction.
Ohio EPA will accept written comments regarding these rule packages until 5:00 p.m. on March 8, 2011. For more information about these rule packages, see the Ohio EPA, Division of Surface Water webpage at http://www.epa.state.oh.us/Default.aspx?alias=www.epa.state.oh.us/dsw.