The Federal Water Pollution Control Act (Clean Water Act) requires states to develop water quality standards to protect surface waters for aquatic life, sport, leisure, human consumption, and other uses. The Clean Water Act also requires that DEQ review the state's water quality standards every three years (see Triennial Review process). For the 2013 Triennial Review the following process was followed.
A public participation process was used, establishing a stakeholder workgroup that met 3 times during May and June 2012 and two sub-workgroups met twice in July of 2012.
On January 30, 2013, DEQ filed a Petition to Initiate Rulemaking to Amend Regulation 2, Regulations Establishing Water Quality Standards for Surface Waters of the State of Arkansas. The Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission (APC&EC) signed the Petition to Initiate Rulemaking on February 22, 2013.
Four public hearings were conducted as follows:
- Jonesboro - April 15, 2013 at 6 p.m. - Allen Park Community Center
- Fayetteville - April 18, 2013 at 6 p.m. - Fayetteville City Administration Building, Room 219
- El Dorado - April 22, 2013 at 6 p.m. - South Arkansas Community College, East Campus, Workforce Development Building
- North Little Rock - April 24, 2013 at 2 p.m. - DEQ Headquarters, Commission Room
The public comment period was from February 27, 2013 through May 8, 2013. Twenty-seven (27) commenters submitted written comments during the public comment period. Fifteen (15) individuals provided oral comments on the record during the public hearings.
The proposed changes were reviewed by two legislative committees (Public Health, & Rules and Regulations).
Changes to Regulation 2 were adopted by the APC&EC on February 28, 2014 and became effective on March 24, 2014.
On October 31, 2016 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitted the Technical Support Document (TSD) regarding the 2013 triennial review. Therefore, the EPA approved revisions became effective under Federal Law on October 31, 2016.
EPA’s review resulted in approval of the majority of the revisions to the regulation as well as partial approval of several provisions. However, EPA announced it will take “no action” on other revisions for which EPA determined they did not have enough information to act. Two such provisions are related to compliance schedules and minerals. Additionally, EPA stated disapproval of the “all flows” terminology for turbidity.
The October 23, 2015 APC&EC approved version of Regulation 2 including redline/strikeout of the provisions EPA “disapproved” or “took no action” are included in Regulation 2 October 23, 2015 with EPA Action Noted.