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USEPA Announces Water Quality Standards Variance Building ToolNew Department of Environmental Quality to Oversee North Dakota's Environmental RegulationsChallenge Your Utility Customers to Imagine a Day Without Water on Oct. 12

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USEPA Announces Water Quality Standards Variance Building Tool

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) released a new Water Quality Standards (WQS) Variance Building Tool. The WQS Variance Building Tool was created to help States, territories, and authorized Tribes determine whether a WQS variance is an appropriate tool for each situation and helps entities navigate the variance requirements listed under 40 CFR Part 131.14.  The tool also helps determine what a legally binding WQS variance would look like and what additional information must be documented and submitted to USEPA to support the WQS variance.

The draft regulatory language that results from the use of the tool is intended as a regulatory framework for the State, territory, or authorized Tribe to use as a starting point when drafting a legally binding WQS variance. States, territories, and authorized tribes may tailor the draft regulatory language to include additional information that more accurately captures the case-specific facts of the individual WQS variance or fits a desired format as long as all Federal requirements are met. The final regulatory language and all necessary supporting documentation can then be adopted and submitted to EPA for Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 303(c) review.

The USEPA indicates that the use of the tool and any draft regulatory language that results from its use does not guarantee USEPA approval. Further, the USEPA says WQS variances for waters discharging to the Great Lakes System are also subject to the requirements of 40 CFR Part 132, and notes the more stringent regulation applies in situations where the regulations overlap.

Click here to access the USEPA website for additional information about its WQS Variance Building Tool.