[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 150 (Monday, August 5, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 47241-47242]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-18810]


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DELAWARE RIVER BASIN COMMISSION

18 CFR Part 410


Amendments to the Water Quality Regulations, Water Code and 
Comprehensive Plan To Revise the Human Health Water Quality Criteria 
for PCBs in Zones 2 Through 6 of the Delaware Estuary and Bay

AGENCY: Delaware River Basin Commission.

ACTION: Proposed rule; notice of public hearing.

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SUMMARY: The Delaware River Basin Commission (``DRBC'' or 
``Commission'') will hold a public hearing to receive comments on 
proposed amendments to the Commission's Water Quality Regulations, 
Water Code and Comprehensive Plan to revise the water quality criteria 
for polychlorinated biphenyls (``PCBs'') in the Delaware Estuary and 
Bay, DRBC Water Quality Management Zones 2 through 6, for the 
protection of human health from carcinogenic effects. The Commission 
will simultaneously solicit comment on a draft implementation strategy 
to support achievement of the criteria.

DATES: The public hearing will be held starting at 1:00 p.m. on 
Tuesday, September 10, 2013. The hearing will continue until all those 
wishing to testify have had an opportunity to do so. Written comments 
will be accepted and must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, September 
20, 2013. More information regarding the procedures for the hearing and 
comments is provided below.

ADDRESSES: The public hearing will be held in the Goddard Conference 
Room at the Commission's office building located at 25 State Police 
Drive, West Trenton, NJ. As Internet mapping tools are inaccurate for 
this location, please use the driving directions posted on the 
Commission's Web site.
    Oral testimony and written comments: Persons wishing to testify at 
the hearing are asked to register in advance by phoning Paula Schmitt 
at 609-883-9500, ext. 224. Written comments may be submitted as 
follows: If by email, to paula.schmitt@drbc.state.nj.us; if by fax, to 
Commission Secretary at 609-883-9522; if by U.S. Mail, to Commission 
Secretary, DRBC, P.O. Box 7360, West Trenton, NJ 08628-0360; and if by 
overnight mail, to Commission Secretary, DRBC, 25 State Police Drive, 
West Trenton, NJ 08628-0360. Comments also may be delivered by hand at 
any time during the Commission's regular office hours (Monday through 
Friday, 8:30 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. except on national holidays) until 
the close of the comment period at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, September 20. 
In all cases, please include the commenter's name, address and 
affiliation, if any, in the comment document and ``PCB Rulemaking'' in 
the subject line.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The rule text, basis and background 
document and the draft Implementation Strategy are available on the 
DRBC Web site, DRBC.net. A May 10, 2012 PowerPoint presentation that 
illustrates PCB loading reductions achieved through the implementation 
of the Commission's PMP Rule is also posted on the Web site. For 
further information, please contact Commission Secretary Pamela M. 
Bush, 609-883-9500 ext. 203.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    Re-Proposal. A notice of proposed rulemaking to amend the current 
PCB criteria and to invite comment on an implementation plan was 
published in the Federal Register (74 FR 41100) on August 14, 2009. The 
Commission deferred action on the proposal, however, pending the 
refinement of implementation strategies for point sources. Today, the 
uniform criterion of 16 picograms per liter is re-proposed, and a draft 
implementation strategy that has been revised for point sources is 
simultaneously published for comment.
    Current Criteria. The human health water quality criteria for PCBs 
currently in effect in Zones 2 through 5 of the Delaware Estuary were 
established by the Commission in 1996 (see 61 FR 58047 and 
incorporation by reference at 18 CFR part 410). The 1996 criterion 
applicable to the lower portion of Zone 5 was extended to Zone 6, 
Delaware Bay, in 2010, effective the following year (see 76 FR 16285). 
The development of these PCB criteria pre-dated the collection of site-
specific bioaccumulation data for the Estuary and Bay and site-specific 
fish-consumption data for Zones 2 through 4 that are relevant to the 
development of human health water quality criteria. They are also 
inconsistent with current guidance issued by the U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency (``EPA'') for the development of such criteria, and 
they vary by water quality zone, adding undue complexity to application 
of the criteria in these tidal waters.
    Development of New Criteria. By Resolution No. 2003-11 on March 19, 
2003 the Commission directed the executive director to initiate 
rulemaking on a proposal to revise the Commission's water quality 
criteria for PCBs for the protection of human health from carcinogenic 
effects to reflect site-specific data on fish consumption, site-
specific bioaccumulation factors, and current EPA guidance on 
development of human health criteria. Amendment of the PCB criteria was 
delayed, however, pending ongoing work by the Commission's Toxics 
Advisory Committee (``TAC'') to develop the new criterion and a 
simultaneous initiative by the Commission and diverse stakeholders to 
develop an implementation plan. The TAC is a standing committee of 
stakeholders, including regulators, municipal and industrial 
dischargers and environmental organizations that advises the Commission 
on technical matters relating to the control of toxic contaminants in 
shared waters of the Basin.
    Rigorously applying the most current available data and 
methodology, including site-specific data on fish consumption, site-
specific bioaccumulation factors, and the current EPA methodology for 
the development of human health criteria for toxic pollutants (see EPA-
822-B-00-004, October 2000), the TAC in July 2005 completed development 
of a revised PCB water quality criterion for the protection of human 
health from carcinogenic effects for the Delaware Estuary and Bay, 
recommending adoption of a uniform criterion of 16 picograms per liter 
for Water Quality Management Zones 2 through 6. By Resolution No. 2005-
19 on December 7, 2005, the Commission again directed the executive 
director to conduct rulemaking, specifically to replace the existing 
criteria for PCBs with the

[[Page 47242]]

uniform criterion of 16 picograms per liter.
    Over the course of the next three-and-a-half years, the Commission 
continued to work with co-regulators on an implementation strategy for 
point and non-point sources to accompany the proposed uniform 
criterion. A notice of proposed rulemaking to amend the current PCB 
criteria and to invite comment on an implementation plan was issued in 
August 2009 (see 74 FR 41100). The Commission deferred action on the 
proposal, however, pending the refinement of implementation strategies 
for point sources. The updated, uniform criterion of 16 picograms per 
liter is now re-proposed, and a draft implementation strategy that has 
been revised for point sources is simultaneously published for comment.
    Proposed Amendment. It is proposed to amend Table 6 in Section 3.30 
of Article 3 of the Water Quality Regulations and Water Code as 
follows: For the parameter ``PCBs (Total)'', in the column headed 
``Freshwater Objectives (ug/l): Fish & Water Ingestion,'' by removing 
the number ``0.0000444'' and inserting ``0.000016''; in the column 
headed ``Freshwater Objectives (ug/l): Fish Ingestion Only,'' by 
removing the number ``0.0000448'' and inserting ``0.000016''; and in 
the column headed ``Marine Objectives (ug/l): Fish Ingestion Only,'' by 
removing the number ``0.0000079'' and inserting ``0.000016''. It is 
further proposed to amend paragraph 410.1(c) of title 18 of the Code of 
Federal Regulations by replacing the date of incorporation by reference 
that appears there (December 8, 2010), with the date on which the 
Commission adopts a final rule in response to this proposal.
    Water Quality Impairment for PCBs. Because high levels of PCBs have 
resulted in state-issued fish consumption advisories for certain 
species caught in the Estuary and Bay, these waters are listed by the 
bordering states as impaired under Section 303(d) of the federal Clean 
Water Act (``CWA''), and a total maximum daily load (``TMDL'') is 
required to be established for them. A TMDL expresses the maximum 
amount of a pollutant that a water body can receive and still attain 
water quality standards. Once the TMDL is calculated, it is allocated 
to all sources in the watershed--point and nonpoint. In order to ensure 
the attainment and maintenance of water quality standards, a source 
must not discharge a load in excess of its allocated share of the TMDL.
    The EPA established TMDLs for PCBs on behalf of the states in 
December of 2003 for the Delaware Estuary and in December of 2006 for 
the Delaware Bay (``Stage 1 TMDLs''). Upon adoption of revised human 
health water quality criteria for PCBs in the Delaware Estuary and Bay, 
it is anticipated that EPA will establish new TMDLs (``Stage 2 TMDLs'') 
corresponding to the updated criteria.
    Implementing PCB Load Reductions. To initiate PCB reductions, by 
Resolution No. 2005-9 in May 2005, the Commission amended its Water 
Quality Regulations (``WQR'') to establish a requirement for PCB 
Pollutant Minimization Plans (``PMPs'') (see Section 4.30.9 of the WQR, 
incorporated by reference at 18 CFR Part 410) (``the PMP Rule''). In 
accordance with the PMP Rule the largest point source dischargers of 
PCBs to the Delaware Estuary and Bay undertook the development and 
implementation of PMPs, including a variety of track-down and load 
reduction strategies. Ambient and effluent data collected between 2005 
and 2011 show that their efforts over the past 12 years (and in some 
cases longer) have substantially reduced point source PCB loadings to 
the Estuary and Bay. However, because PCBs persist in the environment, 
including in soils that drain to municipal and industrial discharge 
facilities, most dischargers will require more time, including in some 
instances decades, to achieve the PCB loading reductions needed to meet 
their assigned wasteload allocations.
    The draft document entitled Implementation Strategy for 
Polychlorinated Biphenyls for Zones 2-6 of the Delaware River Estuary 
(``Implementation Strategy'') builds on the approach embodied by the 
PMP Rule. Among other things, it attempts to better integrate PMP 
requirements with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System 
(NPDES) permit program administered by the Estuary states of Delaware, 
New Jersey and Pennsylvania pursuant to the CWA.
    Notably, the 2003 Delaware Estuary TMDL report projected that ``due 
to the scope and complexity of the problem that has been defined 
through these TMDLs, achieving the estuary water quality standards for 
PCBs will take decades.'' (EPA 2003, Executive Summary, p. xiii). 
Adoption of an updated, uniform criterion for the Delaware Estuary and 
Bay and implementation of the criterion by means of the proposed 
strategy will not alter this prognosis. However, the proposed criterion 
and Implementation Strategy are intended to align the Commission's 
water quality criteria with current science and to ensure that 
increasingly protective pollutant levels in fish and ambient water are 
achieved at an aggressive pace until the protected use--fishable 
waters--is restored.
    Subjects on Which Comment is Expressly Solicited. Public comment is 
solicited on all aspects of the proposed rule. These include but are 
not limited to the assumptions applied in developing the criterion as 
set forth in a basis and background document that is available on the 
DRBC Web site, DRBC.net. Comment on the proposed Implementation 
Strategy for the new criterion, also posted on the Web site, is 
simultaneously requested.

    Dated: July 30, 2013.
Pamela M. Bush,
Commission Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2013-18810 Filed 8-2-13; 8:45 am]
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