[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 207 (Wednesday, October 26, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 66286-66304]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-27742]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0517; FRL-9483-4]
RIN 2040-AF06


Notice of Final 2010 Effluent Guidelines Program Plan

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: This notice presents the final 2010 Effluent Guidelines 
Program Plan(``final 2010 Plan''), which, as required under the Clean 
Water Act (CWA), identifies any new or existing industrial dischargers, 
both those discharging directly to surface waters and those discharging 
to publicly owned treatment works (POTWs), selected for effluent 
guidelines rulemaking and provides a schedule for such rulemakings. CWA 
section 304(m) requires EPA to biennially publish such a plan after 
public notice and comment. The Agency published the preliminary 2010 
Plan on December 28, 2009 (74 FR 68599) and solicited comments from the 
public for 60 days.
    After considering rulemakings already in development, the 2010 
reviews, the preliminary Plan and public comments and input to 
determine what, if any, new rulemakings should be initiated, EPA has 
decided to develop effluent guidelines and standards for the discharge 
of wastewater from the Coalbed Methane Extraction (CBM) industry and 
will develop pretreatments requirements for discharges of mercury from 
the Dental industry, and for the discharges of wastewater from the 
Shale Gas Extraction (SGE) industry.
    EPA is also issuing the detailed study report for the Coalbed 
Methane Extraction and the preliminary study report of the Ore Mining 
and Dressing industry.
    This notice also solicits public comments on EPA's 2011 reviews 
pursuant to the authority of CWA sections 304(b), 304(g), 301(d) and 
307(b).

DATES: Submit comments on or before November 25, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments on the final 2010 Plan, identified by 
Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0517, by one of the following methods:
    (1) http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for 
submitting comments.
    (2) E-mail: OW-Docket@epa.gov, Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-
2008-0517.
    (3) Mail: Water Docket, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 
4203M,

[[Page 66287]]

1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460, Attention Docket ID 
No. EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0517. Please include a total of 3 copies.
    (4) Hand Delivery: Water Docket, EPA Docket Center, EPA West, Room 
3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC, Attention Docket ID 
No. EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0517. Such deliveries are only accepted during the 
Docket's normal hours of operation and special arrangements should be 
made.
    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2008-
0517. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in 
the public docket without change and may be made available online at 
http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be 
Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose 
disclosure is restricted by statute (see below for instructions on 
submitting CBI). Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI 
or otherwise protected through regulations.gov or e-mail. The federal 
regulations.gov Web site is an ``anonymous access'' system, which means 
EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you 
provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an e-mail comment 
directly to EPA without going through regulations.gov, your e-mail 
address will be automatically captured and included as part of the 
comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the 
Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you 
include your name and other contact information in the body of your 
comment, and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read 
your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for 
clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic 
files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of 
encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses.

Submitting Confidential Business Information

    Do not submit confidential business information (CBI) to EPA 
through http://www.regulations.gov or e-mail. Any CBI you wish to 
submit should be sent via a trackable physical method, such as Federal 
Express or United Parcel Service, to Mr. M. Ahmar Siddiqui, Document 
Control Officer, Engineering and Analysis Division (4303T), Room 6231S 
EPA West, U.S. EPA, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW., Washington, DC 20460. A 
CBI package should be double-wrapped, so that the CBI is in one 
package, which is itself inside another package. Clearly mark the part 
or all of the information that you claim to be CBI. For CBI information 
on a disk or CD-ROM that you mail to EPA, mark the outside of the disk 
or CD-ROM as CBI and then identify electronically within the disk or 
CD-ROM the specific information that is claimed as CBI. In addition to 
one complete copy of the material that includes information claimed as 
CBI, a copy of the material that does not contain the information 
claimed as CBI must be submitted for inclusion in the public docket. 
Information marked as CBI will not be disclosed except in accordance 
with procedures set forth in 40 CFR part 2.
    Docket: All documents in the docket are listed in the index at 
http://www.regulations.gov. Although listed in the index, some 
information is not publicly available, i.e., CBI or other information 
whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such 
as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be 
publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket 
materials are available either electronically at http://www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Water Docket in the EPA 
Docket Center, EPA/DC, EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., 
NW., Washington, DC. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 
4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The 
telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the 
telephone number for the Water Docket is (202) 566-2426.
    Key documents providing additional information about EPA's annual 
reviews and the final 2010 Effluent Guidelines Program Plan include the 
following:
     Technical Support Document for the 2010 Effluent 
Guidelines Program Plan, EPA-820-R-10-021, DCN 07320;
     Coalbed Methane Point Source Category: Detailed Study 
Report, EPA-820-R-10-022, DCN 09999;
     Draft Guidance Document: Best Management Practices for 
Unused Pharmaceuticals at Health Care Facilities, August 26, 2010, EPA-
821-R-10-006.
     Ore Mining and Dressing Category Preliminary Study, EPA-
820-R-10-025, DCN 07369.

Data and Information for the 2011 Annual Review

    Submit any data and information you have for the 2011 annual 
reviews, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2010-0824, by one of the 
methods described above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. William F. Swietlik at (202) 566-
1129 or swietlik.william@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

How is this document organized?

    The outline of this notice follows.

I. General Information
II. Legal Authority
III. What is the purpose of this Federal Register notice?
IV. Background
V. EPA's 2010 Annual Review of Existing Effluent Guidelines and 
Pretreatment Standards Under CWA Sections 301(d), 304(b), 304(g), 
304(m), and 307(b)
VI. EPA's 2010 Evaluation of Categories of Indirect Dischargers 
Without Categorical Pretreatment Standards To Identify Potential New 
Categories for Pretreatment Standards
VII. The Final 2010 Effluent Guidelines Program Plan
VIII. EPA's 2011 Annual Review of Existing Effluent Guidelines and 
Pretreatment Standards Under CWA Sections 301(d), 304(b), 304(g), 
and 307(b)
IX. Request for Comment and Information

I. General Information

A. Does this action apply to me?

    This notice provides a summary of the Agency's effluent guidelines 
review and planning processes and priorities at this time, and does not 
contain any regulatory requirements. This notice also provides a 
summary of the Agency's pretreatment standards review.

B. What should I consider as I prepare my comments for EPA for the 2011 
annual review?

1. Tips for Preparing Your Comments
    When submitting comments, remember to:
     Identify the rulemaking by docket number and other 
identifying information (subject heading, Federal Register date and 
page number).
     Follow directions--The agency may ask you to respond to 
specific questions or organize comments by referencing a Code of 
Federal Regulations (CFR) part or section number.
     Explain why you agree or disagree; suggest alternatives 
and substitute language for your requested changes.
     Describe any assumptions and provide any technical 
information and/or data that you used.
     If you estimate potential costs or burdens, explain how 
you arrived at your estimate in sufficient detail to allow for it to be 
reproduced.
     Provide specific examples to illustrate your concerns, and 
suggest alternatives.

[[Page 66288]]

     Explain your views as clearly as possible.
     Make sure to submit your comments by the comment period 
deadline identified.
     Follow the special procedures for submitting Confidential 
Business Information (CBI).

II. Legal Authority

    This notice is published under the authority of the CWA, 33 U.S.C. 
1251, et seq., and in particular sections 301(d), 304(b), 304(g), 
304(m), 306, 307(b), 308, 33 U.S.C. 1311(d), 1314(b), 1314(g), 1314(m), 
1316, 1317(b), and 1318.

III. What is the purpose of this Federal Register notice?

    This notice presents EPA's 2010 review of existing effluent 
guidelines and pretreatment standards under CWA sections 301, 304 and 
307. It also presents EPA's evaluation of indirect dischargers without 
categorical pretreatment standards to identify potential new categories 
for pretreatment standards under CWA sections 304(g) and 307(b) and 
(c). This notice presents the final 2010 Effluent Guidelines Program 
Plan (``final 2010 Plan''), which, as required under CWA section 
304(m), identifies any new or existing industrial categories selected 
for effluent guidelines rulemaking, as well as the establishment or 
revision of pretreatment standards, and provides a schedule for such 
rulemakings. CWA section 304(m) requires EPA to biennially publish such 
a plan after public notice and comment. The Agency published a 
preliminary 2010 Plan on December 28, 2009 (74 FRN 68599) and solicited 
comment through February 26, 2010. This notice also provides EPA's 
preliminary thoughts concerning its 2011 annual reviews under CWA 
sections 301(d), 304(b), 304(g), 306 and 307(b) and solicits comments, 
data and information to assist EPA in performing these reviews.

IV. Background

A. What are effluent guidelines and pretreatment standards?

    The CWA directs EPA to promulgate effluent limitations guidelines 
and standards (``effluent guidelines'') that reflect pollutant 
reductions that can be achieved by categories or subcategories of 
industrial point sources using technologies that represent the 
appropriate level of control. See CWA sections 301(b)(2), 304(b), 306, 
307(b), and 307(c). For point sources that introduce pollutants 
directly into the waters of the United States (direct dischargers), the 
effluent limitations guidelines and standards promulgated by EPA are 
implemented through National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System 
(NPDES) permits. See CWA sections 301(a), 301(b), and 402. For sources 
that discharge to publicly owned treatment works (POTWs), termed 
indirect dischargers, EPA promulgates pretreatment standards that apply 
to those sources and are enforced by the POTWs and State and Federal 
authorities. See CWA sections 307(b) and (c).
1. Best Practicable Control Technology Currently Available (BPT)--CWA 
Sections 301(b)(1)(A) & 304(b)(1)
    EPA defines Best Practicable Control Technology Currently Available 
(BPT) effluent limitations for conventional, toxic, and non-
conventional pollutants. Section 304(a)(4) designates the following as 
conventional pollutants: Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5), 
total suspended solids, fecal coliform, pH, and any additional 
pollutants defined by the Administrator as conventional. The 
Administrator designated oil and grease as an additional conventional 
pollutant on July 30, 1979 (44 FR 44501). EPA has identified 65 
pollutants and classes of pollutants as toxic pollutants, of which 126 
specific substances have been designated priority toxic pollutants. See 
Appendix A to part 423. All other pollutants are considered to be non-
conventional.
    In specifying BPT, EPA looks at a number of factors. EPA first 
considers the total cost of applying the control technology in relation 
to the effluent reduction benefits. The Agency also considers the age 
of the equipment and facilities, the processes employed, and any 
required process changes, engineering aspects of the control 
technologies, non-water quality environmental impacts (including energy 
requirements), and such other factors as the EPA Administrator deems 
appropriate. See CWA section 304(b)(1)(B). Traditionally, EPA 
establishes BPT effluent limitations based on the average of the best 
performances of facilities within the industry of various ages, sizes, 
processes, or other common characteristics. Where existing performance 
is uniformly inadequate, BPT may reflect higher levels of control than 
currently in place in an industrial category if the Agency determines 
that the technology can be practically applied.
2. Best Conventional Pollutant Control Technology (BCT)--CWA Sections 
301(b)(2)(E) & 304(b)(4)
    The 1977 amendments to the CWA required EPA to identify effluent 
reduction levels for conventional pollutants associated with Best 
Conventional Pollutant Control Technology (BCT) for discharges from 
existing industrial point sources. In addition to considering the other 
factors specified in section 304(b)(4)(B) to establish BCT limitations, 
EPA also considers a two part ``cost-reasonableness'' test. EPA 
explained its methodology for the development of BCT limitations in 
1986. See 51 FR 24974 (July 9, 1986).
3. Best Available Technology Economically Achievable (BAT)--CWA 
Sections 301(b)(2)(A) & 304(b)(2)(B)
    For toxic pollutants and non-conventional pollutants, EPA 
promulgates effluent guidelines based on the Best Available Technology 
Economically Achievable (BAT). See CWA section 301(b)(2)(A), (C), (D) 
and (F). The factors considered in assessing BAT include the cost of 
achieving BAT effluent reductions, the age of equipment and facilities 
involved, the process employed, potential process changes, non-water 
quality environmental impacts, including energy requirements, and other 
such factors as the EPA Administrator deems appropriate. See CWA 
section 304(b)(2)(B). The technology must also be economically 
achievable. See CWA section 301(b)(2)(A). The Agency retains 
considerable discretion in assigning the weight accorded to these 
factors. BAT limitations may be based on effluent reductions attainable 
through changes in a facility's processes and operations. Where 
existing performance is uniformly inadequate, BAT may reflect a higher 
level of performance than is currently being achieved within a 
particular subcategory based on technology transferred from a different 
subcategory or category. BAT may be based upon process changes or 
internal controls, even when these technologies are not common industry 
practice.
4. New Source Performance Standards (NSPS)--CWA Section 306
    New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) reflect effluent reductions 
that are achievable based on the best available demonstrated control 
technology. New sources have the opportunity to install the best and 
most efficient production processes and wastewater treatment 
technologies. As a result, NSPS should represent the most

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stringent controls attainable through the application of the best 
available demonstrated control technology for all pollutants (i.e., 
conventional, non-conventional, and priority pollutants). In 
establishing NSPS, EPA is directed to take into consideration the cost 
of achieving the effluent reduction and any non-water quality 
environmental impacts and energy requirements.
5. Pretreatment Standards for Existing Sources (PSES)--CWA Section 
307(b)
    Pretreatment Standards for Existing Sources (PSES) are designed to 
prevent the discharge of pollutants that pass through, interfere with, 
or are otherwise incompatible with the operation of publicly owned 
treatment works (POTWs), including sludge disposal methods at POTWs. 
Pretreatment standards for existing sources are technology-based and 
are analogous to BAT effluent limitations guidelines. The General 
Pretreatment Regulations, which set forth the framework for the 
implementation of national pretreatment standards, are found at 40 CFR 
part 403.
6. Pretreatment Standards for New Sources (PSNS)--CWA Section 307(c)
    Like PSES, Pretreatment Standards for New Sources (PSNS) are 
designed to prevent the discharges of pollutants that pass through, 
interfere with, or are otherwise incompatible with the operation of 
POTWs. PSNS are to be issued at the same time as NSPS. New indirect 
dischargers have the opportunity to incorporate into their facilities 
the best available demonstrated technologies. The Agency considers the 
same factors in promulgating PSNS as it considers in promulgating NSPS.

B. What are EPA's review and planning obligations under sections 
301(d), 304(b), 304(g), 304(m), and 307(b)?

1. EPA's Review and Planning Obligations Under Sections 301(d), 304(b), 
and 304(m)--Direct Dischargers
    Section 304(b) requires EPA to review its existing effluent 
guidelines for direct dischargers each year and to revise such 
regulations ``if appropriate.'' Section 304(m) supplements section 
304(b) by requiring EPA to publish a plan every two years announcing 
its schedule for performing this annual review and its schedule for 
rulemaking for any effluent guidelines selected for possible revision 
as a result of that annual review. Section 304(m) also requires the 
plan to identify categories of sources discharging toxic or non-
conventional pollutants for which EPA has not published effluent 
limitations guidelines under section 304(b)(2) or NSPS under section 
306. See CWA section 304(m)(1)(B); S. Rep. No. 50, 99th Cong., 1st 
Sess. (1985); WQA87 Leg. Hist. 31 (indicating that section 304(m)(1)(B) 
applies to ``non-trivial discharges.''). Finally, under section 304(m), 
the plan must present a schedule for promulgating effluent guidelines 
for industrial categories for which it has not already established such 
guidelines, providing for final action on such rulemaking not later 
than three years after the industrial category is identified in a final 
Plan. See CWA section 304(m)(1)(C); NRDC et al. v. EPA, 542 F.3d 1235, 
1251 (9th Cir. 2008). EPA is required to publish its preliminary Plan 
for public comment prior to taking final action on the plan. See CWA 
section 304(m)(2).
    In addition, CWA section 301(d) requires EPA to review every five 
years the effluent limitations required by CWA section 301(b)(2) and to 
revise them if appropriate pursuant to the procedures specified in that 
section. Section 301(b)(2), in turn, requires point sources to achieve 
effluent limitations reflecting the application of the best practicable 
control technology (all pollutants), best available technology 
economically achievable (for toxic pollutants and non-conventional 
pollutants) and the best conventional pollutant control technology (for 
conventional pollutants), as determined by EPA under sections 
304(b)(1), 304(b)(2) and 304(b)(4), respectively. For over three 
decades, EPA has implemented sections 301 and 304 through the 
promulgation of effluent limitations guidelines, resulting in 
regulations for 57 industrial categories. See E.I. du Pont de Nemours & 
Co. v. Train, 430 U.S. 113 (1977). Consequently, as part of its annual 
review of effluent limitations guidelines under section 304(b), EPA is 
also reviewing the effluent limitations they contain, thereby 
fulfilling its obligations under sections 301(d) and 304(b) 
simultaneously.
2. EPA's Review and Planning Obligations Under Sections 304(g) and 
307(b)--Indirect Dischargers
    Section 307(b) requires EPA to revise its pretreatment standards 
for indirect dischargers ``from time to time, as control technology, 
processes, operating methods, or other alternatives change.'' See CWA 
section 307(b)(2). Section 304(g) requires EPA to annually review these 
pretreatment standards and revise them ``if appropriate.'' Although 
section 307(b) only requires EPA to revise existing pretreatment 
standards ``from time to time,'' section 304(g) requires an annual 
review. Therefore, EPA meets its 304(g) and 307(b) requirements by 
reviewing all industrial categories subject to existing categorical 
pretreatment standards on an annual basis to identify potential 
candidates for revision.
    Section 307(b)(1) also requires EPA to promulgate pretreatment 
standards for pollutants not susceptible to treatment by POTWs or that 
would interfere with the operation of POTWs, although it does not 
provide a timing requirement for the identification of new industries 
for pretreatment standards. EPA, in its discretion, periodically 
evaluates indirect dischargers not subject to categorical pretreatment 
standards to identify potential candidates for new pretreatment 
standards. The CWA does not require EPA to publish its review of 
pretreatment standards or identification of potential new categories, 
although EPA is exercising its discretion to do so in this notice.
    EPA intends to repeat this publication schedule for future 
pretreatment standards reviews (e.g., EPA will publish the 2011 annual 
pretreatment standards review in the notice containing the Agency's 
2011 annual review of existing effluent guidelines and the preliminary 
2012 plan). EPA intends that these contemporaneous reviews will provide 
meaningful insight into EPA's effluent guidelines and pretreatment 
standards program decision-making. Additionally, by providing a single 
notice for these and future reviews, EPA hopes to provide a 
consolidated source of information for the Agency's current and future 
effluent guidelines and pretreatment standards program reviews.

V. EPA's 2010 Annual Review of Existing Effluent Guidelines and 
Pretreatment Standards Under CWA Sections 301(d), 304(b), 304(g), 
304(m), and 307(b)

A. What process did EPA use to review existing effluent guidelines and 
pretreatment standards under CWA Section 301(d), 304(b), 304(g), 
304(m), and 307(b)?

1. Overview
    In its 2010 annual review, EPA reviewed all industrial categories 
subject to existing effluent limitations guidelines and pretreatment 
standards, representing a total of 57 point source categories and over 
450 subcategories. Generally, EPA uses four factors in a phased 
approach to review existing effluent limitations guidelines and 
pretreatment standards:
    (1) Pollutants discharged in an industrial category's effluent,

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    (2) Potential pollution prevention and control technology options,
    (3) Category growth and economic considerations of technology 
options, and
    (4) Implementation and efficiency considerations of revising 
existing effluent guidelines or publishing new effluent guidelines (see 
December 21, 2006; 71 FR 76666).
    In the 2010 annual review EPA incorporated, for the first time, 
discharge data from approximately 15,000 ``minor'' industrial 
dischargers. Point sources are generally classified as major or minor, 
depending on size and nature of the discharges. A major industrial 
discharger is a facility scoring over 80 points based on rating 
criteria. Minor industrial discharges are facilities that score below 
the criteria score of 80 on the rating scale.
2. What analyses did EPA perform for its 2009 and 2010 annual reviews 
of existing effluent guidelines and pretreatment standards?
a. Screening-Level Review
    The first component of EPA's 2010 annual review consisted of a 
screening-level review of all industrial categories subject to existing 
effluent guidelines or pretreatment standards. EPA focused its efforts 
on collecting and analyzing data to identify industrial categories 
whose pollutant discharges potentially are the most significant. EPA 
used Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), Permit Compliance System (PCS) and 
Integrated Compliance Information System--National Pollutant Discharge 
Elimination System (ICIS-NPDES) data to estimate the mass of pollutant 
discharges from industrial facilities. Because pollutant toxicities are 
different, EPA converted the toxic and non-conventional pollutant 
discharges that are reported in a mass unit (pounds) into a measure of 
relative toxicity--a toxic-weighted pound equivalent or TWPE.
    EPA calculated the TWPE for each pollutant discharged by 
multiplying the pollutant specific toxic weighting factor (TWF) and the 
mass of the pollutant discharge. Where data are available, these TWFs 
reflect both aquatic life and human health effects. EPA ranked point 
source categories according to their discharges of toxic and non-
conventional pollutants (reported in units of TWPE) to assess the 
significance of these toxic and non-conventional pollutant discharges 
to human health or the environment. EPA conducted this process for the 
2010 annual reviews using the most recent TRI, PCS and ICIS-NPDES data 
(2008).
    Based on this methodology, EPA prioritized for potential revision 
industrial categories that offered the greatest potential for reducing 
hazard to human health and the environment. EPA assigned those 
categories with the lowest estimates of toxic-weighted pollutant 
discharges a lower priority for revision (i.e., industrial categories 
marked ``(3)'' in the ``Findings'' column in Table V-1 in section V.B.4 
of this notice).
    In order to further focus its inquiry during the 2010 annual 
review, EPA assigned a lower priority for potential revision to 
categories for which effluent guidelines had been recently promulgated 
or revised, or for which effluent guidelines rulemaking was currently 
underway. EPA removed an industrial point source category from further 
consideration during the current review cycle if EPA established, 
revised, or reviewed in a rulemaking context the category's effluent 
guidelines after August 2003 (i.e., the last seven years). EPA chose 
seven years because this is the time it customarily takes for the 
effects of effluent guidelines or pretreatment standards to be fully 
reflected in pollutant loading data and TRI reports (in large part 
because effluent limitations guidelines are often incorporated into 
NPDES permits only upon re-issuance of those permits, which could be up 
to five years after the effluent guidelines or pretreatment standards 
are promulgated). EPA also removed an industrial point source category 
from further consideration during the current review cycle if EPA 
recently completed a preliminary study or a detailed study and 
determined that no further action is necessary at this time. These 
categories are marked ``(1)'' in the ``Findings'' column in Table V-1 
in section V.B.4 of this notice.
    Because there are 57 point source categories (including over 450 
subcategories) with existing effluent guidelines and pretreatment 
standards that must be reviewed annually, EPA believes it is important 
to prioritize its review so as to focus on industries where changes to 
the existing effluent guidelines or pretreatment standards are most 
likely to result in further pollutant discharge reduction. In general, 
industries for which effluent guidelines or pretreatment standards have 
recently been promulgated are less likely to warrant such changes.
    As part of the 2010 annual review, EPA also considered the number 
of facilities responsible for the majority of the estimated toxic-
weighted pollutant discharges associated with an industrial activity. 
EPA applied a lower priority for potential revision to industrial 
categories where only a few facilities in a category accounted for the 
vast majority of toxic-weighted pollutant discharges (i.e., categories 
marked ``(2)'' in the ``Findings'' column in Table V-1 in section V.B.4 
of this notice). EPA believes that revision of individual permits for 
such facilities may be more effective than a revised national 
rulemaking. Individual permit requirements can be better tailored to 
these few facilities and may take considerably less time and resources 
to establish than revising the national effluent guidelines. The Docket 
accompanying this notice lists facilities that account for the vast 
majority of the estimated toxic-weighted pollutant discharges for a 
particular category (see DCN 07320). For these facilities, EPA will 
consider identifying pollutant control and pollution prevention 
technologies that will assist permit writers in developing facility-
specific technology-based effluent limitations on a best professional 
judgment (BPJ) basis. In future annual reviews, EPA also intends to re-
evaluate each category based on the information available at the time 
in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the BPJ permit-based support.
    EPA also applied a lower priority to categories without sufficient 
data to determine whether revision would be appropriate. For any 
industrial categories marked ``(5)'' in the ``Findings'' column in 
Table V-1 in section V.B.4 of this notice, EPA lacks sufficient 
information at this time on the magnitude of the toxic-weighted 
pollutant discharges. EPA will continue reviewing available data on the 
discharges and will seek additional information on the discharges from 
these categories in the next annual review in order to determine 
whether a detailed study is warranted. See the appropriate section in 
the TSD for the final 2010 Plan (see DCN 07320) for EPA's data needs 
for these industrial categories. This assessment provides an additional 
level of quality assurance on the reported pollutant discharges and 
number of facilities that represent the majority of toxic-weighted 
pollutant discharges.
    For industrial categories marked ``(4)'' in the ``Findings'' column 
in Table V-1 in section V.B.4 of this notice, EPA had sufficient 
information on the toxic-weighted pollutant discharges to continue or 
complete a detailed study of these industrial categories.
    For industrial categories marked ``(6)'' in the ``Findings'' column 
in Table V-1 in section V.B.4 of this notice, EPA is identifying this 
industry for a revised effluent guidelines rulemaking.

[[Page 66291]]

    Next, EPA considered the availability of technologies to reduce 
pollutant discharges. EPA does not have, for all of the 57 existing 
industrial categories, information about the availability of treatment 
or process technologies to reduce pollutant wastewater discharges 
beyond the performance of the technologies upon which existing effluent 
guidelines and standards were developed. At present 46 states and one 
U.S. territory are authorized to administer the CWA NPDES program. 
Under the CWA, permitting authorities must include water-quality based 
effluent limits where the technology-based effluent limits are not 
sufficient to meet applicable water quality standards. Therefore, 
dischargers may have already installed technologies that reduce 
pollutant discharges to a level below the original technology-based 
requirements in order to meet such water-quality based effluent 
limitations.
    Analyzing the significance of the remaining pollutant discharges is 
most useful for assessing the potential effectiveness of additional 
technologies because such an analysis focuses on the amount and 
significance of pollutant discharges that would actually be removed 
through new, technology-based nationally-applicable regulations for 
these categories. Where potential pollutant discharge reductions are 
not significant, there are likely few effective technology options for 
a technology-based rule. Once EPA determined which industries have the 
potential for significant additional pollutant removals, EPA further 
examined the availability of technologies for certain industries. For 
example, EPA identified technologies to minimize pollutant discharges 
from coalbed methane extraction facilities (see Coalbed Methane Point 
Source Category: Detailed Study Report, EPA-820-R-10-022, DCN 09999).
    EPA also considered whether there was a way to develop a suitable 
tool for comprehensively evaluating the availability and affordability 
of treatment or process technologies, but determined that there is not, 
because the universe of facilities is too broad and complex. EPA could 
not find a reasonable way to prioritize the industrial categories based 
on readily available engineering and economic data. In the past, EPA 
has gathered information regarding technologies and economic 
achievability for one industrial category at a time through detailed 
questionnaires distributed to hundreds of facilities within a category 
or subcategory for which EPA has commenced rulemaking. Such 
information-gathering is subject to the requirements of the Paperwork 
Reduction Act (PRA), 33 U.S.C. 3501, et seq. The information acquired 
in this way is valuable to EPA in its rulemaking efforts, but the 
process of gathering, validating and analyzing the data can consume 
considerable time and resources. EPA does not think it is appropriate 
or feasible to conduct this level of analysis for all point source 
categories in conducting an annual review. Rather, EPA uses its 
analyses of existing pollutant discharges to identify the categories 
with the largest toxic-weighted discharges. From this smaller list of 
categories, EPA evaluates the possibility of effective technologies and 
selects certain industries for further examination (e.g., Preliminary 
Category Reviews, Detailed Studies).
    Additionally, when EPA becomes aware of the growth of a new 
industrial activity within an existing category or where new concerns 
are identified for previously unevaluated pollutants discharged by 
facilities within an industrial category, EPA applies more scrutiny to 
the category in a subsequent review.
    EPA also considers whether there are industrial activities not 
currently subject to effluent guidelines or pretreatment standards that 
should be included with these existing categories, either as part of 
existing subcategories or as potential new subcategories. These 
industries are sometimes suggested by commenters during the public 
comment period or may come to EPA's attention in other ways.
    EPA also continued to use the quality assurance project plan (QAPP) 
developed for the 2009 annual review to document the type and quality 
of data needed to make the decisions in this 2010 annual review and to 
describe the methods for collecting and assessing those data (see EPA-
820-R-10-021). EPA performed quality assurance checks on the data used 
to develop estimates of toxic-weighted pollutant discharges (i.e., 
verifying 2008 discharge data reported to TRI, PCS and ICIS-NPDES) to 
determine whether any of the pollutant discharge estimates relied on 
incorrect or suspect data. For example, EPA contacted facilities and 
permit writers to confirm and, as necessary, correct TRI, PCS or ICIS-
NPDES data for facilities that EPA had identified in its screening-
level review as the significant dischargers.
    In summary, through its screening level review, EPA focused on 
those point source categories that appeared to have the greatest 
potential for reducing hazard to human health and the environment. This 
enabled EPA to concentrate its resources on conducting more in-depth 
reviews of the higher priority categories.
b. Further Review of Prioritized Categories
    EPA conducts a preliminary category review when it lacks sufficient 
data to determine whether a regulatory revision would be appropriate 
and for which EPA is performing a further assessment of pollutant 
discharges before starting a detailed study. These assessments provide 
an additional level of quality assurance on the reported pollutant 
discharges and number of facilities that represent the majority of 
toxic-weighted pollutant discharges.
    In conducting a preliminary category review, EPA uses the same 
types of data sources used for the detailed studies or effluent 
guidelines development but in less depth. As part of the preliminary 
category reviews, EPA may evaluate technologies that could achieve 
better control of pollutant discharges. EPA might also conduct surveys 
or collect data from additional sources. The full description of EPA's 
methodology for the 2010 annual review is presented in the Technical 
Support Document (TSD) for the final 2010 Plan (see DCN 07320).
c. Detailed Studies
    EPA conducts detailed studies to obtain information on hazard, 
availability and cost of technology options, and other factors in order 
to determine if it would be appropriate to identify the category for 
possible effluent guidelines revision. The full description of EPA's 
methodology for the 2010 review is presented in the Technical Support 
Document (TSD) for the final 2010 Plan (see DCN 07320).
3. How did EPA's 2009 annual review influence its 2010 annual review of 
point source categories with existing effluent guidelines and 
pretreatment standards?
    In view of the annual nature of its reviews of existing effluent 
guidelines and pretreatment standards, EPA believes that each annual 
review can and should influence succeeding annual reviews, e.g., by 
indicating data gaps, identifying new pollutants or pollution reduction 
technologies, or otherwise highlighting industrial categories for 
additional scrutiny in subsequent years.
    During its 2009 annual review, which concluded the end of December 
2009, EPA continued detailed studies of the existing effluent 
guidelines and pretreatment standards for two industrial categories: 
Oil and Gas Extraction category (Part 435) for the purpose of assessing 
whether to revise the limits to include coalbed methane

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extraction as a new subcategory, and Hospitals (Part 460) which is part 
of the Health Care Industry detailed study on the management of unused 
pharmaceuticals. In addition, EPA conducted a preliminary study of the 
Ore Mining and Dressing category (part 440) during 2009. EPA used the 
findings, data and comments on the 2009 annual review to inform its 
2010 annual review and the final 2010 Plan. The 2010 review also built 
on the previous reviews by incorporating some refinements to assigning 
discharges to categories and updating toxic weighting factors.
    EPA published the findings from its 2009 annual review with its 
preliminary 2010 Plan (December 28, 2009, 74 FRN 68599), making the 
pollutant discharge and industry profile data available for public 
comment. Docket No. EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0517.
4. How did EPA consider public comments in its 2010 annual review?
    EPA's annual review process considers information provided by 
stakeholders regarding the need for new or revised effluent limitations 
guidelines and pretreatment standards. Public comments received on 
EPA's prior reviews and Plans helped the Agency prioritize its analysis 
of existing effluent guidelines and pretreatment standards during the 
2010 review. Public comments, depending on the number, the issues, the 
data and information submitted and the recommendations made therein, 
can influence the annual review.
    In accordance with CWA section 304(m)(2), EPA published the 
preliminary 2010 Plan for public comment prior to this publication of 
the final 2010 Plan. See December 28, 2009 (74 FRN 68599). The Docket 
accompanying this notice includes a complete set of all of the comments 
submitted, as well as the Agency's responses (see DCN 07368). The 
Agency received 51 sets of comments on the preliminary 2010 Plans.
    Commenting organizations representing industry included the 
American Petroleum Institute, American Health Care Association, 
Independent Petroleum Association of America, National Association of 
Clean Water Agencies, American Dental Association, American Water Works 
Association, and the National Mining Association.
    Six environmental groups commented, including the Northern Plains 
Resources Council, Earth Justice, Environmental Integrity Project and 
the Powder River Basin Council.
    Eight states, or state representing organizations, also commented, 
including the states of WY, MT, NY, WI, OR, FL, ID and the Quicksilver 
Caucus.
    EPA received comments from 22 private individuals, all addressing 
the issue of the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing used in 
shale gas extraction. Most of these individuals were from NY and PA, 
and their comments reflected concerns about shale gas extraction in the 
Marcellus Shale formation.
    EPA also received comments from one Tribal Nation (the Northern 
Cheyenne) and four local organizations (Tompkins County Senior Citizen 
Council, St. Paul MetroCouncil, Bay Area Pollution Prevention Group and 
Albany Medical College).
    Comments were distributed among the following subject areas, in 
order of abundance:

--Coalbed Methane and Shale Gas Extraction (40 comments)
--Health Care Industry--(unused pharmaceuticals) (35 comments)
--Ore Mining and Dressing (2 comments)
--Steam Electric Power Generation (2 comments)
--Effluent limitation guidelines (ELGs) and Plan process in general (2 
comments)
--Dental Amalgam (1 comment)
--Other (2 comments)

    For coalbed methane, there were seven comments that also expressed 
concern with the practice of shale gas extraction; 13 comments 
requesting that EPA examine shale gas extraction in the coalbed methane 
detailed study; seven requests to not add shale gas extraction to the 
coalbed methane study; six commenters who suggested that EPA should do 
a coalbed methane ELG rule; and seven commenters who suggested that EPA 
not do a rule.
    For the Health Care industry, in particular the management of 
unused pharmaceuticals, EPA received three comments supporting the 
detailed study; three comments suggesting EPA work more closely with 
the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA); four comments that explained 
EPA should work with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and health 
insurance companies to encourage unused pharmaceutical returns and a 
coordinated message about such; twelve comments indicating EPA should 
develop BMPs, disposal guidance, flyers and other disposal information; 
three comments supporting take-back programs; six comments that 
suggested current disposal practices are barriers to return/reuse; and 
four comments indicating that pharmaceutical flushing should be 
controlled by sewage treatment authorities.
    For the Ore Mining and Dressing category there were two comments 
that stated EPA should not develop a new ELG.
    For the Steam Electric Power Generation industry, which is 
currently undergoing a revised ELG as a result of last year's Plan, 
there was one comment that supported EPA's selection of the steam 
electric industry for rulemaking, and one commenter that believed EPA 
made several errors in its detailed study final report.
    One commenter asked EPA to select the dental industry for an ELG 
rulemaking, arguing that the industry is responsible for half of the 
national mercury loadings to Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs), 
and the ongoing activities under the Dental Amalgam control MOU are 
insufficient.
    A more detailed summary table of the comments can be found in the 
2010 TSD, EPA-820-R-10-021 (DCN 07320). EPA carefully considered all 
public comments and information submitted in developing the final 2010 
Plan. A comment response document is also available at (DCN 07368).

B. What were EPA's findings from its 2010 annual review for categories 
subject to existing effluent guidelines and pretreatment standards?

1. Screening-Level Review
    In its 2010 screening level review, EPA considered hazard, and the 
other factors described in section V.A.2. above, in prioritizing 
effluent guidelines for potential revision. See Table V-1 in section 
V.B.4 of this notice for a summary of EPA's findings with respect to 
each existing category; see also the TSD for the final 2010 Plan, EPA-
820-R-10-021, DCN 07320). Of the categories subject only to the 
screening level review in 2010, EPA is not identifying any for effluent 
guidelines rulemaking at this time, based on the factors described in 
section V.A above and in light of the effluent guidelines rulemakings 
in progress.
    EPA carefully examined the industrial categories currently 
regulated by existing effluent guidelines that cumulatively comprise 
95% of the reported hazard (reported in units of toxic-weighted pound 
equivalent or TWPE). The TSD for the preliminary 2010 Plan presents a 
summary of EPA's review of these 21 industrial categories (see DCN 
07320).
    EPA identified one category where additional data are required to 
evaluate toxic-weighted pollutant discharges. EPA will initiate a 
preliminary category review for the cellulosic products

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segment of the Plastics Molding and Forming (part 463) industrial 
category.
    Although EPA identified only one industrial category for 
preliminary category review in the 2010 annual review, EPA also 
identified that estimated toxic-weighted pollutant discharges of lead 
from the Pulp, Paper, and Paperboard (part 430) industrial category 
need further investigation. EPA intends to continue reviewing the Pulp, 
Paper and Paperboard industry during the 2011 annual review.
    EPA identified the need for additional data review as part of the 
2011 annual review for three industrial categories. See the appropriate 
section in the TSD for the final 2010 Plan, EPA-820-R-10-021, (see DCN 
07320) for a detailed discussion of EPA's findings for these industrial 
categories: Mineral Mining and Processing (part 436); Landfills (Part 
445); and Waste Combustors (part 444). See Section IX of this notice 
for the requested public comments. Based on new data submitted with 
public comment and screening-level data collected as part of the 2011 
annual review, EPA intends to re-evaluate the category toxic-weighted 
pollutant discharges.
2. Results of Detailed Studies
Oil and Gas Extraction (part 435)
    As a result of prior 304(m) planning, EPA initiated a detailed 
study of the coalbed methane industry and its wastewater discharges. 
Coalbed methane extraction is considered a subcategory of the Oil and 
Gas Extraction Point Source Category, although it is not currently 
subject to the effluent guidelines promulgated for this category. Since 
2006, the coalbed methane industry has expanded. In addition, EPA 
received comments in 2005, 2008, and again during the 2010 review from 
citizens and environmental advocacy groups requesting development of a 
regulation for coalbed methane extraction as well as for shale gas 
extraction, another subcategory of the Oil and Gas Extraction Point 
Source Category. Unlike coalbed methane extraction, however, shale gas 
extraction is now subject to effluent guidelines for the Oil and Gas 
Extraction Point Source Category, although there are currently no 
applicable categorical pretreatment standards for shale gas extraction.
    Coalbed methane-produced water discharges can impact receiving 
surface waters and soils. Saline discharges from coalbed methane 
operations can adversely affect aquatic life. The large volume of water 
discharged can also cause stream bank erosion and salt deposition, 
creating hardpan soil. Long-term impacts include sodium buildup, 
reduction of plant diversity, mobilization of salts and other elements, 
and alteration of surface and subsurface hydrology.
    Overview of Operations:
    Methane gas is naturally created during the geologic process of 
converting plant material to coal (coalification). To extract the 
methane, coalbed methane operators drill wells into coal seams and pump 
out ground water. Removing the ground water from the formation is 
necessary to produce coalbed methane, as the water removal reduces the 
pressure and allows the methane to release from the coal to produce 
flowing natural gas. In 2008, 252 coalbed methane operators managed 
approximately 55,500 coalbed methane wells in the U.S. in 13 distinct 
regions, called basins.
Produced Water
    The ground water that has been pumped out of the well, called 
``produced water,'' like most ground water found deep below the surface 
of the earth, has high salinity and can include pollutants such as 
chloride, sodium, sulfate, bicarbonate, fluoride, iron, barium, 
magnesium, ammonia, and arsenic. To quantify the amount of pollutants 
in coalbed methane produced waters, EPA relied on measuring total 
dissolved solids (TDS) and electrical conductivity (EC), which are bulk 
parameters for quantifying the total amount of dissolved solids in a 
wastewater.
    A single coalbed methane well can discharge thousands of gallons of 
produced water per day, and may discharge produced water for anywhere 
from 5 to 15 years. Coalbed methane wells have a distinctive production 
history characterized by an early stage when large amounts of water are 
produced to reduce reservoir pressure which in turn encourages release 
of gas; a stable stage when quantities of produced gas increase as the 
quantities of produced water decrease; and a late stage when the amount 
of gas produced declines and water production remains low.
    The quantity and quality of produced water varies from basin to 
basin, within a particular basin, from coal seam to coal seam, and over 
the lifetime of a coalbed methane well. For example, coalbed methane 
produced water volumes range from 1,000 gallons per day per well in the 
San Juan Basin to 17,000 gallons per day per well in the Powder River 
Basin.
Management of Produced Water
    Coalbed methane operators need to dispose of thousands of gallons 
of produced water per day for each coalbed methane well. Operators can 
employ a range of options for treatment and management of this 
wastewater.
    Preliminary estimates based on survey data predict that 
approximately 47 billion gallons of produced water are pumped annually 
from coal seams across the country. Approximately 45% of those produced 
waters are directly discharged to waters of the U.S., for a total 
national discharge of 22 billion gallons per year.
    Surface water discharge is most prevalent in three U.S. coalbed 
methane basins: The Black Warrior Basin in Alabama and Mississippi (11% 
of total coalbed methane surface discharges), the Powder River Basin in 
Wyoming and Montana (72% of total coalbed methane surface discharges), 
and the Raton Basin in Colorado and New Mexico (11% of total coalbed 
methane surface discharges). Many of these discharges are largely 
untreated. Surface discharge occurs rarely, if at all, in the other 
major commercial basins.
    In the other commercial basins in the U.S, coalbed methane 
operators are, for the most part, able to prevent discharging their 
produced water by discharging the water to land (where there may be 
other impacts to the soil or vegetation), re-injecting the produced 
water back into the ground, or using the water in one of many 
beneficial use options (e.g., stock watering, irrigation).
Treatment of Produced Waters
    Available technology options for adequately removing pollutants 
from produced water include ion exchange and reverse osmosis.
Summary of Outreach
    In 2007 EPA conducted several site visits to coalbed methane basins 
throughout the country and gathered information on potential treatment 
technologies for coalbed methane-produced water discharges. EPA also 
conducted widespread outreach with stakeholders, both in the industry 
and from the communities adjacent to coalbed methane basins. EPA 
conducted more than 30 site visits to locations in six coalbed methane 
basins and met with over 300 different stakeholders. EPA also conducted 
13 meetings and teleconferences with over 150 stakeholders. In addition 
to the extensive information collection through site visits and 
outreach, EPA acknowledged that an informed decision about rulemaking 
would

[[Page 66294]]

require even more detailed information. EPA developed an industry 
questionnaire, solicited public comment twice, and in 2009 obtained OMB 
approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act, to conduct a mandatory 
survey directed at operators of coalbed methane projects which consist 
of a single well or a group of wells operated by the same company. The 
questionnaire collected technical and economic data in a two-part 
survey, a screener and a detailed survey, on the operations and 
operators of coalbed methane projects. Questionnaire responses arrived 
in early 2010 and the data was used by EPA to create national estimates 
of pollutant discharges across the country from the coalbed methane 
industry and to develop an economic profile of the industry.
    In response to the 2010 preliminary Plan, EPA received 32 comments 
on coalbed methane extraction. Comments from industry sources did not 
support rulemaking for coalbed methane, suggesting an effluent 
guideline was not appropriate due to the variability of produced water 
quality, quantity and available management techniques across the 
country. Additionally, industry stated that the current regulatory 
framework of site-specific BPJ permits was adequately addressing 
pollutant discharges from produced water discharges.
    The final detailed study report for coalbed methane is being issued 
concurrent with the publication of this FR Notice and is a part of the 
final 2010 Plan. The study report is available at DCN 09999.
    Coalbed methane production represents about 8% of natural gas 
production in this country, and coalbed methane extraction is expected 
to continue for decades. Of the 22 billion gallons of water discharged 
to surface water each year some has high total dissolved solids. The 
detailed study also found that there are readily available technologies 
to treat this produced water. As a result of the information gathered 
in the detailed study, EPA has decided to initiate rulemaking for 
coalbed methane extraction, a currently unregulated subcategory of the 
Oil and Gas Extraction Point Source Category.
3. Results of Preliminary Category Reviews
Ore Mining and Dressing (Part 440)
    As discussed in the 2008 Final Effluent Guidelines Program Plan, 
EPA conducted a preliminary study of facilities covered under 40 CFR 
part 440 ``Ore Mining and Dressing Point Source Category'' to examine 
why toxic weighted pollutant discharges by the ore mining industry 
ranked relatively high compared to other industries in the 2002 through 
2008 annual reviews. The purpose of the study was to identify, collect, 
and review readily available existing data and information on toxic 
pollutants in wastewater discharges to determine whether additional 
analysis or revision of 40 CFR part 440 might be warranted to better 
control toxic discharges.
    The preliminary study focused on active ore mines covered under 40 
CFR part 440 subpart J: ``Copper, Lead, Zinc, Gold, Silver, and 
Molybdenum Ores.'' These types of mines comprise approximately 76 
percent (263) of the approximately 345 ore mines in the United States. 
Inactive ore mines were not included as they are not covered by the 
effluent guidelines.
    Approximately 294 ore mines currently have National Pollutant 
Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) wastewater discharge permits. 
There is a difference between the total number of ore mines and the 
number with NPDES permits because not all ore mines have wastewater 
discharges. The approximately 1,870 placer mines, covered under 40 CFR 
part 440 subpart M, were not examined in this study because they employ 
mining practices and wastewater streams that are fundamentally 
different from mines covered under the other subparts of 40 CFR part 
440.
    The preliminary study examined information pertaining to the two 
types of wastewater discharged by ore mines: Process wastewater 
(including mine drainage) and stormwater. Process wastewater is covered 
under 40 CFR part 440. Stormwater is not covered under 40 CFR part 440 
unless it is commingled with process wastewater prior to discharge to a 
surface waterbody.
    The study was limited by incomplete national-level process 
wastewater discharge data, and the lack of any nationally 
representative stormwater data for the ore mines of interest. EPA did 
review available ore mine-specific process wastewater discharge 
information, available Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) reports, 
information for ore mine site stormwater discharges, and an industrial 
wastewater treatment technology, known as high density sludge 
recycling, which was identified during the course of the study.
    Based on EPA's review of toxic pollutant data, EPA found that in 
2007, the most recent year for which quality-checked data are 
available, approximately only two percent of ore mining facilities were 
responsible for approximately 90 percent of toxic weighted discharges 
by the ore mining industry for toxic pollutants.
    Given that only a small percentage of active ore mines account for 
the majority of toxic weighted discharges, this can best be addressed 
through permitting, compliance, and enforcement activities for the 
specific ore mining sources, rather than by revision of 40 CFR part 
440.
    While the available toxic pollutant data does not suggest that EPA 
revisit the ELG for ore mining and dressing (40 CFR part 440) at this 
time, the Agency currently remains concerned about many other types of 
mining-related water quality impairments. EPA has a number of 
activities that address discharges of pollutants from mines including 
interim guidance on Improving EPA Review of Appalachian Surface Coal 
Mining Operations Under the Clean Water Act, National Environmental 
Policy Act, and the Environmental Justice Executive Order, plans to 
revise the water quality criteria for selenium, increased attention on 
compliance with, and enforcement of, individual permit limits; improved 
permitting guidance and more stringent discharge monitoring 
requirements in permits.
    The Ore Mining Preliminary Study report is being issued concurrent 
with the publication of this FR Notice and represents a portion of the 
final 2010 Plan. The Ore Mining Preliminary Study report (EPA-820-R-10-
025) is available at DCN 07369.
4. Other Reviews
Shale Gas Extraction
Overview
    As discussed in the March 2011 ``Blueprint for a Secure Energy 
Future,'' (``Blueprint'') the production of domestic natural gas 
enhances energy security and fuels our nation's economy (DCN 07496). In 
2010, U.S. natural gas production reached its highest level in more 
than 30 years with much of the increase resulting from the production 
of natural gas from shale formations. This is due to recent advances in 
horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing that have made extraction 
of natural gas from shale formations more technically and economically 
feasible. The increase is expected to continue. The U.S. Department of 
Energy projects shale gas production as a percentage of the U.S. 
natural gas production will increase over the next 25 years from the 
current level of 14% to an estimated 45%.
    As indicated in the ``Blueprint,'' the Administration is taking 
several steps to

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ensure natural gas is developed in a safe and environmentally 
responsible manner. The ``Blueprint'' lists several initiatives to 
support these goals, including disclosure of fracturing chemicals, 
public meetings, EPA- and DOE-led research, the establishment of an 
expert panel to examine fracturing issues, and technical assistance to 
State regulators. In particular, the ``Blueprint'' directed the 
Secretary of Energy, in consultation with the EPA Administrator and 
Secretary of the Interior, to task the Secretary of Energy Advisory 
Board (SEAB) with establishing a subcommittee to examine issues related 
to shale gas production through hydraulic fracturing. The subcommittee 
is supported by DOE, EPA and DOI, and its membership extends beyond 
SEAB members to include leaders from industry, the environmental 
community, academia, and states. The subcommittee is working to 
identify both immediate steps that can be taken to improve the safety 
and environmental performance of fracturing and to provide consensus 
recommended advice to the agencies on practices for shale extraction to 
ensure the protection of public health and the environment. On August 
11, 2011, the Subcommittee submitted a 90-day report with its 
preliminary recommendations (DCN 07504). The report recommends measures 
to increase public disclosure and transparency and address concerns 
about air and water pollution. The report also recommends a range of 
tools for implementing these measures, including regulation, continuous 
improvement in best practices by industry, and ongoing research and 
development.
    Today's decision to initiate rulemaking is consistent with these 
initiatives in that it addresses potential environmental impacts 
associated with hydraulic fracturing. This is part of the 
Administration's commitment in the ``Blueprint'' to continue to review 
existing regulatory structures governing both onshore and offshore oil 
and gas development to identify potential efficiencies in those 
processes and any crucial gaps that pose safety and environmental 
risks.
    EPA will carefully consider the SEAB's preliminary and final 
recommendations as EPA develops regulatory options. EPA's regulatory 
action will complement and benefit by the initiatives already announced 
in the President's ``Blueprint.''
Introduction
    The production of natural gas from shale formations has increased 
over the past few years and the upward trend is expected to continue. 
For example, data from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental 
Protection shows that the number of shale gas wells drilled in 
Pennsylvania increased substantially in the past few years, with more 
wells drilled and permits issued between January and April of 2010, 
than during all of 2008 (DCN 07474). As the number of shale gas wells 
in the U.S. increases, so too does the volume of shale gas wastewater 
that requires disposal. Wastewater associated with shale gas extraction 
can contain high levels of total dissolved solids (TDS), fracturing 
fluid additives, metals, and naturally occurring radioactive materials 
(NORM).
    EPA requested comments in the 2010 Preliminary Effluent Guidelines 
Plan on whether to include shale gas extraction as part of the Coal Bed 
Methane Detailed Study. Many of the comments on this topic expressed 
general concern about drinking water contamination and water quality 
impacts from shale gas extraction.
    Industry commenters asserted that a shale gas rulemaking was not 
needed since existing Oil and Gas Effluent Guidelines require zero 
discharge from shale gas extraction. Although the existing regulations 
for onshore oil and gas extraction prohibit direct discharges of 
wastewaters from shale gas extraction, the current regulations do not 
contain pretreatment standards for pollutants associated with these 
discharges. EPA also has data that document pollutants in wastewaters 
associated with shale gas extraction are not treated by the 
technologies typically used at publicly and privately owned treatment 
facilities (DCN 07477 and DCN 07472A1).
    EPA ultimately decided not to expand the Coal Bed Methane Study to 
include shale gas extraction. However, as a result of public comments, 
EPA began reviewing available data to inform a decision on whether or 
not a rulemaking to establish pretreatment standards for shale gas 
extraction was appropriate.
Overview of Shale Gas Operations
    The term ``Shale Gas'' is typically used to describe natural gas 
trapped in underground shale deposits. Well operators use the process 
of hydraulic fracturing to extract this gas. Hydraulic fracturing is a 
method of extracting natural gas from highly impermeable rock 
formations by injecting large amounts of fracturing fluids (typically 3 
to 5 million gallons) at high pressures to create a network of 
fissures, typically 250 feet in length (with occasional fractures as 
long as 1,000 feet), in the rock formations and provide the natural gas 
a pathway to travel to the well for extraction.
    While the composition of the fracturing fluids varies from region 
to region, and is specific to the formation to be fractured, the 
classes of compounds in the fluids are largely the same. The major 
components of fracturing fluid are water and proppant (typically sand), 
used to keep the fractures open after the fracturing has been complete, 
and chemical additives. EPA has reviewed data presented by industry 
sources including Chesapeake Energy, Talisman Energy, the Gas 
Technology Institute (GTI) and Halliburton, regarding the different 
classes of compounds in fracturing fluids, such as biocides, friction 
reducers, surfactants, scale and corrosion inhibiters and acids. 
Additionally, EPA has reviewed a registry developed jointly by the 
Ground Water Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas 
Commission of chemicals used in fracturing fluids voluntarily provided 
by oil and gas companies (http://www.fracfocus.org).
    A portion of the injected fracturing fluid will remain in the 
fractures. The precise amount of fluid retention is uncertain and 
depends on the geologic formation. The fluids not retained in the 
formation will ultimately return to the surface as ``flowback'' or 
``produced water.'' These wastewaters may contain the chemicals 
originally found in the fracturing fluids as well as other naturally 
occurring constituents that may be released into the fluid as the rock 
formations are broken.
Produced Waters From Shale Gas Extraction
    A shale gas well has two distinct phases of water production from 
the formation. The first phase typically occurs during the first 30 
days following the fracturing process (DCN 07482A10 and DCN 07482A23), 
also known as the ``flowback period.'' During this time a portion of 
the injected fracturing fluid will return to the surface.
    There are varying reports on the actual volume of flowback; 
multiple studies and presentations report that volumes ranging from 10-
75% of the injected fracturing fluids are returned during the flowback 
period. The amount of ``flowback'' is dependent, in part, on the 
geology of the shale basin (DCN 07477).
    After this initial surge of flowback passes, produced water will 
continue to come to the surface for the life of the well. Chesapeake 
Energy provided data indicating that ``long term'' produced water 
volumes range from 200-1,000 gallons per million cubic feet of gas

[[Page 66296]]

produced depending on the basin in which the well is located. 
Currently, the Barnett shale formation has the highest long term 
flowback volumes and the Marcellus shale formation has the lowest. 
While there is no consensus on when the initial ``flowback'' period 
ends, some operators choose to view all water passing from the 
formation up through the wellbore as ``produced water'' regardless of 
the time period in which it occurs.
Pollutants in Shale Gas Wastewaters
    Produced waters (shale gas wastewaters) generally contain elevated 
concentrations of fracturing fluid additives, salt content (often 
expressed as total dissolved solids--TDS), conventional pollutants, 
organics, metals, and NORM (naturally occurring radioactive material).
    EPA has multiple sources of shale gas produced water 
characterization data including reports published by the Department of 
Energy (DCN 07476 and DCN 07474) and industry flowback analysis made 
available by Chesapeake Energy, Talisman Energy, Devon Energy, Superior 
Well Services, and GTI.
    Total dissolved solids is the most reported pollutant. Data on TDS 
concentrations are widely available due to the potential negative 
impact of high concentrations of TDS on the ability to re-use the shale 
gas wastewater. Elevated TDS levels may also impact the effectiveness 
of the additives in the fracturing fluids (DCN 07482A03).
    High concentrations of TDS are common in shale gas wastewater 
across the country, although the levels may vary from basin to basin. 
TDS concentrations of 100,000 ppm are typical and can be as high as 
400,000 ppm (DCN 07476). For comparison, sea water contains 
approximately 35,000 ppm TDS. The main component ion of TDS in shale 
gas wastewater appears to be chloride, which accounts for approximately 
60% of the TDS found in shale gas wastewater. Chloride has been 
measured in shale gas wastewater water at levels of 8,800--153,000 ppm. 
Other components may include barium (21--13,900 ppm), strontium (Non-
Detect--3,700 ppm), calcium (314--23,500 ppm), magnesium (135--5,000 
ppm) and sodium (2,800--65,000 ppm). Additionally, the concentrations 
of TDS in produced water from each well tend to increase over time (DCN 
07482A13, DCN 07482A10, DCN 07482A23, and DCN 07482A15).
    Organic and inorganic pollutants appear to be less frequently 
sampled in comparison to the well documented TDS concentrations. EPA 
has reviewed limited data on organic pollutants in produced water and 
found a range of pollutant concentrations: phenol (Non-Detect--3,700 
ppb), pyridine (Non-Detect--534 ppb), benzene (1--3,400 ppb), ethyl 
benzene (Non-Detect--1,400 ppb), toluene (Non-Detect--11,400 ppb), 
total xylenes (2--14,500 ppb), and glycol (10,000--120,000 ppb). 
Additionally, bromide linked to shale gas wastewater has been measured 
in POTW outfalls (1,020--1,100 ppm) (DCN 07481A04, DCN 07481A03, DCN 
07479A06, and DCN 07481A02).
    NORM is an acronym for naturally occurring radioactive material. 
The U.S. Department of Energy published a report in 2009 that includes 
a description of the process by which NORM in the rock formations would 
be brought to the surface by hydraulic fracturing (DCN 07476). Radium 
226, which has a half life of over 1,000 years, has been found to be 
present in concentrations up to 16,030 pCi/l in the Marcellus Shale 
produced water as reported by the New York State Department of 
Environmental Conservation in 2009 (DCN 07473). This reported 
radionuclide concentration exceeds the drinking water Maximum 
Contaminant Level of 5 pCi/L for Radium 226.
    While EPA has some data on the additives in fracturing fluid, EPA 
is not aware of any substantial sampling data on the presence or 
absence of these additives in shale gas wastewaters.
Shale Gas Wastewater Disposal and Treatment
    Up to 1 million gallons of shale gas wastewater may be produced 
from a single well within the first 30 days following fracturing. 
Smaller volumes of shale gas wastewater will also be produced 
throughout the life of the well. Many well operators transport this 
wastewater to Underground Injection Control (UIC) program permitted 
brine injection wells where the wastewater is permanently emplaced 
underground, a common practice in the oil and gas industry. The ability 
to inject shale gas wastewater varies based on local geology and 
permitting requirements. For example, this practice is widely used in 
the Barnett (Texas) formation where the state has more than 12,000 
brine disposal wells, and less so in the Marcellus formation (PA, WV, 
OH, NY, MD). For comparison purposes, the Marcellus formation states 
presently have less than 300 brine disposal wells. The state of 
Pennsylvania, where most Marcellus shale drilling occurs, has six brine 
disposal wells.
    Some operators elect to re-use a portion of the wastewater to 
replace and/or supplement fresh water in formulating fracturing fluid 
for a future well \1\. Re-use of shale gas wastewater is, in part, 
dependent on the levels of pollutants in the wastewater and the 
proximity of other fracturing sites that might re-use the wastewater. 
This practice has increased over the last couple of years, especially 
in regions of the country where fresh water is not plentiful.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ In order to prepare shale gas wastewater for re-use, the 
produced water is filtered to remove suspended solids from 
wastewater and then combined with fresh water and additives to 
formulate fracturing fluid. Typically re-used shale gas wastewater 
makes up only a small percentage of water demand for fracturing 
operations.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    When injection and re-use are not viable options for shale gas 
wastewater disposal, operators may dispose of this wastewater by 
sending it to POTWs or to private centralized waste treatment 
facilities (CWTs). The vast majority of POTWs employ equalization, bulk 
solids removal, biological treatment, and disinfection. POTWs are 
likely effective in treating only some of the pollutants in shale gas 
wastewater, such as the conventional and organic pollutants. These 
treatment technologies are not designed to treat high levels of TDS, 
NORM, or high levels of metals \2\; it is believed that much of these 
pollutants pass through the POTW untreated. Many CWTs, of which 90% 
discharge to POTWs, are similarly not designed to treat for high TDS or 
NORM (DCN 07474).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ Metcalf & Eddy Inc. (2003) Wastewater Engineering: Treatment 
and Reuse McGraw-Hill, New York.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    High concentrations of TDS may also lead to inhibition or 
disruptions of POTW treatment efficiency. However, most POTWs that 
accept shale gas wastewaters blend small volumes with traditional POTW 
wastewaters (1% shale gas wastewater by volume) to reduce pollutant 
concentrations through dilution to prevent POTW inhibition (DCN 07474).
Local Limits for Shale Gas Extraction Wastewater Introductions to POTWs
    Under the Clean Water Act statutory and regulatory framework, POTWs 
must establish requirements for any introduction of wastewater to the 
POTW or its collection system if it either would cause ``pass through'' 
or ``interference'' (e.g., cause the POTW to violate its permits 
limits, or interfere with the operation of the POTW or the beneficial 
use of its sewage sludge). POTWs are subject to the secondary treatment 
effluent limitations at 40 CFR part 133, which do not address the 
parameters of concern in shale gas extraction wastewater (e.g., TDS, 
chloride, radionuclides, etc). If a water quality

[[Page 66297]]

based effluent limit for these parameters is not included in the POTW 
permit, and if there is no evidence of interference, or sewage sludge 
contamination, the POTW may not have a basis to develop appropriate 
local limits. Independent of CWA requirements, POTWs can establish 
local limits under their sewer use ordinances for any parameters they 
determine could cause problems at the POTW. Currently, however, it is 
uncommon that POTWs have established local limits for the parameters of 
concern here, or that POTWs have water quality-based effluent 
limitations (WQBELs) for such parameters. Possible Impacts of Shale Gas 
Wastewater Discharges to Drinking Water Sources and Aquatic Life.
    TDS has been shown to have negative impacts on aquatic life and 
drinking water. The level at which these impacts may occur is far less 
than the level of TDS typically found in shale gas wastewater. As 
described above, the average concentration of TDS in shale gas 
wastewaters is typically 100,000 ppm and can be as high as 400,000 ppm. 
Available data indicates the levels of TDS in shale gas wastewaters can 
often exceed recommended drinking water concentrations \3\ by a factor 
of 200. Because TDS concentrations in fresh non-brackish drinking water 
sources are typically well below the recommended drinking water levels, 
few drinking water treatment facilities have technologies to remove 
TDS.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ Two published standards regarding TDS include EPA's 
secondary maximum contaminant level for TDS of 500 ppm and the U.S. 
Public Health Service recommendation that TDS in drinking water 
should not exceed 500 ppm.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Aquatic life toxicity of freshwater contaminated with high TDS is 
dependent on the specific ionic composition of the water. In shale gas 
wastewaters, the largest single contributor to TDS is chlorides. 
Macroinvertebrates, and more specifically aquatic insects, have an open 
circulatory system and are more sensitive to pollutants like chloride, 
which at elevated exposure concentrations, negatively affect their 
ability to maintain the right concentration of salts and water in the 
body, which involves excreting metabolic wastes that would be toxic to 
the organism if allowed to accumulate. Based on laboratory toxicity 
data from EPA's 1988 chloride criteria document and more recent 
studies, invertebrate sensitivity to chloride acute effect 
concentrations ranged from 953 ppm to 13,691 ppm and chronic effect 
concentrations ranged from 489 ppm to 556 ppm. Aquatic vertebrates such 
as fish and frogs are less sensitive to chloride with acute effect 
concentrations ranging from 3,959 ppm to 14,500 ppm and chronic effect 
concentrations of 646 ppm to 955 ppm (DCN 07483). Available data on 
maximum chloride concentrations in shale gas wastewaters exceed the 
acute effect concentration by a factor of over 100 \4\ (DCN 07482A15).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ As discussed, many of the POTWs that accept shale gas 
wastewaters blend small volumes with traditional POTW wastewaters 
and reduce pollutant concentrations through dilution, so high 
concentrations in shale gas wastewaters do not necessarily lead to 
concentrations that exceed aquatic life criteria at the point of 
discharge.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addition to the laboratory data, EPA also has data from a 2009 
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection violation report 
documenting a fishkill attributed to a spill of diluted produced water 
in Hopewell Township, PA. A sample of the receiving water at the 
location of the fishkill was analyzed and TDS was measured as high as 
7,000 ppm. The report documents the effects of the TDS on aquatic 
species such as fish and salamanders and frogs, including mortalities 
(DCN 07471).\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ While not related to shale gas wastewater, negative impacts 
of high TDS, including fish kills, were documented during 2009 at 
Dunkard Creek located in Monongalia County, Pennsylvania.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Moreover, bromide found in shale gas wastewater may react with 
disinfectants used at water treatment plants, creating potentially 
harmful disinfection byproducts such as trihalomethane. Bromide, linked 
to shale gas wastewater, has been recorded in POTW effluents in 
concentrations as high as 1,100 ppm (DCN 07472 and DCN 07481A02).
    Conclusion:
    Natural gas can increase our domestic energy options, thus, 
reducing dependence on non-U.S. sources, and it has the potential to 
improve air quality, increase stability in energy prices, and provide 
greater certainty about future energy reserves. Also, natural gas can 
serve as a bridge fuel from coal to even more efficient energy sources 
that can further reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Natural gas holds 
great potential for our energy future and for our environment and EPA 
supports the commitment in the ``Blueprint,'' to responsible 
development of this important domestic resource and to proactively 
addressing the concerns that have been raised regarding potential 
negative impacts associated with hydraulic fracturing of shale 
formations.
    We have heard from the public and environmental organizations that 
they are concerned about the safety of natural gas production and the 
possible impacts that shale gas development could have on American 
communities. Some states have allowed development; others have put a 
hold on any development, cautious about the environmental impacts of 
shale gas production. Some states have asked that national standards be 
promulgated, and have also requested resources to help deal with these 
possible impacts. We have also heard from industry that shale gas 
extraction is currently regulated under the existing Oil and Gas 
Effluent Limitation Guidelines and those regulations are sufficient. 
What we know is that shale gas extraction generates extremely large 
volumes of wastewater that contain considerable pollutant loads. Some 
of this is being responsibly reinjected into appropriate underground 
wells; other volumes of wastewater are likely not being treated 
effectively by existing treatment facilities. Resulting discharges have 
the potential to affect both drinking water supplies and aquatic life. 
These concerns and issues will not dissipate as shale gas production is 
expected to increase. As a result, EPA has decided to initiate 
rulemaking to decide the appropriate level of pretreatment standards 
for this industry. As noted above, EPA will carefully consider the 
SEAB's recommendations as EPA develops regulatory options.
    As a first step in developing a regulation, EPA will conduct 
extensive data gathering, including site visits, stakeholder outreach, 
and development of a national survey of the industry. More 
specifically, EPA will visit natural gas extraction operations where 
hydraulic fracturing is occurring to obtain data directly from the well 
operators on well drilling and fracturing operations, produced water 
characteristics, and wastewater management. In addition to the site 
visits, EPA will reach out to stakeholders and other affected entities 
to identify and better understand concerns regarding environmental 
impacts associated with fracturing wastewater and potential industry 
implications of the regulation. Finally, EPA will begin the process of 
developing and seeking approval to distribute a nationally 
representative survey to collect information on the shale gas industry. 
This survey will assist EPA in obtaining national data on the 
operations, economics, and wastewater characteristics associated with 
hydraulic fracturing, as well as data pertaining to available treatment 
technologies for shale gas wastewater.
    In 2010, Congress directed EPA to ``carry out a study on the 
relationship between hydraulic fracturing and

[[Page 66298]]

drinking water, using a credible approach that relies on the best 
available science, as well as independent sources of information. The 
conferees expect the study to be conducted through a transparent, peer-
reviewed process that will ensure the validity and accuracy of the 
data.'' In accordance with this direction from Congress, EPA conducted 
extensive stakeholder outreach to solicit advice regarding the design 
of the study. In February 2011, EPA submitted a draft study plan to the 
Science Advisory Board for peer review. In March and May 2011, the 
Science Advisory Board subcommittee met to provide peer review of the 
EPA's draft study plan. Consistent with the operating procedures of the 
SAB, an opportunity was provided for stakeholders and the public to 
provide comments for the SAB to take into account during their review. 
EPA is revising the study plan in response to the SAB's comments and 
initial study results are expected by the end of 2012. However, certain 
portions of the work will be long-term projects that are not likely to 
be finished at that time. Additional reports of study findings will be 
published as the longer-term projects progress. While the primary focus 
of this study is on impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water 
resources, including surface water impacts, EPA will carefully review 
and consider any relevant information that is collected to support this 
study. Likewise, any data collected pursuant to this new rulemaking 
will be shared with the EPA office that is conducting the 
Congressionally-mandated study.
    Should the report or EPA's rulemaking survey, in combination with 
other data gathering and public outreach, indicate that POTWs are 
already adequately treating shale gas wastewater so that it is not 
causing pass through or interference with POTW operations, including 
sludge management, EPA is open to adjusting its rulemaking plans 
accordingly. However, EPA believes that beginning rulemaking now, and 
particularly the data collection necessary to support such a rule, is 
an appropriate step given what we already know about wastewater 
discharges from the industry.
5. Summary of 2010 Annual Review Findings
    The summary of the findings of the 2010 annual review is presented 
below in Table V-1 (see also the TSD for the final 2010 Plan for 
greater details). This table uses the following codes to describe the 
Agency's findings with respect to each existing industrial category.
    (1) Effluent guidelines or pretreatment standards for this 
industrial category were recently revised through an effluent 
guidelines rulemaking, or a rulemaking is currently underway. Or EPA 
recently completed a preliminary study or a detailed study, and no 
further action is necessary at this time.
    (2) Revising the national effluent guidelines or pretreatment 
standards is not the best tool for this industrial category because 
most of the toxic and non-conventional pollutant discharges are from 
one or a few facilities in this industrial category. EPA will consider 
assisting permitting authorities in identifying pollutant control and 
pollution prevention technologies for the development of technology-
based effluent limitations by best professional judgment (BPJ) on a 
facility-specific basis.
    (3) Not identified as a priority based on data available at this 
time (e.g., not among industries that cumulatively comprise 95% of 
discharges as measured in units of TWPE).
    (4) EPA intends to start or continue a detailed study of this 
industry in its 2011 annual review to determine whether to identify the 
category for effluent guidelines rulemaking.
    (5) EPA is continuing or initiating a preliminary category review 
or will continue to review discharges using screening-level data 
because incomplete data are currently available to determine whether to 
conduct a detailed study or identify for possible revision. EPA 
typically performs a further assessment of the pollutant discharges 
before starting a detailed study of the industrial category. This 
assessment provides an additional level of quality assurance on the 
reported pollutant discharges and number of facilities that represent 
the majority of toxic-weighted pollutant discharges. EPA may also 
develop a preliminary list of potential wastewater pollutant control 
technologies before conducting a detailed study.
    (6) EPA is identifying this industry for a revision of an existing 
effluent guideline.
    Note that dental mercury is not included in the analysis below, as 
dental facilities do not currently have an effluent guideline.

 Table V-1--Findings From the 2010 Annual Review of Effluent Guidelines
   and Pretreatment Standards Conducted Under Section 301(d), 304(b),
                           304(g), and 307(b)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Industry
                        category
        No.              (listed         40 CFR Part        Findings *
                     alphabetically)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.................  Aluminum Forming                467              (3)
2.................  Asbestos                        427              (3)
                     Manufacturing.
3.................  Battery                         461              (3)
                     Manufacturing.
4.................  Canned and                      407              (3)
                     Preserved
                     Fruits and
                     Vegetable
                     Processing.
5.................  Canned and                      408              (3)
                     Preserved
                     Seafood
                     Processing.
6.................  Carbon Black                    458              (3)
                     Manufacturing.
7.................  Cement                          411              (3)
                     Manufacturing.
8.................  Centralized                     437              (3)
                     Waste Treatment.
9.................  Coal Mining.....                434              (3)
10................  Coil Coating....                465              (3)
11................  Concentrated                    412              (1)
                     Animal Feeding
                     Operations
                     (CAFO).
12................  Concentrated                    451              (1)
                     Aquatic Animal
                     Production.
13................  Construction and                450              (1)
                     Development.
14................  Copper Forming..                468              (3)
15................  Dairy Products                  405              (3)
                     Processing.
16................  Electrical and                  469              (3)
                     Electronic
                     Components.
17................  Electroplating..                413              (1)
18................  Explosives                      457              (3)
                     Manufacturing.
19................  Ferroalloy                      424              (3)
                     Manufacturing.
20................  Fertilizer                      418              (3)
                     Manufacturing.
21................  Glass                           426              (3)
                     Manufacturing.

[[Page 66299]]

 
22................  Grain Mills.....                406              (3)
23................  Gum and Wood                    454              (3)
                     Chemicals.
24................  Hospitals.......                460              (1)
25................  Ink Formulating.                447              (3)
26................  Inorganic                       415      (1) and (3)
                     Chemicals [Note
                     1].
27................  Iron and Steel                  420              (1)
                     Manufacturing.
28................  Landfills.......                445              (5)
29................  Leather Tanning                 425              (3)
                     and Finishing.
30................  Meat and Poultry                432              (1)
                     Products.
31................  Metal Finishing.                433              (1)
32................  Metal Molding                   464              (3)
                     and Casting.
33................  Metal Products                  438              (1)
                     and Machinery.
34................  Mineral Mining                  436              (5)
                     and Processing.
35................  Nonferrous                      471              (3)
                     Metals Forming
                     and Metal
                     Powders.
36................  Nonferrous                      421              (2)
                     Metals
                     Manufacturing.
37................  Oil and Gas                     435              (6)
                     Extraction.
38................  Ore Mining and                  440              (2)
                     Dressing.
39................  Organic                         414      (1) and (3)
                     Chemicals,
                     Plastics, and
                     Synthetic
                     Fibers [Note 1].
40................  Paint                           446              (3)
                     Formulating.
41................  Paving and                      443              (3)
                     Roofing
                     Materials (Tars
                     and Asphalt).
42................  Pesticide                       455              (3)
                     Chemicals.
43................  Petroleum                       419              (3)
                     Refining.
44................  Pharmaceutical                  439              (3)
                     Manufacturing.
45................  Phosphate                       422              (3)
                     Manufacturing.
46................  Photographic....                459              (3)
47................  Plastic Molding                 463              (5)
                     and Forming.
48................  Porcelain                       466              (3)
                     Enameling.
49................  Pulp, Paper, and                430              (5)
                     Paperboard.
50................  Rubber                          428              (3)
                     Manufacturing.
51................  Soaps and                       417              (3)
                     Detergents
                     Manufacturing.
52................  Steam Electric                  423              (1)
                     Power
                     Generating.
53................  Sugar Processing                409              (3)
54................  Textile Mills...                410              (3)
55................  Timber Products                 429              (3)
                     Processing.
56................  Transportation                  442              (3)
                     Equipment
                     Cleaning.
57................  Waste Combustors                444             (5)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* The descriptions of the ``Findings'' codes are presented immediately
  prior to this table.
Note 1: Two codes (``(1)'' and ``(3)'') are used for this category as
  both codes are applicable to this category and do not overlap. The
  first code (``(1)'') refers to the ongoing effluent guidelines
  rulemaking for the Chlorinated and Chlorinated Hydrocarbons (CCH)
  manufacturing sector, which includes facilities currently regulated by
  the OCPSF and Inorganics effluent guidelines. The second code
  (``(3)'') indicates that the remainder of the facilities in these two
  categories does not represent a hazard priority at this time.

VI. EPA's 2010 Evaluation of Categories of Indirect Dischargers Without 
Categorical Pretreatment Standards To Identify Potential New Categories 
for Pretreatment Standards

A. EPA's Evaluation of Pass Through and Interference of Toxic and Non-
Conventional Pollutants Discharged to POTWs

    All indirect dischargers are subject to general pretreatment 
standards (40 CFR part 403), including a prohibition on discharges 
causing ``pass through'' or ``interference'' (See 40 CFR 403.5). All 
POTWs with approved pretreatment programs must develop local limits to 
implement the general pretreatment standards. All other POTWs must 
develop such local limits where they have experienced ``pass through'' 
or ``interference'' and such a violation is likely to recur. There are 
approximately 1,500 POTWs with approved pretreatment programs and 
13,500 small POTWs that are not required to develop and implement 
pretreatment programs.
    In addition, EPA establishes technology-based national regulations, 
termed ``categorical pretreatment standards,'' for categories of 
industry discharging pollutants to POTWs that may pass through, 
interfere with or otherwise be incompatible with POTW operations (CWA 
section 307(b)). Generally, categorical pretreatment standards are 
designed such that wastewaters from direct and indirect industrial 
dischargers are subject to similar levels of treatment. EPA has 
promulgated such pretreatment standards for 35 industrial categories.
    One of the tools traditionally used by EPA in evaluating whether 
pollutants ``pass through'' a POTW, is a comparison of the percentage 
of a pollutant removed by POTWs with the percentage of the pollutant 
removed by discharging facilities applying BAT. Pretreatment standards 
for existing sources are technology based and are analogous to BAT 
effluent limitations guidelines. In most cases, EPA has concluded that 
a pollutant passes through the POTW when the median percentage removed 
nationwide by representative POTWs (those meeting secondary treatment 
requirements) is less than the median percentage removed by facilities 
complying with BAT effluent limitations guidelines for that pollutant.
    This approach to the definition of ``pass through'' satisfies two 
competing objectives set by Congress: (1) That standards for indirect 
dischargers be equivalent to standards for direct dischargers; and (2) 
that the treatment capability and performance of POTWs be recognized 
and taken into account in

[[Page 66300]]

regulating the discharge of pollutants from indirect dischargers.
    The term ``interference'' means a discharge which, alone or in 
conjunction with a discharge or discharges from other sources, both: 
(1) Inhibits or disrupts the POTW, its treatment processes or 
operations, or its sludge processes, use or disposal; and (2) therefore 
is a cause of a violation of any requirement of the POTW's NPDES permit 
(including an increase in the magnitude or duration of a violation) or 
of the prevention of sewage sludge use or disposal in compliance with 
applicable regulations or permits. See 40 CFR 403.3(k). To determine 
the potential for ``interference,'' EPA generally evaluates the 
industrial indirect discharges in terms of: (1) The compatibility of 
industrial wastewaters and domestic wastewaters (e.g., type of 
pollutants discharged in industrial wastewaters compared to pollutants 
typically found in domestic wastewaters); (2) concentrations of 
pollutants discharged in industrial wastewaters that might cause 
interference with the POTW collection system, the POTW treatment 
system, or biosolids disposal options; and (3) the potential for 
variable pollutant loadings to cause interference with POTW operations 
(e.g., batch discharges or slug loadings from industrial facilities 
interfering with normal POTW operations).
    If EPA determines a category of indirect dischargers causes pass 
through or interference, EPA would then consider the BAT and BPT 
factors (including ``such other factors as the Administrator deems 
appropriate'') specified in section 304(b) to determine whether to 
establish pretreatment standards for these activities. Examples of 
``such other factors'' include a consideration of the magnitude of the 
hazard posed by the pollutants discharged as measured by: (1) The total 
annual TWPE discharged by the industrial sector; and (2) the average 
TWPE discharged among facilities that discharge to POTWs. Additionally, 
EPA would consider whether other regulatory tools (e.g., use of local 
limits under part 403) or voluntary measures would better control the 
pollutant discharges from this category of indirect dischargers. For 
example, EPA relied on a similar evaluation of ``pass through 
potential'' in its prior decision not to promulgate national 
categorical pretreatment standards for the Industrial Laundries 
industry. See 64 FR 45071 (August 18, 1999). EPA noted in this 1999 
final action that, ``While EPA has broad discretion to promulgate such 
[national categorical pretreatment] standards, EPA retains discretion 
not to do so where the total pounds removed do not warrant national 
regulation and there is not a significant concern with pass through and 
interference at the POTW.'' See 64 FR 45077 (August 18, 1999).

B. Hospitals (Part 460) (Health Care Industry Detailed Study of the 
Management of Unused Pharmaceuticals)

    Pharmaceutical chemicals have been detected in our nation's 
waterways, leading to concerns that these compounds may affect aquatic 
life and possible human health through drinking water sources. As a 
result of public comments on the Final 2006 Effluent Guidelines Program 
Plan, EPA initiated a study of unused pharmaceutical disposal practices 
at health care facilities. The focus of this study was on disposal to 
water via sewers. EPA studied medical facilities; including, hospitals, 
hospices, long-term care facilities, health care clinics, physician 
offices, and veterinary facilities. A standard disposal practice at 
many health care facilities is to flush unused pharmaceuticals down the 
toilet or drain.
    Unused pharmaceuticals include leftover medication that is expired, 
not dispensed, and/or partially used, and residues from delivery 
devices. During the study, EPA conducted intensive outreach to over 700 
stakeholders and evaluated a range of management practices to reduce 
the generation of unused pharmaceuticals and their disposal down the 
drain. Based on the information collected through the outreach, EPA has 
drafted a guidance document, ``Best Management Practices for Unused 
Pharmaceuticals at Health Care Facilities''. The guidance document was 
made available for a 60 day public review and comment as announced in a 
Federal Register Notice, published on September 8, 2010. The draft 
guidance document was posted on the Agency's Web site.
    In summary, the guidance recommends the following practices to 
prevent or minimize the amount of pharmaceuticals being disposed in 
water:

--Conduct an inventory of pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical waste to 
quantify the amount of medication the facility is disposing of;
--Reduce pharmaceutical waste by reviewing purchasing practices, use 
limited dose or unit dose dispensing, replace pharmaceutical samples 
with vouchers, and perform on-going inventory control and stock 
rotation;
--Reuse or donate unused pharmaceuticals when possible; return unused 
pharmaceuticals to the pharmacy; send unused pharmaceuticals to a 
reverse distributor for credit and proper disposal in accordance with 
the facility's state environmental regulations; properly identify and 
manage hazardous pharmaceutical wastes in accordance with federal and 
state regulations; use EPA recommended practices to dispose of non-
hazardous pharmaceutical waste at the facility;
--Segregate waste for disposal to ensure regulations are met;
--Train staff in proper disposal methods.

    EPA received 89 comments on the proposed guidance on November 8, 
2010 and is reviewing suggested changes to the document and working 
with relevant Federal Agencies to ensure any incorporated comments are 
consistent with other Federal laws and policies.

C. Dental Amalgam

    In the 2008 final Plan, EPA decided it would not initiate an 
effluent limitation guideline rulemaking for discharges of dental 
amalgam from dentists' offices. However, at that time EPA indicated it 
would examine whether a significant majority of dentists began 
utilizing amalgam separators and stated that after such examination, 
EPA may re-evaluate its decision not to initiate an effluent guidelines 
rulemaking for this sector.
    After assessing the progress made under the Memorandum of 
Understanding to Reduce Dental Amalgam Discharges (MOU), and other 
factors, EPA announced, in September 2010, it will initiate a 
rulemaking to control mercury associated with dental amalgam discharges 
to sewer systems from dental offices.
Background
    Across the United States, many States and municipal wastewater 
treatment plants (publicly owned treatment works--POTWs) are working 
toward the goal of reducing discharges of mercury into sewer collection 
systems. Many studies have been conducted in an attempt to identify the 
sources of mercury entering these collection systems. According to the 
2002 Mercury Source Control and Pollution Prevention Program Final 
Report prepared for the National Association of Clean Water Agencies 
(NACWA), dental offices are the largest source of mercury discharges to 
POTWs. The American

[[Page 66301]]

Dental Association (ADA) estimated in 2003 that up to 50% of mercury 
entering POTWs was caused by dental offices (see DCN 04698).
    EPA estimates there are approximately 160,000 dentists working in 
120,000 dental offices that use or remove amalgam in the United 
States--almost all of which discharge their wastewater exclusively to 
POTWs. Mercury in dental wastewater originates from waste particles 
associated with the placement and removal of amalgam fillings. Most 
dental offices currently use some type of basic filtration system to 
reduce the amount of mercury solids passing into the sewer system. 
However, best management practices and the installation of amalgam 
separators, which generally have a removal efficiency of 95% or 
greater, can reduce discharges even further. A recent study funded by 
NACWA (see DCN 04225) concluded that the use of amalgam separators 
results in reductions in POTW influent concentrations and biosolids 
mercury concentrations.
    In December, 2008 EPA entered into the MOU with NACWA and ADA. The 
purpose of the MOU was to estimate the number of dental facilities with 
amalgam separators installed, establish interim goals for increases in 
the number of separators voluntarily installed, and conduct outreach to 
dentists.
    EPA learned from several states that their efforts to increase the 
number of amalgam separator installations on a voluntary basis were 
largely unsuccessful. Additionally, several environmental organizations 
have urged EPA to establish pretreatment standards for dental amalgam. 
The Quicksilver Caucus commented on the preliminary 2010 Plan 
requesting that EPA initiate a rulemaking to establish pretreatment 
standards for discharges of dental amalgam.
    Given the human health and aquatic-life impacts associated with 
mercury, the level of stakeholder interest, and the availability of a 
technological solution, EPA decided to initiate rulemaking to develop 
pretreatment standards for dental mercury to more thoroughly and 
expeditiously address this water pollution problem.

VII. The Final 2010 Effluent Guidelines Program Plan

    EPA views the effluent guidelines planning process as a mechanism 
designed to promote regular and transparent priority-setting on the 
part of the Agency. A plan is ultimately a statement of choices and 
priorities. These priorities necessarily need to take into account all 
the other statutory mandates and policy initiatives designed to 
implement the CWA's goals and the funds appropriated by Congress to 
execute them.
    By requiring this planning process, culminating in the publication 
of a plan after public notice and comment, Congress assured that EPA 
would regularly re-evaluate its policy choices and priorities 
(including whether to identify an activity for effluent guidelines 
rulemaking) to account for changed circumstances. Ultimately, however, 
Congress left the content of the plan to EPA's discretion--befitting 
the role that effluent guidelines play in the overall structure of the 
CWA and their relationship to other tools for addressing water 
pollution.

A. EPA's Schedule for Annual Review and Revision of Existing Effluent 
Guidelines under Section 304(b)

1. Schedule for 2011 and 2012 Annual Reviews Under Section 304(b)
    As noted in section IV.B, CWA section 304(m)(1)(A) requires EPA to 
publish a biennial plan that establishes a schedule for the annual 
review and revision, in accordance with section 304(b), of the effluent 
guidelines that EPA has promulgated under that section. Today's plan 
announces EPA's schedule for performing its section 304(b) reviews for 
2011 and 2012. The schedule is to coordinate its annual review of 
existing effluent guidelines under section 304(b) with its publication 
of preliminary and final Effluent Guidelines Program Plans under CWA 
section 304(m). In other words, in odd-numbered years, EPA intends to 
complete its annual review upon publication of the preliminary Effluent 
Guidelines Program Plan that EPA must publish for public review and 
comment under CWA section 304(m)(2). In even-numbered years, EPA 
intends to complete its annual review upon the publication of the final 
Plan. EPA's 2011 annual review is the review cycle ending upon the 
publication of the preliminary Plan in 2011 and its 2012 annual review 
is the review cycle ending upon publication of the 2012 final Plan.
2. Schedule for Revision of Effluent Guidelines Promulgated Under 
Section 304(b)
    Currently, EPA is engaged in effluent limitations guideline (ELG) 
rulemakings to revise the following existing guidelines:
    Steam Electric Power Generation--this rulemaking involves the 
revision of an existing ELG for about 1200 power-generating facilities 
with a particular focus on about 500 coal-fired power plants. The 
decision to revise the current effluent guidelines for this industry 
was largely driven by the high level of toxic-weighted pollutant 
discharges from coal fired power plants and the expectation that these 
discharges will increase significantly in the next few years as new air 
pollution controls are installed. EPA is under a consent decree 
obligation to issue a final rule for this industry in 2014.
     Chlorine and Chlorinated Hydrocarbons Manufacturing--EPA 
is currently conducting a rulemaking to potentially revise existing 
effluent guidelines and pretreatment standards for the following 
categories: Organic Chemicals, Plastics and Synthetic Fibers (OCPSF) 
and Inorganic Chemicals (to address discharges from Vinyl Chloride and 
Chlor-Alkali facilities identified for effluent guidelines rulemaking 
in the final 2004 Plan, now termed the ``Chlorine and Chlorinated 
Hydrocarbon (CCH) manufacturing'' rulemaking). EPA previously indicated 
it would conduct an industry survey for this effluent guidelines 
rulemaking (April 18, 2006; 71 FR 19887). EPA is considering its next 
steps for this survey and the rulemaking as it reviews data from a 
voluntary industry monitoring program. EPA worked with industry to 
develop the extensive monitoring program to better understand the 
category's dioxin discharges.
    In addition, EPA is today announcing initiation of an effluent 
limitations guideline (ELG) rulemaking to revise the following existing 
guidelines:
     Oil and Gas Extraction--As explained in Section V.B.2, EPA 
is initiating a rulemaking for Coalbed Methane Extraction, a currently 
unregulated subcategory of the Oil and Gas Extraction Point Source 
Category. Because of concern over high TDS levels in the wastewater for 
Coalbed, availability of treatment technologies, and the fact that 
Coalbed Methane production will continue to grow, EPA believes the 
initiation of a rulemaking to address direct discharges to surface 
waters and discharges to POTWs is appropriate.

B. Identification of Point Source Categories Under CWA Section 
304(m)(1)(B)

    The Effluent Guidelines Program Plan must identify categories of 
sources discharging non-trivial amounts of toxic or non-conventional 
pollutants for which EPA has not published effluent limitations 
guidelines under section 304(b)(2) or new source performance standards 
NSPS) under section 306. See CWA section 304(m)(1)(B). The Plan

[[Page 66302]]

must also establish a schedule for the promulgation of effluent 
guidelines for the categories identified under section 304(m)(1)(B) not 
later than three years after such identification. See CWA section 
304(m)(1)(C). EPA is currently taking the following actions on new 
industry categories:
     Airport De-icing--This final ELG rulemaking addresses the 
environmental impact of aircraft and airfield deicing fluid on the 
environment at the about 200 airports in this country that conduct 
deicing operations. This rule is complicated by the shared 
responsibility for deicing operations between the airports and the 
airlines that use them. EPA currently plans to issue a final rule for 
this category in 2011.
     Drinking Water Treatment Industry--EPA is not at this time 
continuing its effluent guidelines rulemaking for the Drinking Water 
Treatment industry. In the 2004 Plan, EPA announced that it would begin 
development of a regulation to control the pollutants discharged from 
drinking water treatment plants. See 69 FR 53720 (September 2, 2004). 
Based on a preliminary study and on public comments, EPA was interested 
in the potential volume of discharges associated with drinking water 
facilities. The preliminary data were not conclusive, and the Agency 
proceeded with additional study and analysis of treatability, including 
an industry survey. After considering extensive information about the 
industry, its treatment residuals, wastewater treatment options, and 
discharge characteristics, and after considering other priorities, EPA 
has suspended work on this rulemaking.
    The ELG Program is also developing the cooling water intake 
existing facility rule--Under section 316(b) of the CWA, EPA plans to 
issue a final rule in 2012 addressing the withdrawal of trillions of 
aquatic organisms from waters of the U.S. by about 1260 power plants 
and manufacturing facilities which withdraw water for cooling purposes.
    Also for the 2010 Plan, EPA is issuing the detailed study report 
for the coalbed methane industry and is issuing the preliminary study 
report for the Ore Mining and Dressing industry, and will be taking no 
further action on this industry at this time. EPA initiated a 
preliminary study of cellulose manufacturers in the Plastic Molding and 
Forming category (part 463) due, in part, to high carbon disulfide 
discharges which were revealed during the 2010 review.
    Finally, EPA interprets section 304(m)(1)(B) to give EPA the 
discretion to identify in the Plan only those potential new categories 
for which an effluent guidelines rulemaking may be an appropriate tool 
for controlling discharges. Therefore, EPA does not identify in the 
Plan all potential new categories discharging toxic and non-
conventional pollutants. Rather, EPA identifies only those potential 
new categories for which it believes that effluent guidelines may be 
appropriate, taking into account Agency priorities, resources and the 
full range of other CWA tools available for addressing industrial 
discharges. In this Plan, EPA is not identifying for rulemaking any new 
categories discharging toxic and non-conventional pollutants.
    EPA is continuously investigating and solicits comment on how to 
improve its analyses (see section IX. Request for Comment and 
Information for the 2011 Annual Reviews).

C. Identification of Guidelines for Pretreatment of Pollutants under 
CWA Section 304(g)(1) and 307(b)(1)

    EPA has decided to initiate rulemaking for two industries to 
address their indirect industrial discharges to POTWs. This includes 
the indirect discharge of dental amalgam from dental offices and 
wastewater from shale gas extraction to publicly owned treatment works 
(POTWs) that may cause pass-through, interfere with, or are otherwise 
incompatible with POTWs.
    With regard to dental amalgam discharges from dental offices, EPA 
was asked by some states and environmental groups to revisit its 2008 
decision not to initiate rulemaking for this industry. Dental amalgam 
contains mercury, which is a concern to human health because mercury is 
a persistent, bioaccumulative toxic element. EPA estimates that 
dentists discharge approximately 3.7 tons of mercury each year to 
publicly owned treatment works. In addition, EPA has not seen 
significant increases in the installation of amalgam separators under 
current voluntary efforts. Consequently, EPA has decided to initiate 
rulemaking which will reduce mercury discharges from dental facilities 
more completely, and in a more predictable timeframe than has been 
demonstrated through voluntary means alone.
    EPA also is initiating rulemaking for shale gas extraction, another 
subcategory of the Oil and Gas Extraction Point Source Category, which 
is now subject to effluent guidelines under this Category but not to 
applicable pretreatment standards. Because of concern over high TDS 
levels in the wastewater for shale gas extraction, availability of 
treatment technologies, and the fact that shale gas extraction 
production will continue to grow, EPA believes the initiation of a 
rulemaking to address discharges to POTWs is appropriate.

D. Current Rulemakings

Airport Deicing and Steam Electric Power Generation:
Schedules
Airport Deicing:
    --Final ELG Rule--Fall 2011
Steam Electric Power Generation:
    --Proposed Rule--July 2012
    --Final Rule--January 2014

E. New Rulemakings

Dental Amalgam
Schedule to Develop the Regulation for Dental Amalgam:
    --Proposed Rule--October 2011
    --Final Rule--October 2012
Coalbed Methane Extraction
Schedule to Develop the Regulation for Coalbed Methane Extraction:
    --Proposed Rule--2013
Shale Gas Extraction
Schedule to Develop the Regulation for Shale Gas Extraction:
    --Proposed Rule--2014

    These Agency decisions, announcements and the studies described 
previously fulfill EPA's obligations to annually review both existing 
effluent limitations guidelines for direct dischargers and existing 
pretreatment standards for indirect dischargers under CWA sections 
304(b) and (g), as well as other review requirements under CWA section 
301(d) and 307(b).

VIII. EPA's 2011 Annual Review of Existing Effluent Guidelines and 
Pretreatment Standards Under CWA Sections 301(d), 304(b), 304(g), 
304(m) and 307(b)

    This notice also provides EPA's preliminary thoughts concerning its 
2011 annual reviews under CWA sections 304(b) and 304(g) as well as its 
reviews under 301(d) and 307(b) and solicits comments, data and 
information to assist EPA in performing these reviews.

A. Schedule for the 2011 Annual Reviews Under Section 304(b)

    As noted in section IV.B, CWA section 304(m)(1)(A) requires EPA to 
publish a Plan every two years that establishes a schedule for the 
annual review and revision, in accordance with section 304(b), of the 
effluent guidelines that EPA has promulgated under that

[[Page 66303]]

section. This final 2010 Plan announces EPA's schedule for performing 
its section 304(b) reviews in 2011.
    The schedule is as follows: EPA will coordinate its annual review 
of existing effluent guidelines with its publication of the preliminary 
and final Plans under CWA section 304(m). In other words, in odd-
numbered years, EPA intends to complete its annual review upon 
publication of the preliminary Plan that EPA must publish for public 
review and comment under CWA section 304(m)(2). In even-numbered years, 
EPA intends to complete its annual review upon the publication of the 
final Plan. EPA's 2010 annual review is the review cycle ending upon 
the publication of this final 2010 Plan.
    EPA is coordinating its annual reviews with publication of Plans 
under section 304(m) for several reasons. First, the annual review is 
inextricably linked to the planning effort, because the results of each 
annual review can inform the content of the preliminary and final 
Plans, e.g., by identifying candidates for effluent guidelines revision 
for which EPA can schedule rulemaking in the Plan, or by calling to 
EPA's attention point source categories for which EPA has not 
promulgated effluent guidelines. Second, even though not required to do 
so under either section 304(b) or section 304(m), EPA believes that the 
public interest is served by periodically presenting to the public a 
description of each annual review (including the review process 
employed) and the results of the review. Doing so at the same time EPA 
publishes preliminary and final plans makes both processes more 
transparent. Third, by requiring EPA to regularly review all existing 
effluent guidelines, Congress appears to have intended that each 
successive review would build upon the results of earlier reviews. 
Therefore, by describing the 2010 annual review along with the final 
2010 final Plan, EPA hopes to gather and receive data and information 
that will inform its reviews for 2011 and 2012 and the final 2012 Plan.

IX. Request for Comment and Information for the 2011 Annual Reviews

A. EPA Requests Information on

1. Data Sources and Methodologies
    EPA solicits comments on whether EPA used the correct evaluation 
factors, criteria, and data sources in conducting its annual review and 
developing this final Plan. EPA also solicits comment on other data 
sources EPA can use in its annual reviews and biennial planning 
process. Please see the docket for a more detailed discussion of EPA's 
analysis supporting the reviews in this notice (see DCN 07320).
    EPA is also soliciting comments on ways to enhance its Plan 
analysis. In particular: Are there new or additional factors that 
should be brought to bear for screening existing industries for 
revisions to their current guidelines? Are there approaches that could 
be used to better identify new industries that currently do not have 
guidelines that should? EPA is interested in receiving comment on all 
aspects of its current methodology.
2. Climate Change and Water Efficiency
    EPA solicits comments, and data and information on whether the 
actions described under this Plan will have effects on water 
conservation or on climate change. In particular, will certain 
technologies or actions help to conserve water, and thereby energy and 
thus reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, or will the actions 
envisioned by this plan waste water and/or energy resources. Likewise, 
will the actions and potential industry changes contemplated by this 
Plan result in greater emission of green house gases, or are there 
opportunities for industry to reduce green house gas emissions.
3. BPJ Permit-Based Support
    EPA solicits comments on whether, and if so, how the Agency should 
provide EPA Regions and States with permit-based support instead of 
revising effluent guidelines (e.g., when the vast majority of the 
hazard is associated with one or a few facilities). EPA solicits 
comment on categories for which the Agency should provide permit-based 
support.
4. Implementation Issues Related to Existing Effluent Guidelines and 
Pretreatment Standards
    As a factor in its decision-making, EPA considers opportunities to 
eliminate inefficiencies or impediments to pollution prevention or 
technological innovation, or opportunities to promote innovative 
approaches such as water quality trading, including within-plant 
trading. Consequently, EPA solicits comment on implementation issues 
related to existing effluent guidelines and pretreatment standards.
5. EPA's Evaluation of Categories of Indirect Dischargers Without 
Categorical Pretreatment Standards To Identify Potential New Categories 
for Pretreatment Standards
    EPA solicits comments on its evaluation of categories of indirect 
dischargers without categorical pretreatment standards. Specifically, 
EPA solicits wastewater characterization data (e.g., wastewater 
volumes, concentrations of discharged pollutants), current examples of 
pollution prevention, treatment technologies, and local limits for all 
industries without pretreatment standards. EPA also solicits comment on 
whether there are industrial sectors discharging pollutants that cause 
interference issues that cannot be adequately controlled through the 
general pretreatment standards. Finally, EPA solicits comment on how 
better to access and aggregate discharge data reported to local 
pretreatment programs. Currently, pollutant discharge data are 
collected by the local pretreatment program to demonstrate compliance 
with pretreatment standards and local limits but are not typically 
electronically transmitted to the States or EPA Regions.
6. Data and Information on Discharges of Pollutants From Waste 
Combustors
    EPA solicits data and information on discharges of wastewater from 
waste combustors. DMR data suggest the consistent discharge of metals 
and possible discharge of pesticides from waste combustors. EPA's 
analysis for the 2010 ELG Final Plan shows that pesticides are 
discharged at concentrations below limits of detection. EPA is 
requesting information on waste combustors metals and pesticide 
discharges, to determine if they are present at concentrations below 
treatable levels.
7. Data and Information on Discharges of Pollutants From Shale Gas 
Extraction
    EPA solicits data and information on the pollutants generated by 
the Shale Gas extraction industry. In particular EPA is soliciting data 
and information on the type of pollutants in shale gas wastewaters, 
including the type and toxicity of additives, the volumes of flowback 
and concentrations of the pollutants in the flowback, the fate and 
transport of pollutants to ground waters, and data and information on 
the pass-through of pollutants at publicly owned treatment works 
(POTWs). EPA also solicits documented impacts of these pollutants on 
aquatic life and human health.
8. Data and Information on Discharges of Nanosilver From Industrial 
Manufacturing
    Nanosilver is becoming a more commonly used substance in industrial 
materials and commercial products as an active pesticide ingredient. In 
some uses, fabric is impregnated with

[[Page 66304]]

nanosilver as an anti-microbial during manufacturing and nanosilver 
discharges may result. In other applications, nanosilver is used as a 
preservative in textile products which could also lead to nanosilver 
discharges. Other products, such as household washing machines, are 
being manufactured with the washer drum coated with nanosilver polymers 
to kill bacteria during clothes laundering. Since many of the 
nanosilver applications have the potential to create a source of silver 
in wastewater discharges from industries using nanosilver in the 
manufacture of products, or use of products containing nanosilver, EPA 
is interested in gathering as much information as possible on the fate, 
transport and effects of nanosilver on the aquatic environment and 
human health.
    EPA is soliciting data and information on the manufacture, use, and 
environmental release of silver materials, including nanosilver. EPA is 
requesting information on the manufacturing of silver materials, 
including:

--Raw silver products, such as colloidal nanosilver;
--Intermediates such as polymers or fibers embedded with silver, 
nanosilver, or silver compounds; and
--End products, such as silver-embedded textile and plastic products, 
or appliances with nanosilver coated surfaces.

    Dated: October 20, 2011.
Nancy K. Stoner,
Acting Assistant Administrator for Water.
[FR Doc. 2011-27742 Filed 10-25-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P