U.S. EPA Issues Draft Bacteria Criteria Recommendations for Recreation

Author: Merritt Frey

Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a draft document detailing new recreational water quality criteria for bacteria. Comments on the draft document are due February 21, 2012.

The document contains EPA's draft recommendations for protecting human health in ambient waters that are designated for swimming and other forms of what the agency calls "primary contact recreation." The draft document guides the states' establishment of water quality criteria to protect people from illness caused by contact with bacteria in water while recreating. According to the Federal Register notice, the draft document changes the existing recommendations in the following ways:

"... the EPA introduces a new term, Statistical Threshold Value (STV), as a clarification and replacement for the term single sample maximum (SSM); there are no longer recommendations for different criteria values for beaches used with more or less frequency; the EPA introduces a rapid analytical technique for the detection of enterococci in recreational water; the EPA provides information on tools for assessing and managing recreational waters, such as predictive modeling, and for developing site-specific criteria."

To review the draft criteria and to submit comments, go directly to docket number EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0466 OR go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0466.)

For additional information about the draft Recreational Water Quality Criteria, visit U.S. EPA's web page on the new draft.

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