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DRBC To Hold Public Hearing On Water Quality Criteria Update For Delaware Estuary And Bay

For Immediate Release

September 13, 2010

(WEST TRENTON, N.J.) -- The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) will hold a public hearing on Thursday, September 23 to receive comments on a proposed rulemaking to update the commission’s water quality criteria for toxic pollutants in the Delaware Estuary and Bay.

The public hearing will be held at the DRBC’s office building on 25 State Police Drive in West Trenton, N.J. beginning at 2:30 p.m. and continuing until all those who wish to testify have the opportunity to do so. Those who wish to testify are encouraged to register in advance by phoning Paula Schmitt at 609-883-9500, ext. 224.

Written comments on the proposed rulemaking must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday, October 1, 2010, and may be submitted by e-mail to regs@drbc.state.nj.us or by mail to Regulations c/o Commission Secretary, DRBC, P.O. Box 7360, West Trenton, NJ 08628-0360. Comments may also be faxed to Regulations at 609-883-9522. In all cases, please include the commenter’s name, address, and affiliation in the comment and include “Water Quality Criteria” in the subject line.

The purpose of this proposed rulemaking is to update many of the commission’s water quality criteria for human health and aquatic life for toxic pollutants in the Delaware Estuary (DRBC Water Quality Zones 2 through 5) and to extend application of the criteria to the Delaware Bay (DRBC Water Quality Zone 6). The proposed changes will bring the commission’s criteria for toxic pollutants into conformity with current guidance published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and provide a more consistent regulatory framework for managing the tidal portion of the main stem Delaware River and Bay.

These updates were developed by the commission’s Toxics Advisory Committee, comprised of representatives of the four basin states – Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania – and members of the academic, agricultural, public health, industrial and municipal sectors, and non-governmental environmental community.

The amendments proposed in this rulemaking do not include changes to the commission’s criteria for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the Delaware Estuary and Bay. A separate rulemaking process to update the commission’s human health criteria for PCBs has been undertaken separately. As no final rule has yet been approved by the commission, the current PCB criteria remain in effect.

The full text of the proposed rule changes and related materials, as well as directions to the DRBC office building, can be viewed on the commission’s web site at www.drbc.net.

The DRBC was formed by compact in 1961 through legislation signed into law by President John F. Kennedy and the governors of the four basin states with land draining to the Delaware River. The passage of this compact marked the first time in our nation’s history that the federal government and a group of states joined together as equal partners in a river basin planning, development, and regulatory agency.


Contact: Kate O'Hara, DRBC, 609-883-9500 ext. 205, katharine.o'hara@drbc.state.nj.us