Department of Ecology Asks EPA to Delay Draft Update to Human Health Criteria

Published Aug 13, 2014

The Washington Department of Ecology has submitted formal written comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding EPA’s proposed updates to human health criteria for 94 chemicals under the Clean Water Act.  Ecology will take into consideration EPA’s draft updated material as preparation of the draft state rule continues.

Ecology has requested that EPA delay any update to the criteria pending its review of the EPA 2000 methodology for deriving human health criteria. The comment letter discloses that EPA advised state agencies in late June that it intends to start the process to review the EPA 2000 methodology within the next eight months. Ecology asserts that from a “resource standpoint for both EPA and the states, it would make more sense to conduct a major recommended criteria revision after the revisions to the methodology are completed.”

Ecology also questioned EPA’s assertion that criteria are based “solely on data and scientific judgments” pointing out that current EPA policy explicitly provides that criteria are to be based on science, science policy and risk management. Ecology has asked EPA to acknowledge the discretion of states in making risk management policy decisions. For more information, contact James Tupper at

  • To view information about EPA’s draft updated national recommended water quality criteria for human health, click here.