Friday, January 26, 2018

DEP Asks For Information On Adequacy, Impact Of New Manganese Water Quality Standard Required By Law

The Department of Environmental Protection published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking in the January 27 PA Bulletin requesting information on a water quality standard for manganese required by law in an amendment to the Administrative Code adopted in October.  The deadline for submitting information is February 26.
DEP said it will used the information received to “evaluate the adequacy of the existing manganese water quality criterion when the point of compliance is moved to the location of an existing or planned surface potable water supply withdrawal.”
The law changed the manganese standard to 1 milligram/liter with the point of compliance being at a water withdrawal point rather than the water discharge point.  
The 1 milligram/liter standard is 20 times the level of manganese water suppliers should have in their water supplies, according to EPA’s secondary maximum contaminant levels.
DEP said in the notice the current manganese standard has been in place since 1967.
The change was pushed in the General Assembly by the mining industry and opposed by drinking water suppliers.
The Department is seeking scientific and economic information to support the development of the required proposed regulations consistent with its duties under The Clean Streams Law (35 P.S. §§ 691.1—691.1001) and section 303 of the Federal Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C.A. § 1313) regarding water quality standards, and Commonwealth law requirements regarding the rulemaking process, including the Regulatory Review Act.
In particular, the Department will examine available scientific information to determine the need to develop manganese toxics criteria related to human health and aquatic life exposure, consistent with Chapter 16 (relating to water quality toxics management strategy—statement of policy).
In addition, the Department will evaluate available scientific information to review the adequacy of the existing manganese water quality standard for the PWS use.
Typically, the Department recommends a proposed rulemaking to the Board after it has collected sufficient information and data to prepare the necessary rulemaking documents to support the proposed rulemaking. In this instance, the proposed rulemaking is mandated by the amendment to section 1920-A of The Administrative Code of 1929 and must occur on an expedited schedule.
Therefore, the Department is using the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking process to collect any available scientific information as quickly as possible to prepare the rulemaking documents required by the Regulatory Review Act.
Manganese possesses toxic characteristics according to information available in the scientific literature and as described in the EPA Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) database.
Some studies suggest elevated levels of manganese may lead to neurological deficits in children, including poor school performance, impaired cognitive function, diminished memory, abnormal performance on neuro-behavioral tests, motor impairments, and increased oppositional or aggressive behavior and hyperactivity.
Manganese is toxic to most aquatic life including fish, freshwater mussels and aquatic insects. The concentrations necessary to induce lethal and sublethal effects appear to vary by species and life stage.
Studies on freshwater species have suggested, at least for some organisms, that relationships exist between toxicity and other water quality parameters such as temperature, hardness and pH. A manganese water quality standard to protect aquatic life does not currently exist in this Commonwealth
Written or electronic documents will be accepted by DEP.  Electronic documents may be submitted through DEP’s eComment system or sent by email to
Written documents should be sent to the Department of Environmental Protection, Policy Office, 400 Market Street, P.O. Box 2063, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2063.  
A subject heading must be included noting that the document is being submitted in response to the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Water Quality Standard for Manganese. A return name and address must be included in each letter or transmission. Documents will not be accepted by facsimile or voice mail.
Click Here for a copy of the formal notice which contains more information.

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