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EPA Proposes Water Quality Standards for a Segment of Five Mile Creek in Alabama.

Business Editors/Environment Writers

ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 23, 2002

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has proposed water quality standards that establish a designated use of Fish & Wildlife for the segment of Five Mile Creek from Newfound Creek to Ketona in the State of Alabama.

EPA is proposing this new designated use to ensure protection for aquatic life and recreation in and on the water. This upgrade will require Alabama to protect this segment for fish and wildlife. Facilities discharging into Five Mile Creek may need to upgrade their pollution control measures to achieve the Fish & Wildlife designated use, but they have discretion in the measures they use.

Upgrading the designated use of this segment of Five Mile Creek produces important environmental and public health benefits that protects so that fish and wildlife can thrive. Also, the Fish & Wildlife designation will make possible safe outdoor swimming and other whole body water-contact sports during the summer.

This action was taken, due to a consent decree EPA signed with the Alabama Rivers Alliance and Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation requiring EPA to propose a federal use designation for this stream segment (among others) or withdraw its disapproval by October 15, 2002. This action, along with EPA's approval of the state's revisions to the remaining streams' designated uses, fulfills that commitment. If Alabama revises its water quality standards and upgrades the use designation of this stream segment from Agricultural & Industrial Water Supply to Fish & Wildlife, the Agency will not publish a final federal use designation. If Alabama makes the necessary changes after EPA promulgates this rule, EPA will withdraw the federal use designation.

EPA's water quality standards regulations require states to designate uses for all water bodies within their jurisdiction. Designated uses determine what water quality criteria apply to specific water bodies. EPA's regulations interpret the Clean Water Act's goal of "... water quality which provides for the protection and propagation of fish, shellfish, and wildlife and recreation in and on the water ..." by requiring that water quality standards provide for "fishable/swimmable" uses unless they have been shown to be unattainable. When the Agency disapproves a state or tribal water quality standard, and the state or tribe does not make appropriate changes, EPA's Administrator must propose and promulgate revised standards.

The public is invited to comment on the proposed water quality standards when it is published in the Federal Register Wednesday, October 23, 2002. The comment period will extend for 60 days from the date of publication. The comments will be reviewed by EPA's Region 4 (Atlanta) and a final Federal Register notice addressing all comments and announcing a final decision will then be issued.

The material can be viewed in the official public docket from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, at EPA Region 4, Water Management Division, Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center, 61 Forsyth Street, SW Atlanta, 30303-3104. Ask for Proposed Water Quality Standards for Alabama OW-2002-0023.

The document also can be found on the EPA web site at http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/ or use EPA's E-DOCKETS at http://www.epa.gov/edocket/ to submit or view public comments. Refer to the Federal Register notice for instructions on submitting comments.

EPA will hold a public hearing on this proposal on December 12th from 2 to 5 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Sheraton Birmingham, 2101 Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard North, Birmingham, Alabama.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Oct 23, 2002
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