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Environmental Assessment

A Field-Based Aquatic Life Benchmark for Conductivity in Central Appalachian Streams (2010) (External Review Draft)

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Report Information

This report adapts the standard U.S. EPA methodology for deriving ambient water quality criteria. Rather than use toxicity test results, the adaptation uses field data to determine the loss of 5% of genera from streams. The method is applied to derive effect benchmarks for dissolved salts as measured by conductivity in Central Appalachian streams using data from West Virginia and Kentucky.

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Background

This report uses field data to derive an aquatic life benchmark for conductivity. This benchmark value may be applied to waters in the Appalachian Region that are dominated by salts of SO42- and HCO3- at circum neutral to mildly alkaline pH. This benchmark is intended to protect the biological integrity of waters in the region. It is derived by a method modeled on the U.S. EPA’s standard methodology for deriving water quality criteria. In particular, the methodology was adapted for use of field data. Field data were used because sufficient and appropriate laboratory data were not available and because high quality field data were available to relate conductivity to effects on biotic communities. This report provides scientific evidence for a conductivity benchmark in a specific region rather than for the entire United States.

History/Chronology

Apr 2010EPA released the draft report for public review and comment. [Federal Register April 12, 2010]
Jun 2010EPA extends the public review and comment period until July 13, 2010. [Federal Register Jun 1, 2010]
Jul 2010EPA's Science Advisory Board (SAB) Staff Office hosted a public meeting for the review of this draft report in Washington, DC. [Federal Register May 25, 2010]
Jul 2010EPA extends the public review and comment period until August 13, 2010. [Federal Register July 13, 2010]
Aug 2010EPA extends the public review and comment period until September 3, 2010. [Federal Register Aug 18, 2010]
Sep 2010SAB hosted the two public meeting teleconferences on October 20, 2010 and on October 26, 2010 for the review of this draft report in Washington, DC. [Federal Register Sep 15, 2010]
Jan 2011SAB hosted a Quality Review of an SAB panel draft report reviewing EPA's Draft Aquatic Life Benchmark for Conductivity in Central Appalachian Streams. [Federal Register Dec 27, 2010]
Mar 2011SAB released the final report, Review of Field-Based Aquatic Life Benchmark for Conductivity in Central Appalachian Streams. (PDF, 48 pp., 465,710 bytes)

Next Steps

Following the external peer review, the document will be revised and published as a final report.

Additional Information

Comments on this report may be submitted and reviewed using the e-Government Regulations.gov Web site. From the site, select Environmental Protection Agency and the keyword EPA-HQ-ORD-2009-0934 (for the docket ID) to comment on this report.

Citation

U.S. EPA. A Field-Based Aquatic Life Benchmark for Conductivity in Central Appalachian Streams (2010) (External Review Draft). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-10/023A, 2010.

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