Partner Michael Campbell was a participant in a September 2014 panel discussion organized by the Environmental Law Institute, later transcribed and published by the Environmental Law Reporter titled “Key Issues in Setting Water Quality Standards.” The panelists discussed how Idaho, Oregon, Washington and other states are considering changes to their water quality standards (WQS) as a result of higher rates of fish consumption. The changes would be intended to address health risks to persons who eat relatively large amounts of fish and shellfish that may be contaminated with toxic substances.
The panelists met to discuss such issues as key issues in setting WQS; how a state should calculate the amount of fish its citizens eat; the relative roles of EPA, states, the public, and industry in ensuring that state WQS protect all populations; and the effect on industry discharge permits as a result of new WQS.
Campbell addressed the effects of changes to the WQS on water quality and for industrial dischargers, using Oregon as an example of a state that adopted more stringent standards. Campbell concluded that the new Oregon standards have had little effect so far, in part because pollutants for which the standards were lowered do not primarily come from regulated sources and because the analytic detection limits for many pollutants are higher than the standards.
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“Key Issues in Setting Water Quality Standards” was published by the Environmental Law Reporter, March 2015.