Proposed Information Collection Request for Water Quality Standards Regulation (Renewal)

Published date05 June 2024
Record Number2024-12302
Citation89 FR 48163
CourtEnvironmental Protection Agency
SectionNotices
Federal Register, Volume 89 Issue 109 (Wednesday, June 5, 2024)
[Federal Register Volume 89, Number 109 (Wednesday, June 5, 2024)]
                [Notices]
                [Pages 48163-48164]
                From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
                [FR Doc No: 2024-12302]
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                ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
                [EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0465; FRL-12012-01-OW]
                Proposed Information Collection Request for Water Quality
                Standards Regulation (Renewal)
                AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
                ACTION: Notice.
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                SUMMARY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning to
                submit an information collection request (ICR), ``Water Quality
                Standards Regulation (Renewal)'' (EPA ICR No. 0988.16, OMB Control No.
                2040-0049) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and
                approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act. Before doing
                so, the EPA is soliciting public comments on specific aspects of the
                proposed information collection as described below. This ICR renews the
                Water Quality Standards (WQS) Regulation ICR, which is currently
                approved through February 28, 2025. An agency may not conduct, or
                sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of
                information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.
                DATES: Comments must be submitted on or before August 5, 2024.
                ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, referencing Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-
                2011-0465, online using www.regulations.gov (our preferred method), by
                email to [email protected], or by mail to: EPA Docket Center,
                Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania
                Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20460.
                 EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the
                public docket without change including any personal information
                provided unless the comment includes profanity, threats, information
                claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other
                information whose disclosure is restricted by statute.
                FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kendall Scarlett, Office of Water,
                Office of Science and Technology, Standards and Health Protection
                Division, (4305T), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania
                Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: 202-564-1465; email
                address: [email protected].
                SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Supporting documents which explain in detail
                the information that the EPA would be collecting are available in the
                public docket for this Information Collection Request (ICR) (Docket ID
                No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0465). The docket can be viewed online at
                www.regulations.gov or in person at the EPA Docket Center, WJC West,
                Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC. The telephone
                number for the Docket Center is 202-566-1744. For additional
                information about the EPA's public docket, visit http://www.epa.gov/dockets.
                 Pursuant to section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the Paperwork Reduction Act
                (PRA), the EPA is soliciting comments and information to enable it to:
                (i) evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is
                necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency,
                including whether the information will have practical utility; (ii)
                evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the
                proposed collection of information, including the validity of the
                methodology and assumptions used; (iii) enhance the quality, utility,
                and clarity of the information to be collected; and, (iv) minimize the
                burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond,
                including through the use of appropriate automated electronic,
                mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms
                of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of
                responses. The EPA will consider the comments received and amend the
                proposed WQS Regulation ICR as appropriate. The final WQS Regulation
                ICR package will then be submitted to OMB for review and approval. At
                that time, the EPA will issue another Federal Register notice to
                announce the submission of the WQS Regulation ICR to OMB and the
                opportunity to submit additional comments to OMB.
                 Abstract: Water quality standards (WQS) under the Clean Water Act
                (hereafter referred to as ``the Act'') are provisions of State,\1\
                Tribal,\2\ or Federal law which consist of designated uses for waters
                of the United States, water quality criteria to protect those uses, and
                antidegradation requirements. WQS are established to protect public
                health or welfare, protect and enhance the quality of water, and serve
                the purposes of the Act. Such standards serve the dual purposes of
                establishing the water quality goals for water bodies and serving as
                the regulatory basis for the establishment of water quality-based
                treatment controls and strategies beyond technology-based levels of
                treatment required by sections 301(b) and 306 of the Act. The WQS
                regulation, consisting of 40 CFR part 131, establishes the framework
                for states and authorized Tribes to adopt standards, and for the EPA to
                review and approve or disapprove them.
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                 \1\ ``States'' in the EPA's WQS Regulation and in this document
                includes the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the
                Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and
                the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
                 \2\ ``Tribes'' in this document refers to federally recognized
                Tribes and ``authorized Tribes'' refers to those federally
                recognized Indian Tribes with authority to administer a CWA WQS
                program.
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                 This ICR renews the WQS Regulation ICR, OMB control no. 2040-0049,
                expiration date February 28, 2025. This ICR renewal describes the
                estimated burden for states and authorized Tribes associated with the
                information collections to implement the requirements of 40 CFR part
                131 (Water Quality Standards) and required to obtain or retain benefits
                (e.g., relaxed regulatory requirements) under the WQS regulation. This
                WQS Regulation ICR also covers periodic requests for voluntary WQS
                information from states and Tribes to ensure efficient and effective
                administration of the WQS
                [[Page 48164]]
                program and further cooperative federalism.
                 At this time, the EPA is working to consolidate the two burden
                estimates of the activities that were previously split 50/50 between
                this WQS Regulation ICR and a separate NPDES Program ICR, OMB Control
                Number 2040-0004. These activities are the Great Lakes Antidegradation
                Demonstrations and Great Lakes Regulatory Relief Requests. The EPA
                anticipates that by the time this WQS Regulation ICR renewal is
                finalized, the full reporting burden for both activities would have
                been transferred and consolidated within the NPDES Program ICR.
                Therefore, the EPA is not reporting burden estimates for these two
                activities in this WQS Regulation ICR renewal.
                 Furthermore, this WQS Regulation ICR does not include estimates for
                the burden and costs of activities related to the changes to protect
                Tribal Reserved Rights the EPA made to the Water Quality Standards
                Regulation, 40 CFR part 131, effective on June 3, 2024 (see 89 FR
                35717, May 2, 2024). There is a separate ICR covering those additional
                activities to protect Tribal Reserved Rights, see OMB control number
                2040-0309, EPA ICR 2700.02.Given the uncertainties in the burden and
                costs estimates in that separate ICR, the EPA expects to revise the
                estimates based on experience gained from implementing the regulation
                changes to protect Tribal Reserved Rights. The EPA then expects to
                consolidate that revision of the burden and costs related to the
                additional activities to protect Tribal Reserved Rights into a future
                renewal of the WQS Regulation ICR. Therefore, in the future, the EPA
                anticipates having one WQS Regulation ICR that includes the current
                separate ICR for the additional activities to protect Tribal Reserved
                Rights.
                 Form Numbers: None.
                 Respondents/affected entities: Potential respondents to this ICR
                include: the 50 States, the District of Columbia, five territories,
                authorized Tribes with the EPA-approved water quality standards (49
                Tribes as of May 2024), and a total of 18 additional Tribal respondents
                over the three-year duration of the ICR. The total number of potential
                respondents is thus 123.
                 Respondent's obligation to respond: Some collections in this ICR
                are mandatory, some are required to obtain or retain benefits pursuant
                to the WQS Regulation, and some are voluntary.
                 Estimated number of respondents: 123.
                 Frequency of response: Variable (once every three years, on
                occasion or as necessary, or only once) depending on type of
                information collected.
                 Total estimated burden: 484,322 hours per year. Burden is defined
                at 5 CFR 1320.03(b).
                 Total estimated cost: $24,773,070 in labor costs and $345,180 in
                operations and maintenance costs per year. There are no annualized
                capital costs.
                 Change in estimates: An increase in 13,560 hours in estimated
                respondent burden compared with the currently approved ICR. The
                increase reflects the burden hours associated with the addition of
                three Tribal respondents for the information collections on
                ``Administering State and Tribal WQS'' and ``Voluntary WQS Program
                Information''. See Supporting Statement in the docket for more
                information.
                Deborah G. Nagle,
                Director, Office of Science and Technology, Office of Water.
                [FR Doc. 2024-12302 Filed 6-4-24; 8:45 am]
                BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
                

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