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Scientific Workshops and Research

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November 2011 Avian Expert Workshop

EPA held an experts workshop in fall 2011 to evaluate the state-of-knowledge on the risks that avian and other wildlife fecal pollution pose to human health in U.S. recreational waters. Workshop participants also discussed the tools and data needed for evaluating those risks. Twenty-six experts from the United States and Canada participated in the workshop, representing multiple U.S. federal agencies (including the EPA), state and local government, a public research agency, academia, and consultants. The EPA held this meeting as part of a 2008 settlement agreement with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), and Los Angeles County.

The settlement agreement also requires that, by December 15, 2012, EPA evaluate whether any of the studies identified during the workshop should be performed to help EPA improve our understanding of human health risks for any future recreational water quality criteria revision. There were no specific studies identified by the workshop experts.

February 2009 Inland Waters Expert Scientific Workshop

In February 2009 WERF hosted and EPA supported an experts workshop on inland waters in order to obtain expert input on research and analyses that could be initiated and completed by December 2010 to support the applicability of EPA's new recreational criteria to flowing fresh waters and lakes; and what longer-term research should be pursued to gain a better understanding of the health risks from recreating in inland waters as compared to marine coastal or Great Lakes waters. WERF has published a report that summarizes the proceedings and findings.

March 2007 Expert Workshop for Input on New Recreational Water Quality Criteria

EPA's March 2007 Experts Scientific Workshop was a forum for discussion of critical research and science needs for developing new or revised recreational ambient water quality criteria. The Report of the Experts Scientific Workshop summarizes the discussion of the scientific and technical panels.

Critical Path Science Plan

The Critical Science Plan describes the overall research goals, key science questions associated with data gaps in the existing science, and the studies that EPA intends to conduct or support to develop new or revised water quality criteria for pathogens and pathogen indicators.

The Critical Path Science Plan was informed, in part, by the input on the essential research and science needs identified by 43 international and U.S. experts from academia, States, public interest groups, EPA and other federal agencies who attended a scientific workshop held by EPA in March 2007. EPA sponsored the workshop to get individual input from the greater scientific and technical community on the near-term research and science needs to develop new or revised Clean Water Act Section 304(a) criteria. All of the research activities included in the Critical Path Science Plan were identified in the Experts Report as high priority. EPA further prioritized the research activities identified by the experts so as to focus on only the studies that EPA believed could be designed, conducted and effectively incorporated into the development and publication of new or revised criteria within a reasonable time frame.

The projects and activities below represent high priority research and science that EPA conducted to establish the scientific foundation for the development of new or revised recreational water quality criteria recommendations. Full descriptions of each project and others can be found in the Critical Path Science Plan.

Epidemiological studies below were part of the National Epidemiological and Environmental Assessment of Recreational Water (NEEAR).

* Projects were not completed due to contingencies identified in the Settlement Agreement.

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