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TCEQ Approves Update to Surface Water Quality Standards

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality approved the rules associated with the Triennial Revision of 30 TAC Chapter 307, Texas Water Quality Standards on Aug. 23 to progress from a pending proposal status to a proposal. The rules have been published in the Texas Register for public comment, and comments are due by Oct. 17. There will be a public hearing on Oct. 16.

These proposed rule changes are a result of the triennial review of Texas Surface Water Quality Standards (TSWQS) by the statutory authority of the Texas Water Commission and the federal Clean Water Act. The proposed rule changes are supported by site-specific studies, federal and state research, and statewide monitoring and sampling data. The changes consist of the following:

1. Revisions to statewide toxic criteria

  • New data on toxicity effects
  • Addresses revised EPA procedures

2. Revisions and additions to site-specific toxic criteria, uses, and descriptions of individual water bodies

  • Local water quality data for selected water bodies
  • Results of use-attainability analyses (UAA’s)

3. Revisions to provisions regarding coastal recreation waters to comply with the federal Clean Water Act

The proposed rules are primarily operational and procedural in nature and will result only in updates to standards, criteria, and procedures to improve clarity and provide additional specificity. However, the proposed rules will not require the development of new policies or create any new groups affected by the rules.

TCEQ does not anticipate the rulemaking to create additional administrative costs. The rules would streamline water quality management programs by reducing unnecessary restorative activities. This is most relevant for the dissolved oxygen and contact recreation criteria, because approximately 52 impairments would be removed. Consequentially, this could lead to cost savings for some regulated communities.

For more information on how the proposal will affect stakeholders and its expected benefits, visit the TCEQ website at www.tceq.texas.gov/rules/prop.html, where there is also a link to submit eComments.

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