DRIPS & DROPLETS
Regulatory Update: State and
Federal Regulators on the Move
By Rick Zimmer
AS WE MOVE INTO THE FALL SEASON, THERE ARE A NUM-ber
of state and federal regulations in progress or in the works.
Below is a summary of updates on key topics.
SSS Hexavalent Chromium
THE CALIFORNIA STATE WATER RESOURCE CONTROL Board
(SWRCB) established a 10 parts per billion (ppb) hexavalent
chromium (Cr6) maximum contaminant level (MCL) in 2016.
Subsequent court actions vacated the MCL on May 31, 2017 on the
basis that the regulation failed to properly consider and adequately
document the economic feasibility of complying with the new MCL.
It should be noted that the court was silent concerning whether or not
the new MCL adequately protected public health. SWRCB declined
to appeal the court’s action to vacate the Cr6 MCL, and on August
1, 2017 adopted a resolution to remove the MCL language from
Title 22 regulation effective in September, 2017. A new rulemaking
process for Cr6 will now be undertaken, with consideration given
to the recent updates to the Office of Environmental Health Hazard
Assessment (OEHHA)’s Public Health Goal (PHG), new studies
validating treatment and disposal alternatives, and economic
feasibility. It is anticipated that a new Cr6 MCL will be proposed
within the next two years.
With the vacated MCL, any Cr6 compliance plans will no lon-ger
be enforced. Any water system that has implemented Cr6 treat-ment
is encouraged, but not required to comply with any established
treatment plant permits. To assist water systems in understanding
the implications of the vacated MCL, SWRCB will soon post a FAQs
document on its website to provide clarity on compliance.
THE CURRENT MCL FOR PERCHLORATE IS 6 PPB and the
Detection Limit for Purposes of Reporting (DLR) is 4 ppb. A
total of 57 water systems in California are treating for perchlorate.
In 2015, OEHHA updated the PHG for perchlorate to 1 ppb.
Whenever a PHG is established or updated, SWRCB is required
to review the MCL. On July 5, 2017, it adopted a two-step
process for perchlorate. First, it will engage and collaborate with
stakeholders and water systems to establish a new DLR. Second,
a data gathering effort (incorporated into routine compliance) will
be conducted to evaluate occurrence at the new DLR. The entire