Oregon adopts strict water quality regime

Last week the State of Oregon adopted a new regime for protecting the health of humans who consume fish and shellfish from State waters. Previously, health standards were based on a daily consumption of 17.5 grams of fish and shellfish. The new regime increases the consumption level to 175 grams per day, seeking to protect the health of people who consume Oregon fish and shellfish as a major source of protein.

The rules, which are based on concentrations of persistent bioaccumulative toxic substances (PBTs) in the water and in the fish and shellfish, are likely to impact both point and non-point discharge (point = industrial pipes and sewage treatment plants and non-point = runoff, including agriculture and forestry, contaminated sites, and airborne) of a range of toxic substances including methylmercury (from the burning of fossil fuels), bis (2-ethylexyl) phthalate (a plasticizer), benzo (a) pyrene, chlordane, toxaphene, dioxin, PCBs, and the pesticides aldrin and DDT. The rules in fact cover a much wider range of substances but the state has identified those on this list as among those in discharges which will be affected by the new rules.

The environmental press is touting these new regulations, which still require US Environmental Protection Agency approval, as the most strict in the United States.

Extensive detail and documentation on the new rules is available at http://www.deq.state.or.us/wq/standards/humanhealthrule.htm

Readers who may be affected directly or indirectly by the new rules are encouraged to consult with Oregon Department of Environmental Quality or a lawyer with knowledge of this state’s rules. While measures are in place to ensure accuracy, Gallondaily is not responsible for the content or accuracy of information provided in this daily summary.

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