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Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking - Federal Baseline Water Quality Standards for Indian Reservations

On September 19, 2016, EPA Administrator signed an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) to invite comments on whether to establish federal baseline water quality standards (WQS) for Indian reservation waters that do not currently have Clean Water Act (CWA)-effective WQS in place, and if so, what those WQS should be and how they should be implemented. The ANPRM was published in the Federal Register on September 29, 2016.

Currently, fewer than 50 of over 300 tribes with reservation lands have WQS effective under the CWA, leaving a gap in CWA protection of human health and the environment. Federal baseline WQS - which could include designated uses, narrative and numeric criteria, antidegradation requirements, and other WQS policies such as a mixing zone policy, a compliance schedule authorizing provision, and a WQS variance procedure - can provide an important tool for tribes and EPA to use in making defensible, site-specific decisions that protect reservation waters.

The docket for this available rulemaking is available at Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2016-0405.

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EPA held two public webinars on the ANPRM during the public comment period to provide interested parties the opportunity to ask clarifying questions.

Pre-ANPRM Consultation and Coordination

Tribal Consultation and Coordination

EPA held two pre-ANPRM consultation and coordination periods with federally recognized Indian tribes concerning this Baseline WQS effort. From August through November 2015 and from June through August 2016, EPA consulted and coordinated with officials from more than 130 tribes from around the United States. For more information, refer to related materials:

Intergovernmental Association and State Outreach

On July 22, 2016 EPA invited input from intergovernmental associations and met with them on August 8, 2016 and September 1, 2016. For more information, refer to related materials and in the docket for this rulemaking.

Additional Information

If you have questions or comments, you may email Marylou Soscia ( or call (503) 326-5873.

To receive information updates by email, you may subscribe to EPA's list server forum WQSnews.

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