Phosphorus Water Quality Standards for the Florida Everglades
EPA has finalized a rule to help protect the Florida Everglades by identifying the invalid provisions in the State of Florida’s Phosphorus Rule and the Everglades Forever Act that could have been used to delay the timeframe for meeting phosphorus water quality standards. EPA’s rule identifies the invalid provisions that did not meet requirements of the Clean Water Act by allowing a protracted compliance schedule and offering variances for phosphorus water quality standards. This EPA rulemaking w as required by an April 2010 federal court order. Should the State of Florida adopt the necessary changes to either the Everglades Forever Act or the Phosphorus Rule, EPA would withdraw this federal rule. Nutrient pollution, especially from excess phosphorus runoff from farms to the north, can be damaging to the Everglades ecosystem because it causes chemical and biological changes that degrade natural systems and harm native plants and wildlife. This rule ensures the State water quality standards are consistent with the Clean Water Act and supports implementation of the recent agreement between EPA and the State of Florida to move forward with restoring water quality in the Everglades.
In its final rule, the EPA concluded that the best approach was to identify, through incorporation by reference, those provisions of the Phosphorus Rule and EFA that EPA disapproved and are not applicable water quality standards for purposes of the CWA. The documents that the EPA will be incorporating by reference can be found below.
(1) Florida Administrative Code, Chapter 62-302, Surface Water Quality Standards, Section 62-302.540, Water Quality Standards for Phosphorus Within the Everglades Protection Area, Amended May 25, 2005, as annotated by EPA (April 26, 2011)
(2) Florida Statute, Title 28, Natural Resources; Conservation, Reclamation, and Use, Section 373.4592, Everglades improvement and management, effective July 1, 2008, also known as the "Everglades Forever Act," as annotated by EPA (April 26, 2011)
These same documents can also be found in the docket associated with this rulemaking:
(1) Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0515-0093
Florida Administrative Code, Chapter 62-302, Surface Water Quality Standards, Section 62-302.540, Water Quality Standards for Phosphorus Within the Everglades Protection Area, Amended May 25, 2005, as annotated by USEPA.
(2) Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0515-0094
Florida Stature, Title 28, Natural Resources; Conservation, Reclamation, and Use, Section 373.4592, Everglades Improvement and Management, Effective July 1, 2008, Also Known as the "Everglades Forever Act", as Annotated by USEPA.
The official public docket is the collection of materials that is available for public viewing at the Water Docket in the EPA Docket Center, (EPA/DC) EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460. Publicly available docket materials are available in hard copy at the EPA Docket Center Public Reading Room, open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744 and the telephone number for the Water docket is (202) 566-2426.
The documents can also be obtained from The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) by sending a request by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or by mail to the following address: Office of the Federal Register (NF), The National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001. More information about archiving.