[Federal Register Volume 61, Number 75 (Wednesday, April 17, 1996)]
[Pages 16787-16788]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 96-9463]



Water Pollution Control; Program Modification Application by Utah 
to Administer the Sludge Management (Biosolids) Program

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice of application and public comment period.


SUMMARY: Pursuant to 40 CFR 123.62, the State of Utah has submitted to 
EPA an application to revise the existing Utah Pollutant Discharge 
Elimination System (UPDES) program to include administration and 
enforcement of the sludge management (biosolids) program. According to 
the State's proposal, this program would be administered by the Utah 
Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
    The application from Utah is complete and is available for 
inspection and copying. Public comments are requested.

DATES: Public comments are to be received or postmarked on or before 
May 17, 1996. If the EPA is under shutdown or furlough status, comments 
must be postmarked by 30 calendar days from the date of this notice and 
the deadline will not be extended.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Janet LaCombe at (303) 312-6287, State 
Assistance Program, (8P2-SA); U.S.E.P.A., Region VIII; 999 18th Street, 
Suite 500; Denver, CO 80202-2466.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 405 of the Clean Water Act (CWA), 33 
U.S.C. Section 1345, created the sludge management program, allowing 
EPA to issue permits for the disposal of sewage sludge under conditions 
required by the CWA. Section 405(c) of the CWA provides that a state 
may submit an application to EPA for administering its own program for 
issuing sewage sludge permits within its jurisdiction. EPA is required 
to approve each such submitted state program unless EPA determines that 
the program does not meet the requirements of Sections 304(i) and/or 
402(b) of the CWA or the EPA regulations implementing those sections.
    Utah's application for sludge management program approval contains 
a letter from the Governor requesting program approval, an Attorney 
General's Statement, copies of pertinent State statutes and 
regulations, amendments to the UPDES Program Description, and 
amendments to the UPDES/EPA Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) executed by 
the Regional Administrator, Region VIII, EPA, and the Director, 
Department of Environmental Quality.
    The State of Utah has existing environmental self-evaluation laws 
and rules (See Section 19-7-101 to 19-7-109, Utah Annotated Code; and 
S.B. 149 to revise Rule 508, Utah Rules of Evidence). These provide 
evidentiary privilege and limited immunity for certain disclosures made 
in an environmental self-evaluation. Title 19 provides that no 
privilege exists for documents or information specifically required by 
state law, or in any rules, permits, administrative orders, or any 
other provision or ordinance addressing protection of the environment. 
Utah has incorporated Federal sludge

[[Page 16788]]

management regulations by reference into its State rules. These rules 
require record keeping and reporting for certain technical monitoring 
and assessment, management practices, and certain certifications of 
compliance. Because these requirements and any requirements placed in a 
sludge permit would be excluded from the self-evaluation privilege, EPA 
believes that Utah has the authority necessary to administer the sludge 
management program to assure protection of public health and the 
environment, and invites comment on this issue.

Indian Reservations

    The proposed program modification does not extend to ``Indian 
Country'' as defined in 18 U.S.C. Section 1151, including lands within 
the exterior boundaries of the following Indian reservations located 
within or abutting the State of Utah:
    1. Goshute Indian Reservation
    2. Navajo Indian Reservation
    3. Northwestern Band of Shoshone Nation of Utah (Washakie) Indian 
    4. Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah Indian Reservation
    5. Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians of Utah Indian Reservation
    6. Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation
    7. Ute Mountain Indian Reservation
    The Agency is cognizant that the State of Utah and the United 
States Government differ as to the exact geographical extent of Indian 
Country within the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation and are 
currently litigating this question in Federal Court. Until that 
litigation is completed and this question is resolved, the Agency will 
enter into discussions with the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and 
Ouray Indian Reservation and the State of Utah to determine the best 
interim approach to managing this program in the disputed area. The 
Agency will notify the public of the outcome of these discussions.
    In excluding Indian Country from the scope of this proposed program 
modification, EPA is not making a determination that the State either 
has adequate jurisdiction or lacks jurisdiction over sources in Indian 
Country. Should the State of Utah choose to seek program approval 
within Indian Country, it may do so without prejudice. Before EPA would 
approve the State's program for any portion of Indian Country, EPA 
would have to be satisfied that the State has authority, either 
pursuant to explicit Congressional authorization or applicable 
principles of Federal Indian law, to enforce its laws against existing 
and potential pollution sources within any geographical area for which 
it seeks program approval and that such approval would constitute sound 
administrative practice.
    There are no EPA-issued sludge management permits for facilities or 
activities on Indian Country at this time.

Availability of State Submittal

    Utah's submittal may be reviewed by the public from 8:00 a.m. to 
4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, at the Utah 
Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Water Quality, 
Permitting and Compliance Section; 288 North 1460 West; Salt Lake City, 
Utah or at the EPA Regional Office in Denver at the address appearing 
earlier in this notice. Requests for copies should be addressed to Lisa 
Rogers, Utah Department of Environmental Quality at the address 
provided above or at telephone number (801) 538-6146.

Public Notice Procedures

    Copies of all submitted statements and documents shall become a 
part of the record submitted to EPA. All comments or objections 
presented in writing and postmarked within 30 days of this notice to 
EPA Region VIII will be considered by EPA before it takes final action 
on Utah's request for program modification approval.
    All written comments and questions regarding the sludge management 
program should be addressed to Janet LaCombe at the above address.
    The public is also encouraged to bring the foregoing to the 
attention of persons who may be interested in this matter.

EPA'S Decision

    After the close of the public comment period, EPA will decide 
whether to approve or disapprove Utah's sludge management program. The 
decision will be based on the requirements of Sections 405, 402 and 
304(i) of the CWA and EPA regulations promulgated thereunder.
    If the Utah program modifications are approved, EPA will so notify 
the State. Notice will be published in the Federal Register and, as of 
the date of program approval, EPA will suspend issuance of NPDES sludge 
management permits in Utah (except, as discussed above, for those 
dischargers in ``Indian Country''). The State's program will operate in 
lieu of the EPA-administered program. However, EPA will retain the 
right, among other things, to object to NPDES permits proposed to be 
issued by Utah and to take enforcement actions for violations, as 
allowed by the CWA.
    If EPA disapproves Utah's sludge management program, EPA will 
notify the State of the reasons for disapproval and of any revisions or 
modifications to the State program that are necessary to obtain 

Review Under Regulatory Flexibility Act and Executive Order 12291

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, EPA is required to prepare a 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for all rules that may have a 
significant impact on a substantial number of entities. The proposed 
approval of the Utah sludge management program does not alter the 
regulatory control over any industrial category. No new substantive 
requirements are established by this action. Therefore, because this 
notice does not have a significant impact on a substantial number of 
small entities, a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is not needed.
    The Office of Management and Budget has exempted this rule from the 
requirements of section 3 of Executive Order 12291.

    Dated: April 9, 1996.
Patricia D. Hull,
Acting Regional Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency, Region 
[FR Doc. 96-9463 Filed 4-16-96; 8:45 am]