Triennial Review Process

The Clean Water Act requires that DEQ review its water quality standards (Regulation 2) every three years, at least. The triennial review process, outlined below, must be followed.

  1. Governor’s Review – The rulemaking is sent to the Governor’s Office for review.
  2. Petition the Commission – DEQ petitions the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission (APC&EC) to adopt revisions proposed by the DEQ Water Quality Planning Branch. These revisions may be necessary because of new scientific information or simply to correct things like typographical errors.
  3. Public Notice – Rule 8 requires that information about the proposed revisions be published in newspapers with statewide circulation. Copies of the proposed regulation are made available at DEQ headquarters and at local public libraries.
  4. Public Hearings – A public hearing is held to gather public input on the proposed revisions. The hearing is held at least 20 days after the date of public notice. During the hearing, written and oral comments concerning the proposed revisions are accepted and entered into the public record.
  5. Public Comment Period – The public comment period will extend at least ten days beyond the public hearing, and written comments will continue to be accepted and entered into public record during this period.
  6. Responsive Summary – DEQ must read and publicly respond to all comments received during the public comment period. This response, Responsive Summary, is published on DEQ's website.
  7. Update Governor’s Office – If needed, the final draft of Rule 2 is sent to the governor's office for review if substantive changes were made based on public comment.
  8. Commission Adoption – After the response to comments is developed, the final draft of the rule is sent to APC&EC to be adopted.
  9. Legislative Approval – After adoption by the APC&EC, the rule is then sent to two legislative committees for review: Public Health, and Rules and Regulations.
  10. Final State Action – After legislative committee review, the APC&EC files the final rule with the Secretary of State. The rule becomes final 10 days after filing.
  11. EPA Approval – The final draft is then sent to U.S. EPA for final approval. The regulation may be used for Clean Water Act purposes only after EPA approval.

For additional information concerning the Public Notice, Public Hearing, and other aspects of the rulemaking process, refer to APC&EC Regulation 8: Administrative Procedures, Chapter 8.

DEQ and third parties may petition the APC&EC to amend water quality standards at any time; they do not have to wait for the triennial review process. Typically this is done through a Use Attainability Analysis, Water Effects Ratio, or Environmental Improvement Project.