Posted: July 1, 2014
On June 30, 2014, the Water Permits Divison in EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management posted a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to the NPDES web site: http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/pathogenfaq.cfm
This set of FAQs provides an overview of NPDES permitting applicable to continuous dischargers (such as Publicly Owned Treatment Works) based on water quality standards for pathogens and pathogen indicators associated with fecal contamination.
These FAQs answer questions to help EPA, state, tribal and territorial NPDES permit writers understand implications of changes to state water quality standards based on the 2012 Recreational Water Quality Criteria (RWQC), published November 29, 2012.
The 2012 RWQC recommendations are for two bacterial indicators of fecal contamination - enterococci and E. coli. Section 304(a)(9) of the Clean Water Act directed EPA to publish new or revised water quality criteria recommendations for pathogens and pathogen indicators for the purpose of protecting human health. A pathogen indicator, as defined in section 502(23) of the CWA, is “a substance that indicates the potential for human infectious disease.” Most strains of enterococci and E. coli do not cause human illness (that is, they are not human pathogens); rather, they indicate the presence of fecal contamination.
If you have any questions regarding the FAQs, please contact David Hair [firstname.lastname@example.org] at 202-564-2287.