Press release from ORSANCO
(Cincinnati, Oh.) - The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) is initiating a review of its Pollution Control Standards for Wastewater Discharges to the Ohio River. The Commission Standards include designated uses of the Ohio River, numerical water quality criteria established to protect the uses, and effluent limits necessary to meet those criteria. It is the policy of the Commission to conduct a formal review of its Standards every three years. In 2010, an expedited review was carried out under which a limited number of issues were considered. The last full triennial review was completed in October 2009.
Comments on any portion of the Standards will be accepted until May 20, 2011. All comments received by that date will be considered by the Commission’s Pollution Control Standards Committee; their consideration may result in proposed revisions to the Standards. Any proposed revisions will be presented at a public hearing and will be subject to an additional public comment period before they are acted upon by the Commission.
In order to facilitate review of the current Standards, four public workshops will be held. Each workshop will include brief descriptions of the authority and purpose of the Commission Standards, their relationship to state and federal standards, the content of the current Standards, and issues that are expected to be addressed in the current review. The major portion of each workshop will be devoted to questions and discussions on the Standards and related issues. The workshops will not be recorded and no formal statements will be taken; they are being held to facilitate discussion of Standards-related issues and to assist persons who may be considering the submittal of comments.
Information on the public workshops will be posted on the Commission web site www.orsanco.org.
Comments on all parts of the Commission Standards will be considered. It is anticipated that some or all of the following issues could be raised in the review:
It was hoped that selenium would be addressed in the Expedited Review completed in 2010; however, the new US EPA criteria have yet to be released. It is still anticipated that the new criteria will be issued in the near future and will be considered for adoption by ORSANCO.
Drinking water utilities report that bromides are an increasing problem in treating Ohio River water for potable use.
It has been recommended by a work group of state agency permit program personnel that the Commission adopt a criterion to protect human health from heated discharges.
Design Stream Flows
Comments suggesting design flows other than those in the current Standards for human health protection need to be considered further. In addition, some of the aquatic life criteria in the current Standards are not associated with any design flow.
ORSANCO staff has been analyzing data on nutrients and algae for several years with the objective of developing numerical criteria for nutrients. To date, those efforts have been unsuccessful.
The current Standards do not have a criterion for iron. State criteria for iron in the Ohio River are inconsistent; some are for total recoverable iron, others for dissolved iron. This has resulted in inconsistent assessments of water quality conditions.
US EPA is working to adopt new criteria for pathogens to protect recreational use. While the new criteria are not scheduled to be adopted within the time frame of this review, it is anticipated that they will be available in draft form for initial consideration.
Comments on the Standards should be submitted to the following address:
5735 Kellogg Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio 45230
Att: PCS Comments
Comments may also be submitted by email to pcs@orsanco,org or by fax to 513/231-7761. Comments should arrive by the close of business on Friday, May 20, 2011. Any and all comments received will be considered by the Commission’s Pollution Control Standards Committee. A summary of all comments received and their disposition will accompany the proposed revisions when they are presented for public review. It is anticipated that any proposed revisions would be presented in the spring of 2012. If you have any questions in this matter, please contact the Commission staff.