Contact the EPA now: Florida proposes harmful changes to its Water Quality standards

Contact the EPA now: Florida proposes harmful changes to its Water Quality standards.

Please contact the EPA regarding the proposed change to the Human Health Criteria water quality standards I Florida.

This is a summary of where Florida is at in proposing changes to the state water quality standards, and our path of last resort for appealing to the federal EPA.

First, a quick summary:

1. The FDEP proposal for revisions to Human Health-based Water Quality criteria and the associated proposals to establish new surface water classifications was approved by the Environmental Regulation Commission at its public meeting on July 26th. For more information on these rule changes and associated documents, see:

2. There will not be any additional public hearings on this topic before submittal of the FDEP package to the federal EPA.

3. There is not a specific date set yet for submittal of the final package to the EPA, but it will not be for at least another month. Amendments to the rules were adopted at the ERC meeting that need to posted publicly prior to inclusion. FDEP will notify me when the final submission is done.

4. Until a final regulatory package, including the State’s response to all public comments, is received, EPA cannot comment on the contents of the package nor make a pre-decisional determination on the adequacy of those regulatory changes. However, they have welcomed our input.

5. When a final regulatory package is submitted, EPA will review and act on all changes consistent with the Clean Water Act and the implementing regulations for the water quality standards program at 40 CFR 131. As part of this process EPA develops a decision document that explains their rational for their action (approval /disapprove). They also review the State’s response to the comments received on the criteria.

Send the letter below to the EPA now. Change it up a bit and personalize it to show just how you feel about this issue. THANKS!

TO: Joanne Benante <>
CC: César A. Zapata <>
Subject: Florida NEEDS the EPA to HELP FLORIDA

Dear Ms. Benante,

FDEP will be submitting their final package to the EPA within a month now that they have approved new rules for water quality at the ERC public meeting on July 26th. I understand the EPA will review and approve or disapprove the FDEP proposal when you receive it. Please do not approve the changes requested.

I oppose FDEP’s position to weaken restrictions on the numerous cancer-causing chemicals that are discharged into Florida’s rivers, lakes, streams and coastal waters. The maximum criteria approved for any chemical included in the update to the Human Health Criteria should never exceed the Federal EPA standard.

Just look at the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing industry and FDEP’s proposal becomes transparent. This is not about ensuring that Floridians can safely eat fish and drink local tap water. The state agency has called for nearly tripling the allowable limit of benzene in Florida’s drinking water, from 1.18 micrograms per liter to 3.01 micrograms per liter. The new state limit on benzene would be 43 percent higher than the 2.1 micrograms-per-liter limit established by the federal EPA.

Under FDEP’s proposal, allowable levels of chloroform would go up significantly, and allowable levels of arsenic would remain more than 1,000 times higher for potable water than what the EPA recommends. The state even plans to leave unregulated several dozen toxic compounds on the EPA’s list of recommended criteria, including dioxin, a major carcinogen. All this under the auspices of doing an “update” to help protect people “whose diets are comprised primarily of Florida seafood.”

I look forward to seeing the EPA’s review of these ill-conceived FDEP proposals and again ask that your agency disapprove any standard for water quality less than what the EPA recommends.


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Please leave your questions and comments here and we will keep an eye out to answer them.

Dennis Phelan




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  • Posted 8 years ago

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