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Water Quality Standards: Establishment of a Numeric Criterion for Selenium for Fresh Waters in California


On November 29, 2018, EPA Acting Administrator Wheeler signed a proposed rule to revise the current federal Clean Water Act selenium water quality criterion applicable to certain fresh waters of California. This rule, Establishment of a Numeric Criterion for Selenium for the State of California, is being proposed to ensure that the criterion is set at a level that protects aquatic life and aquatic-dependent wildlife. The EPA promulgated California’s existing selenium criterion for certain fresh waters in 2000 as part of the California Toxics Rule, using the EPA’s recommended aquatic life chronic freshwater criterion value at the time. However, the latest science indicates that the existing criterion may not be protective of aquatic life and aquatic-dependent wildlife. 

Public Hearings

NOTE - Due to the government shutdown, the two online public hearings have been rescheduled as indicated below. 

The EPA is offering two online public hearings so that interested parties may provide oral comments on this proposed rule. The first public hearing will be on Tuesday, March 19th from 9 AM – 11 AM PT. The second public hearing will be on Wednesday, March 20th from 4 PM – 6 PM PT.

Following a brief presentation from the EPA, the Agency will accept oral comments that will be limited to three (3) minutes per commenter so each commenter has an opportunity to present his or her views. Commenters will also have the option to submit visual aids to accompany their oral comments. The hearings will be recorded and transcribed, and the EPA will consider all of the oral comments provided along with the written public comments submitted via the docket for this rulemaking (available at Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2018-0056).

For more details on the public hearing and a link to register, please visit:

After registering for the online hearing, a confirmation email will be sent to registrants to provide details on how to access the online hearing and submit visual aids to accompany oral comments. If you need any assistance with special accommodations, please contact Danielle Anderson at 202-564-1631 or no later than March 4, 2019.

Comments on the Proposal

The 60-day comment period for this proposal opened on December 13, 2018.  The EPA has extended this period to accept comments until March 28th, 2019. Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted at (Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2018-0056).

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