Monday, November 28, 2022

DEP Withdraws Final Manganese Water Quality Standard Regulation Ending Rulemaking; Existing Standard Remains In Place

On November 18, the Department of Environmental Protection formally notified the Independent Regulatory Review Commission
it was withdrawing the final regulation changing the water quality standard for manganese, ending the rulemaking process.

On October 11, the IRRC voted to 4 to 1 to disapprove the regulation saying in part DEP did not comply with the intent of Act 40 of 2017 to promulgate a regulation to both change the standard for manganese to 1 milligram/liter under 25 Pa Code Chapter 93.7 and change the point of compliance from the point pollution enters a stream to the point where it is taken out by a water user (25 Pa Code Chapter 96.3).  Read more here.

The 1 milligram/liter standard is 20 times EPA’s secondary maximum contaminant standard for manganese of 0.05 milligrams/liter for drinking water supplies. Read more here.

Current science shows manganese is harmful to human health as a possible nervous system toxin with implications to early childhood development at levels that are less than the threshold levels that impact aquatic life.

The EQB proposed a new numeric human health criterion for manganese of 0.3 mg/L in Chapter 93.8 - Water Quality Criteria For Toxic Substances, and would delete the existing 1 mg/L standard because it is not protective of human health.

The EQB regulation would have also made the point of compliance the point pollution enters a stream.

The last minute change in law was made without any notice in a budget-related bill that was a favor to the coal industry and shifts the burden for treating manganese discharges from mine sites and other sources from those who pollute the water to those using the water, like public water suppliers.

The change in law swept away 28 years of environmental protection for Pennsylvania waterways impacted by the consequences of acid mine drainage, and imposed additional testing, monitoring and treatment at public water supply operations along these waterways.

Local government groups, drinking water suppliers and many other groups opposed the last minute amendment, which Republican legislators ignored. Read More here.

DEP originally said it complied with Act 40 of 2017 by including what the law required at the proposed rulemaking stage of this regulation.

Republicans on both the Senate and House Environmental Resources and Energy Committees disapproved of the regulation, as did the Senate and House Republican leadership.


Ending the rulemaking process means there is no change in the existing manganese standard or the point of compliance because Act 40 of 2017 directed DEP to promulgate a regulation to make those changes, the law did not make those changes.

Click Here for a copy of DEP’s withdrawal letter.

For more information, visit the Environmental Quality Board webpage. Questions should be directed to Laura Griffin,, 717-772-3277.

Related Articles:

-- IRRC Sends Order Laying Out Formal Reasons For Disapproving The Final EQB Manganese Reg; EQB/DEP Now Have 40 Days To Decide How To Proceed

-- IRRC Votes 4 To 1 To Disapprove A Final Manganese Water Quality Standard Regulation DEP Said Would Protect Public Health

-- Republicans On Senate Committee OK Letter To IRRC Disapproving A Final Manganese Water Quality Standard Protecting Public Health

-- EQB Approves Final Reg. Setting Manganese Toxics Water Quality Standard, RACT For Major Sources Of Nitrogen Oxides

[Posted: November 28, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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