Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

Questions or Comments:
execdir@tceq.texas.gov
You are here: Home / Agency / National Comments Directory / TCEQ National Comments Log - Comments Relating to Multimedia Issues

TCEQ National Comments Log - Comments Relating to Multimedia Issues

TCEQ national comments relating to multimedia issues.

See also: General Information on National Comments, Water Comments, Waste Comments, Air Comments

Date
Submitted
Short Title
04/13/12 Revising Underground Storage Tank Regulations--Revisions to Existing Requirements and New Requirements for Secondary Containment and Operator Training
04/02/12 Draft Integrated Science Assessment for Lead
01/19/12 6-Month Extension of Final Determination for the Proposed Listing of the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard as Endangered
11/04/11 Draft National Toxicology Program (NTP) Monograph on Health Effects of Low-Level Lead
01/14/11 Guidance on Planning, Implementing, Maintaining, and Enforcing Institutional Controls at Contaminated Sites
12/27/10 Draft Toxicological Review of Hexavalent Chromium
08/30/10 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Petitions to List Nine Species of Mussels from Texas
08/25/10 Draft Toxicological Review of Formaldehyde in Support of Summary Information on the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS)
07/29/10 Draft FY 2011-2015 Strategic Plan
07/07/10 Draft EPA’s Reanalysis of Key Issues Related to Dioxin Toxicity and Response to NAS Comments
03/26/10 Draft Toxicological Review of Inorganic Arsenic: In Support of the Summary Information on the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS)
04/30/09 Standard Data Elements for Reports under Section 1512 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
12/19/08 National Organic Program (NOP) - Access to Pasture (Livestock)
07/15/08 Bexar County Karst Invertebrates Draft Recovery Plan
07/15/08 Williamson County Regional Habitat Conservation Plan
04/02/08 National Program Managers Guidance FY 2009
09/04/07 Cross-Media Electronic Reporting Rule Deadline for Authorized Programs
04/26/07 National Program Managers Guidance FY 2008
06/15/06 Office of Management and Budget Proposed Risk Assessment Bulletin
04/17/06 EPA's Harmonization in Interspecies Extrapolation: Use of Body Weight3/4 as Default Method in Derivation of the Oral Reference Dose
11/11/05 EPA's Proposed Supplemental Environmental Project Policy
08/05/05 Guidance on NPDES Wet Weather and CAFO Inspection Reporting Changes, Other NPDES Inspection Reporting Changes, and PCS Data Entry and Software Changes
06/28/05 EPA Information Collection Request (ICR) for The Framework for the Review of State Enforcement Programs
06/09/05 ECOS Input to EPA FY 2007 Budget Development
04/01/05 2006 Update to EPA National Program Managers Guidance
02/10/05 Application for the National Environmental Education Advisory Council
12/02/04 Framework for State Program Review
11/30/04 Draft Guide to Analyzing Environmental Innovations
09/20/04 2005 Exchange Network Guidance
08/20/04 Federal Highway Administration and Texas Department of Transportation on I-69/Trans-Texas Corridor Study
03/31/04 National Program Managers (NPM) Proposed Guidance for Fiscal Year 2005
03/09/04 Revisions to Regulations Applicable to Permits Issued Under the Endangered Species Act
01/06/04 Small Local Government Compliance Assistance Policy
11/24/03 Texas Environmental Resource Stewards (TERS): Texas Ecological Assessment Protocol Results
09/10/03 Enforcement and Compliance Assurance National Program Priorities Planning Process for 2005-2007
08/15/03 Integrated Compliance Information System (ICIS) - NPDES Draft Detailed Design
07/18/03 Region 6 Draft Strategic Plan
07/11/03 State Innovative Grants
06/30/03 Prioritization of FY04 Interstate Technology Regulatory Council (ITRC) Five Year Program Plan
01/21/03 EPA Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) Website

 

 

DATE SUBMITTED: 04/13/12

SHORT TITLE: Revising Underground Storage Tank Regulations--Revisions to Existing Requirements and New Requirements for Secondary Containment and Operator Training

SUBMITTED TO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Office of Waste

STAFF CONTACT: Beth Seaton

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS:

Operator Training

    :

The TCEQ supports the EPA’s proposed requirements for operator training and has already implemented operator training requirements for UST owners and operators in the state of Texas. Additionally, the TCEQ suggests amending the definition for “Class B Operator” in 40 CFR Part 280, Section 280.12 to remove the term “day to day” responsibility and recommends the following definition: “Class B operator means the individual who ensures the implementation of applicable regulatory requirements established by the implementing agency.” The EPA’s proposed changes will likely require revisions to the existing TCEQ rule.

Secondary Containment

    :

The TCEQ has already implemented secondary containment and interstitial monitoring requirements for UST owners and operators and is therefore generally in support of the EPA’s proposal to add secondary containment and interstitial monitoring requirements for new and replaced tanks and piping in 40 CFR Part 280. Minor changes will have to be made to the TCEQ rules if the EPA’s proposed requirements are adopted.

Operation and Maintenance

    :

The EPA proposes to add requirements for periodic spill, overfill, secondary containment, and release detection testing along with periodic walkthrough inspections to prevent and detect releases. Specifically, the EPA proposes to make the following additions:

      1.

Walkthrough Inspections

    :

The EPA is proposing that owners and operators perform walkthrough inspections of their UST systems, at least once every 30 days. The TCEQ supports the EPA’s proposed requirements for walkthrough inspections, however the TCEQ suggests that some of the 30 day inspection requirements, such as those which involve removal of heavy manhole covers, may be burdensome for UST facility owners and operators and their personnel. The TCEQ further suggests that the walkthrough frequency might be sufficient at a 60 or 90 day interval. Changes to the TCEQ rules will have to be made if the EPA’s proposed requirements are adopted.

      2.

Spill Prevention Equipment Tests

    :

The EPA is proposing that owners and operators test spill prevention equipment at installation and at least once every 12 months for liquid tightness. The TCEQ generally supports the EPA’s proposed requirements for spill prevention equipment testing and suggests that alternative requirements to annual testing be considered. The EPA’s proposed requirements will likely require changes to TCEQ rules.

      3.

Overfill Prevention Equipment Tests

    :

The EPA is proposing that owners and operators test proper operation of overfill prevention equipment at installation and at least once every 3 years. The TCEQ does not object to the EPA’s proposed requirements for overfill prevention tests however the TCEQ suggests that alternatives to triennial testing be considered. Changes to the TCEQ rules will have to be made.

      4.

Secondary Containment Tests

    :

The EPA is proposing that owners and operators test secondary containment areas that use interstitial monitoring at least once every 3 years to ensure the interstitial area has integrity. The EPA proposes an exception to these tests for owners and operators that use specific continuous interstitial monitoring methods. The TCEQ does not object to the EPA’s proposed requirements for secondary containment testing. Changes to the TCEQ rules will have to be made.

      5.

Release Detection Equipment

    :

The EPA is proposing that owners and operators perform annual tests on electronic and mechanical components of their release detection equipment, including Line Leak Detectors (LLD), to ensure proper operation. In general, the TCEQ does not object to the EPA’s proposed requirements for annual testing, as specified. The TCEQ currently requires that LLDs be tested annually, however the TCEQ suggests that annual inspections for all other electronic and mechanical release detection equipment may be unnecessary. Additionally, the TCEQ suggests that the EPA’s proposal for requiring a probability of detection (Pd) of 0.95 and a probability of false alarm (Pfa) of 0.05 as applied to “Manual Tank Gauging” in 40 CFR Part 280, Section 280.40 may be impractical for owners and operators of UST systems. Changes to the TCEQ rules will have to be made.

Proposal to Remove Deferrals

    :

The EPA is proposing to remove the current deferral for UST systems storing fuel only for use by emergency power generators as well as field-constructed tanks (FCT), airport hydrant systems (AHS), and wastewater treatment tank systems. The EPA is also proposing to continue excluding from the UST regulation, wastewater treatment tank systems that are part of a wastewater treatment facility regulated under section 402 or 307(b) of the Clean Water Act. The EPA is also proposing to add to its rule docket a document clarifying airport hydrant system scenarios.

The TCEQ is in support of the EPA’s proposed changes and already regulates emergency power generator UST systems. The TCEQ generally supports the EPA’s decision to remove the deferrals for field-constructed tanks and airport hydrant systems. The TCEQ agrees that continuation of current exclusions for wastewater treatment tanks is appropriate, but feels that the proposed language regarding deferrals may be more restrictive that necessary. The TCEQ respectfully suggests that EPA consider utilizing language currently in effect in the TCEQ rules regarding partial exclusion of wastewater treatment tanks as a guide for its proposed deferral language. The TCEQ is also concerned that the EPA’s proposal to remove deferrals will increase the number of regulated facilities in Texas by approximately 2,000. This would require additional resources to be used for the investigation of these facilities under the Energy Act as well as all other types of investigations including installations, removals, and complaints. Changes will also have to be made to the TCEQ rules if the EPA’s proposed requirements are adopted. With regard to the document clarifying AHS scenarios, the TCEQ feels that this document is helpful but adds unnecessary complexity to the issue. The TCEQ respectfully suggests that EPA consider utilizing language currently in effect in the TCEQ rules which regulate airport hydrant systems in the same manner as other UST systems, except that automatic line leak detectors for pressurized lines in airport hydrant systems are not required.

Overfill Prevention Equipment Requirements

    :

The EPA is proposing to eliminate flow restrictors (ball float valves) in vent lines as an overfill prevention option for owners and operators. This change applies to both newly installed UST systems and to existing UST systems when overfill prevention equipment is replaced. The TCEQ does not object to the EPA’s proposed changes to eliminate flow restrictors as an overfill prevention option. Changes will have to be made to the TCEQ rules.

Internal Lining Requirements

    :

The EPA is proposing that owners and operators permanently close an UST that uses internal lining as the sole method of corrosion protection when certain conditions exist. The TCEQ does not object to the EPA’s proposed changes to internal lining requirements. The TCEQ rules currently prohibit internal lining as the sole method of corrosion protection. The EPA’s proposed requirements will likely not require changes to TCEQ rules.

Changes to Notification Requirements

    :

The EPA is proposing certain notification requirement changes to 40 CFR Part 280, Section 280.22. The TCEQ does not object to the EPA’s proposed changes to notification requirements. The TCEQ rules currently require these procedures. The EPA’s proposed requirements will not require changes to TCEQ rules.

Changes to Alternative Fuel and Compatibility Requirements

    :

The EPA is proposing certain changes to the compatibility requirements in 40 CFR, Part 280, Section 280.32. Additionally, the EPA is proposing changes to the following two definitions in Section 280.12: Regulated Substance and Motor Fuel. The TCEQ does not object to the EPA’s proposed changes to compatibility requirements and agrees that compatibility is an issue that needs to be addressed by the EPA. Additional guidance from the EPA with regards to owner/operator demonstration of compatibility will be beneficial. The TCEQ further suggests that the current definition of “Regulated Substance” in Section 280.12 is appropriate as is without eliminating the phrase “derived from crude oil through processes of separation, conversion, upgrading, and finishing.” The EPA’s proposed requirements will require changes to TCEQ rules.

Definition of Repair

    :

The EPA is proposing to revise the definition of “Repair” in Section 280.12 to clarify that all UST system components are included under the repairs allowed section of the UST regulations. Owners and operators will also be required to test (within 30 days) after a repair to secondary containment areas and spill or overfill equipment. The TCEQ supports the EPA’s proposed clarification of the definition of “Repair” and the proposed testing requirements. The TCEQ also offers, for consideration, its current definition of “Repair”: The restoration, renovation, or mending of a damaged or malfunctioning tank or underground storage tank system component. The EPA’s proposed requirements will require changes to TCEQ rules.

Proposal to Phase Out Vapor and Groundwater Monitoring

    :

The EPA is proposing to phase out vapor and groundwater monitoring as methods of release detection for tanks and piping. The TCEQ does not object to the EPA’s proposal to phase out vapor and groundwater monitoring, however the TCEQ suggests that vapor and groundwater monitoring are effective methods for leak detection when properly installed and utilized. Changes will have to be made to TCEQ rules if the EPA’s proposed requirements are adopted.

Clarifications Regarding Interstitial Monitoring Results and Alarms

    :

The EPA is proposing certain clarifications of UST owners’ and operators’ responsibilities regarding interstitial monitoring results including interstitial alarms. The TCEQ is in general agreement with the proposed clarifications regarding interstitial monitoring results and alarms. The EPA’s proposed requirements will require changes to TCEQ rules.

Incorporation of Newer Technologies

    :

The EPA is proposing to include new technologies developed since the 1988 UST regulations were promulgated and to clarify the use of these technologies. The TCEQ is in general agreement with the EPA’s proposal to include new technologies. The EPA’s proposed requirements will require changes to TCEQ rules.

Updates to Codes of Practice

    :

The EPA is proposing to add new codes of practice as well as update and remove codes of practice listed in the 1988 UST regulations that are no longer applicable or no longer exist. The EPA is proposing that PEI document RP 1200 (Recommended Practices for the Testing and Verification of Spill, Overfill, Leak Detection and Secondary Equipment at UST Facilities) could be used to comply with some of the requirements in EPA’s rule proposal.  The TCEQ is in agreement with the proposed changes to the codes of practice, including the addition of RP 1200. Minor changes to TCEQ rules will have to be made.

Removal of Old Upgrade and Implementation Deadlines

    :

The EPA is proposing to remove references to the 1998 upgrade deadline and old phase-in schedules, while continuing to allow testing of corrosion protection and release detection. The TCEQ is in agreement with the proposed changes to the old upgrade deadlines and phase-in schedules. Minor changes to TCEQ rules will have to be made.

Editorial and Technical Corrections

    :

The EPA is proposing specific editorial corrections to the 1998 regulations including spelling, numbering and other editorial corrections. Additionally, the EPA proposes to add guidance and interpretations it developed and implemented since the promulgation of the 1988 regulations. The TCEQ is in agreement with the EPA’s editorial corrections. Minor changes to TCEQ rules will be made as necessary.

Updates to State Program Approval Requirements

    :

The EPA is proposing to make changes to State Program Approval (SPA) regulations in 40 CFR Part 281 in order to address the proposed changes to the UST regulations in 40 CFR Part 280 and to make it consistent with certain requirements in Energy Policy Act of 2005. States with program approval will have 3 years to submit a revised SPA package. The TCEQ is in agreement with the EPA’s proposed updates to the SPA regulations. The TCEQ will need to submit a revised SPA application to EPA within three years of the effective date of the adopted EPA rule changes which incorporates said changes.

Return to Top

 

DATE SUBMITTED: 04/02/12

SHORT TITLE: Draft Integrated Science Assessment for Lead

SUBMITTED TO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Chief Engineer's Office

STAFF CONTACT: Stephanie Shirley, Ph.D.

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: The assessment of the health hazards associated with airborne lead (Pb) has significant regulatory implications. However, the 60-day comment period does not allow regulatory agencies and stakeholders to provide the most thorough and meaningful comments possible based on an in-depth review and analysis of the 1,467-page second draft ISA and plethora of associated citations. However, to the extent practicable in the short time allotted by EPA, TCEQ staff has identified significant concerns.

The draft ISA frequently lacks transparency and would benefit from a more specific and structured approach. There is frequent inclusion of studies that have examined Pb doses and/or modes of action that are not relevant to those potentially associated with low-dose human health effects. Furthermore, there is a failure to adequately describe uncertainties, biases and gaps in knowledge. This results in conclusions based on tenuous, speculative or poorly-characterized studies.

Inhalation of Pb in ambient air is a minor source of Pb exposure compared to exposure by other routes. Given current childhood Pb exposure through air is approximately 200 times less than normal intake from other sources (e.g., food, water, soil and dust) it is highly unlikely that significant risk reduction would result from more restrictive air regulations.

The potential contribution of blood lead levels to neurological endpoints, including IQ and ADHD, is minimal in comparison to the effect of other variables. Clearly, efforts must continue to minimize childhood Pb exposure; however these efforts should be seen in perspective. Lead exposure accounts for a very small proportion of cognitive ability (1-4%), whereas genetic, social and parenting factors account for 40% or more. The money spent attempting to comply with this overly-stringent NAAQS would be better spent in other areas.

Return to Top

 

DATE SUBMITTED: 01/19/12

SHORT TITLE: 6-Month Extension of Final Determination for the Proposed Listing of the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard as Endangered

SUBMITTED TO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Office of Water

STAFF CONTACT: Kimberly Wilson

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: Due to the dispute regarding the data to support a listing and the potential impact to the oil and gas and agricultural sectors in Texas, TCEQ submits comments on the inadequacy/inaccuracy of the data available to support an endangered listing, as noted by researchers engaged in the peer review of this listing at Texas Tech University, New Mexico State University, and Texas A&M University. Additionally, the comments cite voluntary conservation activities and recommend that voluntary conservation strategies be afforded the opportunity to be adequately evaluated.

Return to Top

 

DATE SUBMITTED: 11/04/11

SHORT TITLE: Draft National Toxicology Program (NTP) Monograph on Health Effects of Low-Level Lead

SUBMITTED TO: U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services (DHHS)

OFFICE PREPARING: Chief Engineer’s Office

STAFF CONTACT: Gulan Sun

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: The TCEQ feels that some key studies utilized by the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services (DHHS) in the Draft NTP Monograph are inadequate to demonstrate sufficient evidence of an association between low blood Pb levels (< 5 μg/dL) in children and decreased academic achievement, specific cognitive measures, and increased incidence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Neurological effects such as intelligence quotient (IQ) loss or poor academic performance depend on a variety of factors which may not be appropriately adjusted for in relevant studies, such as parental IQ, socioeconomic status, parent education, and alcohol/drug use. Consequently, when the health outcomes of concern have complex etiologies and important confounders are difficult to obtain data on and adjust for, as with Pb, a scientifically defensible and accurate dose-response assessment is unlikely.

The DHHS should acknowledge that: (1) the dramatic decreases in children’s blood Pb levels are inconsistent with the suggestion that Pb is an appreciable causal factor in the increased frequency of ADHD (i.e., significant decreases in child Pb exposure are inconsistent with increases in the prevalence of ADHD); (2) their analysis of concurrent blood Pb levels failed to support the conclusion that blood Pb levels <5 μg/dL are associated with decreased renal function and blood Pb levels <10 μg/dL are associated with increased blood pressure, hypertension, and cardiovascular-related mortality in adults; and (3) health effects in adults today may have been influenced by blood Pb levels >10 μg/dL that many individuals experienced earlier in life when lead was present in gasoline, paint, etc.

Return to Top

DATE SUBMITTED: 01/14/11

SHORT TITLE:Guidance on Planning, Implementing, Maintaining, and Enforcing Institutional Controls at Contaminated Sites

SUBMITTED TO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Chief Engineer’s Office

STAFF CONTACT: Paul Lewis

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: The TCEQ developed numerous comments from the perspective of its experience with Institutional Controls (IC) presented in 3 groups: general, specific sections, and editorial. In general, TCEQ has been successful with its rules and guidance for IC implementation and recommends EPA add state regulations as an authority for ICs. Other generalities in the document that might not work in Texas include: transfer of an interest in real property to TCEQ; program constraints (procedures or volumes of sites) preclude full utilization of the guidance; assurance for stewardship at CERCLA fund-lead sites without landowner consent for a restrictive covenant; and, delay by federal facilities to file ICs on federal land.

Return to Top

DATE SUBMITTED: 12/27/10

SHORT TITLE: Draft Toxicological Review of Hexavalent Chromium

SUBMITTED TO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Chief Engineer’s Office

STAFF CONTACT: Joseph “Kip” Haney

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: The 90-day EPA comment period is inadequate for regulatory agencies and others to provide the most thorough and meaningful comments based on an in-depth review and analysis of the derivation of the draft SFo. The comment deadline should be extended at least 30 days past the current December 29 deadline to allow stakeholders to perform a more detailed review of the volumes of relevant information and to comment on problematic issues associated with the 300-page draft analysis. However, to the extent practicable in the relatively short time allotted by EPA, TCEQ staff have identified significant concerns.

Along with the draft CrVI assessment, TCEQ is concerned that recent draft EPA assessments (e.g., dioxin, arsenic, formaldehyde) seem to demonstrate a pattern where the EPA timeline is sufficient for a less-than-desirable level of initial EPA analysis but insufficient for EPA to conduct the fully credible, balanced, and transparent assessment the public deserves. This may tend to marginalize EPA over time in terms of a reliable source for scientifically objective and defensible toxicity factors since EPA assessments often rely heavily on a penchant for default procedures representing a seemingly nonobjective and insurmountable hurdle for strongly supported alternative analyses. EPA should apply consistent standards across and within assessments and not apply a higher standard for the scientific defensibility of data which do not support a default or pre-determined EPA assessment pathway.

Regarding CrVI specifically, EPA should not finalize the draft CrVI SFo until they adequately address several significant scientific concerns, which include: (1) EPA’s conclusion that mutagenicity (and consequently carcinogenicity) can occur at doses within gastrointestinal (GI) reductive capacity relied on an entirely speculative mouse reductive capacity, flawed arguments, and is not scientifically sound; (2) available data support that overwhelming the reductive capacity of the mouse GI tract (e.g., the stomach’s ability to convert carcinogenic CrVI into non-carcinogenic CrIII) was likely responsible for the carcinogenicity observed, which presents challenges for EPA’s use of linear, low-dose extrapolation; (3) the mouse and rat cancers are of questionable relevance to humans; (4) epidemiological worker data where oral exposure was significant do not support elevated GI cancer risk; (5) the high rodent drinking water doses are not environmentally relevant; (6) species- and dose-specific differences in bioavailability are likely; and, (7) there are interspecies scaling uncertainties.

Regarding practical implications, for example, using the draft SFo value would result in significantly lower (≥ 10-fold) remediation soil cleanup concentrations within the range of chromium background. Also, the drinking water MCL could be lowered significantly (≈10- to 1,000-fold), potentially to a concentration below analytical detection limits and the ability of existing practical drinking water treatment technologies. Lastly, EPA should postpone finalizing the draft assessment since the generation of new data critical to addressing important data gaps is imminent, then revise the draft assessment as justified based on these new data as opposed to simply interjecting some level of uncertainty deemed sufficient by EPA for ignoring study results.

Return to Top

DATE SUBMITTED: 08/30/10

SHORT TITLE: Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Petitions to List Nine Species of Mussels from Texas

SUBMITTED TO: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS)

OFFICE PREPARING: Office of Water

STAFF CONTACT: Kelly Keel

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: TCEQ recommends USFWS not move forward with an endangered or threatened species listing for the nine mussels based on two concerns: 1. Lack of Data: TCEQ’s preliminary assessment suggests that the data might be insufficient to adequately characterize current ranges and population sizes. 2. Vast Implications of Listing: The addition of several of the mussels under review could greatly expand the current geographic scope of regulatory evaluations and have serious impacts on water quality management programs in Texas.

Return to Top

DATE SUBMITTED: 08/25/10

SHORT TITLE: Draft Toxicological Review of Formaldehyde in Support of Summary Information on the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS)

SUBMITTED TO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Chief Engineer’s Office

STAFF CONTACT: Joseph “Kip” Haney

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: The 90-day comment period is insufficient for regulatory agencies and others to provide thorough and meaningful comments based on an in-depth review and analysis of the draft IRIS review. EPA should extend the comment period at least 90 days past the August 31 deadline to allow stakeholders to perform a more detailed review of the volumes of relevant information and to comment on problematic issues associated with the 1,043-page draft IRIS review. However, to the extent practicable in the short time allotted by EPA, TCEQ staff have identified significant concerns.

EPA should not finalize the draft IRIS review until they adequately address several significant scientific concerns. These concerns regard such issues as: (1) inadequate overall evidence to show a causal relationship between formaldehyde exposure and Hodgkin lymphoma and leukemia; (2) biological implausibility for formaldehyde causing these two cancers; (3) inappropriate dose-response assessments (e.g., choice of dose metric, potency estimate); and, (4) a questionable assumption of greater childhood susceptibility to formaldehyde-induced cancer. Using the proposed URF would result in the 1 in 100,000 excess risk air concentration (0.08 ppb) not being met anywhere in the world, indoors or outdoors (or in our own breath), including remote locations such as Alert, Nunavut, Canada, located in the arctic. Additionally, recent state-of-the-science research clearly showing that Hodgkin lymphoma and leukemia are implausible was not seriously considered in the draft IRIS review document.

Return to Top

DATE SUBMITTED: 07/29/10

SHORT TITLE: Draft FY 2011-2015 Strategic Plan

SUBMITTED TO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Intergovernmental Relations Division

STAFF CONTACT: Mike Hoke

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: EPA’s Draft FY 2011-2015 Strategic Plan sets forth the TCEQ’s long-term vision, strategic goals and objectives, and strategies to achieve them. The Draft Plan includes strategic measures and the specific measurable environmental and human health outcomes the TCEQ will achieve over the next five years. The Draft Plan is divided into three sections: 1) five strategic goals, 2) five cross-cutting fundamental strategies, and 3) the strategic measurement framework.

TCEQ raises objections on the grounds that the Draft Plan will obligate TCEQ resources, will not be effective, and does not support state programs. The EPA should seek to balance regulatory actions with sustainable economic development, ensure actions are grounded in peer-reviewed science, and make certain that enforcement is not considered more important than compliance. TCEQ reiterates its position that the Clean Air Act is not an appropriate way to regulate greenhouse gases.

Return to Top

DATE SUBMITTED: 07/07/10

SHORT TITLE: Draft EPA’s Reanalysis of Key Issues Related to Dioxin Toxicity and Response to NAS Comments

SUBMITTED TO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Chief Engineer’s Office

STAFF CONTACT: Joseph “Kip” Haney

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: To the extent practicable in the short time allotted by EPA, TCEQ staff have identified significant concerns. EPA should not finalize the draft SFo and RfD until they adequately address several significant scientific concerns. These concerns regard such issues as: (1) EPA using a linear extrapolation method for cancer effects despite the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) concluding that a nonlinear approach is justified for the carcinogenic assessment; (2) lack of EPA justification for use of a 95% upper confidence limit instead of the statistical best estimate of the regression coefficient for the draft SFo; and (3) further evaluation of the intrahuman uncertainty factor for the draft RfD. The draft SFo and RfD may be overly conservative, and if finalized, the practical implications may be significant and numerous. For example, use of the draft values would indicate that dioxin levels in the typical US diet are unacceptably high. Using the proposed SFo value may result in significantly lower (perhaps over 100 times) remediation soil cleanup concentrations. Further, if the draft SFo is finalized, residential soil cleanup concentrations could be within the range of rural background levels, which would not be feasible from a compliance perspective and could result in costly studies to determine site-specific background concentrations. Using these draft SFo and RfD values would imply that the US diet and typical soil dioxin soil levels could be considered unsafe, unnecessarily alarming the public regarding background exposures beyond their control. The significant change in the SFo may cause external challenges to the adequacy of historic response actions at remediation sites. Also, the federal drinking water MCL and ambient water quality criteria for dioxin could be lowered significantly.

Return to Top

DATE SUBMITTED: 03/26/2010

SHORT TITLE: Draft Toxicological Review of Inorganic Arsenic: In Support of the Summary Information on the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS)

SUBMITTED TO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Chief Engineer's Office

STAFF CONTACT: Joseph 'Kip' Haney

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS:
The 60-day EPA comment period is inadequate for regulatory agencies and others to provide meaningful comments based on an in-depth review and analysis of the derivation of the draft SFo.  The comment deadline should be extended at least 60 days past the current April 20 deadline to allow for a more detailed review of the hundreds of pages of documents and complex issues relevant to derivation of the draft SFo for arsenic.  However, to the extent practicable in the short time allotted by EPA, TCEQ staff have identified significant concerns.

A series of toxicologically-based comments conclude that EPA should not finalize the draft SFo until several significant scientific concerns are adequately addressed by EPA. These concerns regard such issues as inaccurate estimates of dose, inadequate dose-response data, and a potentially inappropriate excess risk calculation (BEIR IV) methodology.  Additionally, the draft SFo may be overly conservative and, if finalized, the practical implications may be significant and numerous.  For example, use of the draft SFo would indicate that the upper end of EPA’s acceptable risk range (1 in 1,000,000 to 1 in 10,000) is exceeded by exposure to inorganic arsenic from the typical U.S. diet, the average U.S. arsenic drinking water concentration, the average U.S. intake of rice (white or brown), eating fish and other seafood, and background (i.e., naturally-occurring) soil arsenic concentrations.  Such analyses would imply that the U.S. diet, the average arsenic level in the nation’s drinking water supply, eating fish/seafood and certain other food items (e.g., rice), and exposure to typical background arsenic soil levels could be considered unsafe from a regulatory perspective.  Consequently, there may be a potential for unwarranted advisories or warning labels on certain foods, there could be a potential for unacceptable risk due to arsenic in fish tissue to cause more waterbodies to be listed as impaired, the federal MCL for arsenic could be lowered, and typical background soil arsenic levels would be unsafe for residential exposure.  The significant change in the SFo may also cause external challenges to the adequacy of historic response actions at remediation sites.

Return to Top

DATE SUBMITTED: 04/30/09

SHORT TITLE: Standard Data Elements for Reports under Section 1512 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

SUBMITTED TO: Office of Management and Budget

OFFICE PREPARING: Executive Office

STAFF CONTACT: Patricia Brummer

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: The TCEQ supports transparency and accountability standards and appreciates OMB publishing the standard data elements for use in complying with the reporting requirements. The TCEQs overriding concern is that data elements, guidance, and grant requirements will continue to shift even after the award and expenditure of funds. If this were to occur, the TCEQ believes compliance with ARRA requirements may become a tremendous resource drain to the TCEQ and sub-recipients. Additionally, some requirements seem inappropriate for all entity types and the TCEQ believes explicit distinctions are needed.

The TCEQ certainly understands the motivation for an aggressive approach, but believes there is wisdom in tempering requirements to strike a balance between administrative obligations and programmatic accomplishments. In the case of the TCEQ, it means focusing the preponderance of resources toward environmental goals which protect Texas human and natural resources and create cleaner air, cleaner water, and the safest management of waste.

Return to Top

DATE SUBMITTED: 12/19/08

SHORT TITLE: National Organic Program (NOP) - Access to Pasture (Livestock)

SUBMITTED TO: U.S. Department of Agriculture

OFFICE PREPARING: Chief Engineer's Office

STAFF CONTACT: Charles Maguire

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: TCEQ comments address the statutory authority associated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Services (AMS) development of rules stated to protect soil and water quality. The AMS has proposed fencing requirements to protect water quality that go beyond the scope and function Congress granted the AMS. Fencing of the creeks and stock ponds as a requirement to protect water quality has the potential to impact the TCEQs policy and regulatory efforts with animal feeding operations and TCEQ efforts to deal with water quality impairments related to livestock activity on private lands. A federal rule in the NOP that establishes a requirement to fence the creeks and stock ponds in order to protect soil and water quality could create a precedent that may ultimately affect the TCEQs regulations on non-organic CAFOs. TCEQ acknowledges the need to control all inputs consumed by organic certified livestock and the NOP may need to require fencing of the creeks and ponds for that purpose. However, when the rule is extrapolated out beyond the control of inputs to the requirement to protect soil and water quality, the TCEQ considers that action to be unnecessary and inappropriate. Additionally, the TCEQ comments that this rule is inconsistent with other programs within the very same federal agency, specifically, the United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) prescribed grazing practice standard Code 528. In that practice standard, the USDA- NRCS does not require the fencing of creeks or stock ponds in order to conserve natural resources.

Return to Top

DATE SUBMITTED: 07/15/08

SHORT TITLE: Bexar County Karst Invertebrates Draft Recovery Plan

SUBMITTED TO: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

OFFICE PREPARING: Office of Permitting, Remediation, and Registration

STAFF CONTACT: Cary Betz

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: Generally, the TCEQ agrees with the spirit and intent of this plan. However, TCEQ respectfully submits the following comments.

In section 2.4, Narrative of Recovery Actions, paragraph 2.3 Determine the use of mesocaverns and habitat connectivity (A, C, E) on page 2.4-4, it is suggested that a set of guidelines be established with multiple partners, such as TCEQ and the City of San Antonio, or other site inspection entities, so that a construction site can be sampled for karst invertebrates by qualified personnel. TCEQ staff are well suited to the identification and evaluation of water quality concerns at construction sites, as these are clearly within our agency's jurisdiction. However, the interests of the public and the species in question may be better served by suggesting another partner to develop guidelines for determining whether mesocaverns are used or occupied by the karst invertebrates covered by this plan.

Similarly, Table 3, found in section 4.0 Implementation Schedule, page 4.0-2, identifies TCEQ as one of the "Responsible Parties" for the development of "a plan to protect non-cave/karst areas (mesocaverns) in-between caves or Karst Faunal Area." TCEQ is concerned that responsibility for this plan exceeds our authority by extending past water quality protection. TCEQ is willing to assist with the development of such a plan, but only as a resource for water quality issues. TCEQ is identified later in this same table as one of the "Responsible Parties" for "hydrological research," and has no objection to this role.

Return to Top

DATE SUBMITTED: 07/15/08

SHORT TITLE: Williamson County Regional Habitat Conservation Plan

SUBMITTED TO:U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

OFFICE PREPARING: Office of Permitting, Remediation, and Registration

STAFF CONTACT: Cary Betz

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: Generally, the TCEQ agrees with the spirit and intent of this plan. However, TCEQ requests that the plan be clarified with respect to our jurisdictional authority.

There are numerous references to "TCEQ standards (TCEQ 2004)." The "TCEQ 2004" reference is for "Instructions to geologists for Geologic Assessments on the Edwards Aquifer recharge/transition zones, Application Form 0585." The TCEQ is concerned that a potential participant in this regional habitat conservation plan may be confused by this citation, and misconstrue participation in the plan as a substitute for the water quality protection measures for the Edwards Aquifer that are required under Title 30, Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 213, Edwards Aquifer.

The TCEQ respectfully requests the addition of language clarifying that prospective participants in the regional habitat conservation plan must still obtain approval of proposed activities applicable under 30 TAC 213.2 and 213.4, and may require submission to the agency several plans in accordance with 30 TAC 213.5. The TCEQ believes that clarifying language, or a brief discussion of the relationship between the regional habitat conservation plan and TCEQ rules, could be inserted early in Chapter 4, alleviating our concerns and better serving potential participants in the plan.

Return to Top

DATE SUBMITTED: 04/02/08

SHORT TITLE: National Program Managers Guidance FY 2009

SUBMITTED TO: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Intergovernmental Relations Division

STAFF CONTACT: Tangela Niemann

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS:
Office of Air and Radiation

Changes in Grant Purposes and Authorities (page A-4)

There are a number of problems with the proposed changes in funding for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) PM2.5 air monitoring program, some of which have already occurred.

PM2.5 Sec 103 funding is 100% federal funded, if the funding is changed to Sec 105 funding(60/40) TCEQ will lose 40% of the federal funding with PM2.5.

TCEQ is experiencing escalating laboratory costs (30%), shipping, utility, and contract operation costs related to the PM2.5 air monitoring program.

If, as planned, the EPA transitions the PM2.5 funding from Section 103(100% federal) to Section 105(60/40%) funding April 1, 2009, in the middle of the normal September-August fiscal year, it is going to cause even greater fiscal complications than it did with the abrupt ending of the current grant on April 1, 2008.

United States Mexico Border

Changes in Grant Purposes and Authorities (page A-3, 1st paragraph)

During a conference call with EPA and other Region 6 states on March 18, 2008, the TCEQ asked for clarification on a sentence in Appendix A - Grant Guidance, page A-3: "Funds have also been proposed to be reduced for the U.S.-Mexico Border work reflecting the transfer and ownership of a portion of the cross-border monitoring network to Mexico." In response to this question, Region 6 staff stated that there are plans to decrease the budget for Border Activities in Region 6 and 9 by approximately 50%.

TCEQ doesnt understand how a 50% reduction in Border Activities would reflect the transfer and ownership of a portion of the cross-border monitoring network to Mexico. In the case of Texas, a very small portion of the PPG Border Activities grant is spent on cross-border monitoring (specifically in Cd. Juárez), and none of those maintenance activities have been transferred to Mexico. Meanwhile, the PPG Border Activities grant covers a wide variety of activities related to monitoring in Texas, other field operations in Texas, and a significant portion of the TCEQs activities related to the Border 2012 Program. Therefore, cutting all those programs by 50% based on a development that hasnt happened (transfer of ownership) seems illogical.

TCEQ requests that further clarification be included in the guidance document on the relation between (a) the anticipated 50% reduction in border funding and (b) the transfer of ownership of cross-border monitoring to Mexico, and its relevance to Texas.

Office of Water

Strategies to Protect Human Health: Fish and Shellfish Safe to Eat

Comment on Section II, Sub-objective 2 - Safe Shellfish (page 15)

In the document, the EPA discusses addressing and reducing the incidence of high blood mercury levels. However, the statistics under Key National Strategies refer to fish consumption advisories for a range of contaminants. It is recommended that these statistics be revised to discuss the incidence of fish consumption advisories associated only with mercury, rather than to include all contaminants.

Comment on Section II, Sub-objective 2 - Safe Shellfish (page 18)

In the document, the EPA discusses clean water programs that will reduce pathogen levels in key waters. It is recommended that the example of reduce storm water runoff be replaced with a program objective to reduce the level of contaminants or pollutants in storm water runoff.

Strategies to Protect Fresh Waters, Coastal Waters, and Wetlands

Measure # WQ-19a - Number, and national percent, of high priority state NPDES permits that are issued as scheduled

EPA is proposing to change Measure # WQ-19a from Number, and national percent, of high priority state NPDES permits that are issued as scheduled" to Number, and national percent, of high priority state NPDES permits that are issued in the fiscal year.

This change would shift the time period for identifying the priority list earlier in the process and shifting the commitment to a total number of permits issued versus a percentage of permits issued. States will need the ability to substitute specific permits that will be issued to meet their commitment when unforeseen issues arise with permits.

Since the measure is being changed from capturing a percent of permits issued to a total number, we recommend that the new measure be modified to delete reference to a percentage and read as follows: Number of high priority state NPDES permits that are issued in the fiscal year.

Measure # CO-2 Total coastal and non-coastal acres protected from vessel sewage by no discharge zones

Texas agrees with the EPA objective to protect water bodies from vessel sewage. No discharge zones already exist in Texas. While setting the protection standard is important, it is equally important that there be capacity at harbors and marinas for pump-out of sewage from vessels. It is recommended that EPA develop a program activity measure or indicator measure to track either the number of pump-out facilities or the total volume of sewage removed per year from vessels for proper treatment and disposal.

Measure # SP-23 Reduce the number of currently exceeded water quality standards in impaired transboundary segments of U.S. surface waters

The current target for the year 2012 calls for restoration of nine of the 17 impairments identified in the 2002 baseline. The EPA and Texas are initiating an effort to complete TMDLs or equivalent plans to focus on indicator bacteria impairments that exist in the Rio Grande, a shared international water. Texas supports the restoration goal and supports dedicated federal funding to supplement local and state funding to address these impairments. However, evidence or a demonstration that the impairments no longer exist in 2012 may prove difficult to verify in such a short time frame.

Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance

Monitoring and Enforcement

Sub-objective 5.1.3 (page 57) speaks to efforts to improve monitoring of transboundary wastes. In the past these efforts have required the Texas Commission on Environmental Qualitys (TCEQ) direct participation as a delegate state. There is no discussion as to the role of the Border States in this part of the plan, thus either 1.) we will not be required to participate in any manner, or 2.) our participation would be required to a degree without it specified in the guidance.

U.S. Customs has, since 09/11/2001, been very reluctant to allow our participation/involvement in such monitoring (inspection) activities. Therefore, we recommend it be addressed both as to our role, if any, and if so, what access right would be restored to the border states at customs facilities.

Return to Top

DATE SUBMITTED: 09/04/07

SHORT TITLE: Cross-Media Electronic Reporting Rule Deadline for Authorized Programs

SUBMITTED TO: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Office of Administrative Services

STAFF CONTACT: Brandon Harris

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS:
The TCEQ is committed to utilizing technology which both enhances the effectiveness of and improves compliance with environmental laws and regulations. Implementing CROMERR will require an extensive redesign, some prohibitively expensive, of current electronic reporting and record keeping systems at agencies and regulated entities.

The TCEQ supports the proposed deadline extension as long as the performance standards and other requirements promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on October 13, 2005, are not increased. Additional time may help states further develop technical components of receiving systems, submit more comprehensive rule packages and applications to revise or modify authorized programs, and work with EPA on significant issues.

Return to Top


DATE SUBMITTED: 04/26/07

SHORT TITLE: National Program Managers Guidance FY 2008

SUBMITTED TO: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Chief Engineer's Office

STAFF CONTACT: Clyde Bohmfalk

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS:
Office of Air and Radiation

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is particularly concerned about the potential for reduced or redirected federal funding assistance with respect to the support for air monitoring networks. It has been noted that current funding under Section 103 of the Federal Clean Air Act could be reduced. This could force states to use Section 105 funds to support the PM2.5 monitoring network. This agency would then have to provide additional matching funds to maintain the existing monitoring network. Even with the divestment of low-value monitoring for several NAAQS pollutants, divestment opportunities will be limited, since most of Texas NAAQS monitoring is in non-attainment or near non-attainment areas, is required by other federal grants, or is necessary to measure pollutant transport. Costs for new monitors are likely to increase and Texas does not have sufficient spare monitors to replace ones that malfunction.

Office of Water

Strategies to Protect Human Health: Fish and Shellfish Safe to Eat Comment on Subobjective B)2) Safe Shellfish: The Texas State Department of Health Services (TSDHS) identifies and closes oyster beds in Texas based upon U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines and requirements. The TCEQ then identifies the closed areas as impairments on the 303(d) List. In several instances, these closures are not based upon water quality monitoring data indicating elevated levels of indicator bacteria, nor data showing a pollutant discharge as the cause of the closure. Since closures of this type cannot be addressed by limiting or eliminating pollutant discharges, implementation of a Clean Water Act (CWA) program will not address the closures. It is suggested that the EPA identify an objective to prioritize CWA program activities towards the closed areas where monitoring data identify pollutant discharge impacts.

Strategies to Protect Human Health: Water Safe for Swimming Comment on Subobjective B)3) Reduce Pathogen Levels in Recreational Waters Generally: The TCEQ agrees that ineffective septic systems are contributing sources to recreational use impairments. In addition to EPAs objective to design decentralized systems, the EPA should also emphasize objectives and funding to connect households with failing septic systems to a POTW. The EPA should allow the use of Section 319 grants for this purpose, to eliminate nonpoint sources. Such a strategy could facilitate progress to address these sources, particularly systems in economically disadvantaged communities within impaired watersheds.

Strategies to Protect Fresh Waters, Coastal Waters, and Wetlands: Protect Coastal and Ocean Waters Comment on Strategy 4) Ocean Protection Programs: The TCEQ through its Galveston Bay Estuary Program and partners have successfully collaborated to implement projects to beneficially use sediment dredged from Galveston Bay to design and create high quality habitat areas for birds and other aquatic life. EPA may desire to review the success of this initiative and its possible application elsewhere.

Strategies to Protect Large Aquatic Ecosystems: Protect Mexico Border Water Quality Comment on Strategy B)2) Wastewater Treatment Financing: In early 2007, the TCEQ oversaw completion of a comprehensive watershed protection plan to address nutrients, sediment, and biochemical oxygen demand impacts on the Arroyo Colorado, a Texas border area waterway. This effort was funded in part with the support of a Section 319 grant. The plan includes implementation activities targeted through 2015 that would cost about $65 million, mostly for wastewater infrastructure and agricultural best management practices. The TCEQ urges the EPA to develop specific border protection strategies in collaboration with other federal entities that provide infrastructure funding that would give priority towards financial assistance towards this watershed.

Appendix B: Measures with National/Regional Data and Targets Comment on Strategic Target SP-10 Number of Water Bodies identified in 2002 as not attaining water quality standards where standards are now fully attained: The TCEQ supports this target and is implementing TMDLs and other strategies aimed at restoration of water quality. The TCEQ published a Status Report on TMDLs (October 2006) which can be viewed at the identified weblink below, which numerically describes contributions towards environmental progress addressing point sources and nonpoint sources through TMDL implementation in Texas. This progress may contribute towards the EPA target. Dependent on EPAs specific measurement methods, this progress could also contribute towards targets in measures WQ-21, CO-1, and SP-38.

United States-Mexico Border

Reductions in funding can have a determining impact on the implementation of some of the goals related to environmental issues along the U.S. Mexico border area. It is noted that border efforts are acknowledged in the guidance for the Office of Air and Radiation and the Office of Water, but there is no mention of U.S.-Mexico border issues in the draft guidance for the Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances or the Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation. In addition, in the guidance for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response it is unclear what the priorities are.

Return to Top


DATE SUBMITTED: 06/15/06

SHORT TITLE: Office of Management and Budget Proposed Risk Assessment Bulletin

SUBMITTED TO: Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

OFFICE PREPARING: Chief Engineer's Office

STAFF CONTACT: Joseph T. Hanley, Jr.

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS:
Section I: Definitions

“Risk assessment” as defined in this section may be too broad. As such, this document has far-reaching implications across regulatory programs (e.g., Superfund), regulatory guidance (e.g., cancer guidelines), and disciplines (e.g., toxicology, epidemiology, economics, medicine, chemistry, engineering). The potential effects and far-reaching implications of the Bulletin deserve a detailed evaluation across potentially affected disciplines and programs.

Standards Related to Characterization of Risk
This section of the Bulletin indicates that every quantitative risk estimate should provide a range of plausible risk estimates when there is scientific uncertainty or variability. This seems to require a risk estimate range for every risk assessment (i.e., influential and non-influential, screening level assessments) and ranges for many of the inputs into remediation risk assessments. If required by the final Bulletin, calculating multiple estimates of risk based on possible combinations of these ranges to provide a risk range may be burdensome and should be commensurate with necessity and the importance of the risk assessment.
This section of the Bulletin also indicates that where feasible, a document made available to the public in support of a regulation should specify peer-reviewed studies known to the agency that support, are directly relevant to, or fail to support any estimates of risk of adverse health effects and the methodology used to reconcile inconsistencies in the scientific data. A reference in a risk assessment to the USEPA Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) substance file, for example, should be considered to satisfy this requirement.

Standards Related to Critical Assumptions
This section indicates that the range of scientific opinions regarding (1) the likelihood of plausible alternative assumptions, (2) the direction and magnitude of any resulting changes if key assumptions were to be changed, and (3) the basis and rationale for combining the assumptions utilized should be discussed for both influential and non-influential risk assessments. Additionally, whenever possible, a quantitative evaluation of reasonable alternative assumptions should be provided. As this may be burdensome, instead of a requirement being applied indiscriminately, the level of effort should be commensurate with necessity and the importance of the risk assessment.

Standards Related to Regulatory Analysis
The basis for a central risk estimate should not be limited to methods involving calculating multiple estimates of risk, or a distribution of multiple estimates of risk, and should allow for a central estimate based on assumptions judged to be representative of central tendency (e.g., 50th percentile exposure factors, average exposure point concentrations).

Return to Top


DATE SUBMITTED: 04/17/06

SHORT TITLE: EPA's Harmonization in Interspecies Extrapolation: Use of Body Weight3/4 as Default Method in Derivation of the Oral Reference Dose (RfD)

SUBMITTED TO: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Chief Engineer's Office

STAFF CONTACT: Michael Honeycutt, Ph.D.

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) applauds USEPA's use of allometric scaling in developing a human equivalent dose for oral reference doses to replace a portion of the default interspecies uncertainty factor. This is a long-overdue step in the harmonization of cancer and non-cancer risk assessment. The TCEQ strongly supports the use of scientific data to supplant default, policy-based procedures.

Return to Top


DATE SUBMITTED: 11/11/05

SHORT TITLE: EPA's Proposed Supplemental Environmental Project Policy

SUBMITTED TO: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Office of Compliance and Enforcement

STAFF CONTACT: Debra Barber

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: It would be helpful for this EPA guidance to encourage anyone interested in perusing a federal SEP to also read applicable state SEP requirements, since differing state requirements and restrictions may cause confusion. For example: EPA SEP policy allows an on-site SEP; TCEQ proposed new SEP guidance does not. EPA SEP policy would accept a project to provide assistance to help meet obligations under the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act; TCEQ SEP guidance does not. EPA SEP policy only requires progress reports and a completion certificate; TCEQ requires substantiating documentation, including verification of expenditures.

Return to Top


DATE SUBMITTED: 08/05/05

SHORT TITLE: Guidance on NPDES Wet Weather and CAFO Inspection Reporting Changes, Other NPDES Inspection Reporting Changes, and PCS Data Entry and Software Changes

SUBMITTED TO: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Field Operations

STAFF CONTACT: Jan Sills

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: The proposed requirement to require the entry of wet weather inspections into PCS is beyond our current program commitment and will require additional resources that have not been accounted for. Attempts to increase data reporting beyond current program commitments without negotiations are inappropriate and may not be technically feasible nor economically practicable. We continue to work to develop the capability to transfer inspection data from the state to the federal data systems. Additional resources will, however, be required to extract the data and provide it to EPA in the required format and time frame. In addition, in order to use the proposed Single Event Violation codes to report violations noted during wet weather inspections, we will have to enter and store new data not currently collected and stored in CCEDS. The time, effort, and financial resources necessary to provide this new data has not been determined but may be significant. The date proposed for implementation of these guidelines conflicts with the proposed ICIS-NPDES Policy Statement. The ICIS-NPDES Policy Statement allows the TCEQ approximately three years after ICIS-NPDES comes on line, or until 2009 or later, to complete entry of the Water Enforcement National Database (WENDB) permit components for Stormwater and General Permits. The wet weather inspection activity for these permits cannot be maintained in the PCS or the ICIS-NPDES data system until the permit components are entered. The state’s responsibility for the new data requirements should be limited to current program commitments or re-negotiated as part of an EPA-State agreement. Year-to-year commitments should be managed using the Performance Partnership Agreement (PPA).

Return to Top


DATE SUBMITTED: 06/28/05

SHORT TITLE: EPA Information Collection Request (ICR) for The Framework for the Review of State Enforcement Programs

SUBMITTED TO: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Office of Compliance and Enforcement

STAFF CONTACT: Russ Baier

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: The minimal burden that EPA has projected in this notice is based on the assumption that all necessary data will be readily available in the federal data systems. Although we are continuing to work with EPA to resolve several issues regarding the transfer of data from the state to the federal data systems, some of these projects may not be completed prior to the Texas review (probably in FY 2007). Furthermore, there may continue to be disagreements regarding the interpretation and use of certain data elements that may increase the burden on the state and/or result in unwarranted "deficiencies" that will need to be resolved in the future. Some of the Framework data metrics will need to be obtained from state data systems. Additional resources will be required to extract the data and, in some cases, to begin to develop new data not currently collected. The Framework should be modified to make it clear that a state is not responsible to provide data and/or to meet any sooner deadlines than those established in regulation or in program commitments which have been negotiated between individual states and EPA. The issues above may result in additional resource burdens not identified in the ICR notice. The Framework requirements should be modified or clarified to limit the resource implications to no greater than what is required to satisfy current program commitments and to maintain delegation authority over core programs.

Return to Top


DATE SUBMITTED: 06/09/05

SHORT TITLE: ECOS Input to EPA FY 2007 Budget Development

SUBMITTED TO: Environmental Council of States (ECOS)

OFFICE PREPARING: Intergovernmental Relations

STAFF CONTACT: Linda Haynie

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: TCEQ recommends that for FY 2006 and FY 2007, the level of funding needed for our agency to carry out all of our state’s federal program requirements should be no less than the current, FY 2005 level.

Return to Top


DATE SUBMITTED: 04/01/05

SHORT TITLE: 2006 Update to EPA National Program Managers Guidance

SUBMITTED TO: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Intergovernmental Relations

STAFF CONTACT: Linda Haynie

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: Comments from TCEQ include input received from staff in the Office of Administrative Services/Budget and Planning, Office of Compliance and Enforcement, and the Chief Engineer’s Office (which included input from water program staff in other program areas). Due to the nature of the NPMs, comments varied substantially. The most extensive comments were collected through the TCEQ Water Quality Coordinating Team, are very detailed, and pertain to the NPM from EPA’s Office of Water.

Return to Top


DATE SUBMITTED: 02/10/05

SHORT TITLE: Application for the National Environmental Education Advisory Council

SUBMITTED TO: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Small Business and Environmental Assistance

STAFF CONTACT: Eunice Pearson-Hefty

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: If Texas is able to participate on the Council the effort would help further TCEQ's mission of protection public health and the environment. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is offering for nomination, Dr. Eunice Pearson Hefty from the Small Business and Environmental Assistance Division. Dr. Hefty is the Education Coordinator for the agency and is responsible for the Teaching Environmental Sciences program.

Return to Top


DATE SUBMITTED: 12/02/04

SHORT TITLE: Framework for State Program Review

SUBMITTED TO: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Office of Environmental Policy, Analysis, and Assessment

STAFF CONTACT: Herb Williams

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: Some metrics specified in the draft Framework conflict with the current approach to inspection planning. EPA should provide a flexible approach to oversight by using negotiated metrics to account for differences between states in the number, type, and size of industry, incentive programs; and other variables which affect each state's approach to inspection planning. EPA should consider enforcement concerns on issues such as different enforcement processes required by state statutes that impact enforcement timeframes, prescriptive requirements to determine how an entity will return to compliance, and the amount of information that may be disclosed on cases that include an analysis of ability to pay. All metrics should evaluate performance against a standard rather than state-to-state comparisons.

Return to Top


DATE SUBMITTED: 11/30/04

SHORT TITLE: Draft Guide to Analyzing Environmental Innovations

SUBMITTED TO: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Policy and Regulations

STAFF CONTACT: Hector Mendieta

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: It would be useful to have a process to promote innovative approaches to environmental issues. The draft guide is so complex and cumbersome to use that potential innovators may be discouraged from using the proposed process. EPA should streamline the evaluation process, particularly for innovative projects that are less complex, small in scope of potential impact, or perhaps that need to be fast-tracked.

Return to Top


DATE SUBMITTED: 09/20/04

SHORT TITLE: 2005 Exchange Network Guidance

SUBMITTED TO: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Office of Administrative Services

STAFF CONTACT: Gregg Nudd

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: Our proposed comments fall into two broad categories, flexibility in grant proposals for electronic discharge monitoring reports, or e-DMRs, and eligibility criteria for receiving a grant. The comments on proposal flexibility focus on EPA's stated intention to prevent e-DMR proposals from including functionality to submit e-DMRs to the Permit Compliance System (PCS) or use the current submission format, the Interim Data Exchange Format (IDEF). While this language is not within the draft guidance, the EPA indicated during the September 9 meeting that such language would be included in a revised draft. The EPA intends to produce an errata document which includes this restriction, but that document was not available in time for the preparation of these comments. The eligibility criteria comments focus on the definition of an operational Network Node, which does not consider reporting time lines and may impact our eligibility to apply for a grant. The most significant concern with the draft guidance is the intention to prevent submissions to PCS or the use of IDEF. At least one state, Michigan, already flows e-DMRs to PCS in the IDEF format. The modernized PCS, called the Integrated Compliance Information System (ICIS), is not scheduled to accept uploads of e-DMRs until the Fall of 2007. Which is a year later than what they told us last year. The proposed guidance language would prevent an e-DMR system from going on-line until at least the Fall of 2007. That assumes ICIS will meet that Fall 2007 target date, which is unlikely given the history of that project.

Return to Top


DATE SUBMITTED: 08/20/04

SHORT TITLE: Federal Highway Administration and Texas Department of Transportation on I-69/Trans-Texas Corridor Study

SUBMITTED TO: Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT)

OFFICE PREPARING: Policy and Regulations

STAFF CONTACT: Susi Ferguson

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: TCEQ proposes to concur by signature of its TAC and Steering Committee representatives with the Memorandum of Decision, with the following conditions: We propose to add an additional objective to Goal F (in all three of the discussion documents) to emphasize compliance with applicable state and federal requirements as criteria. TCEQ would like to emphasize that the GIS Screening Tool (GISST) and the Texas Ecological Assessment Protocol (TEAP) cited under Goal F, Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) Draft Evaluation Criteria, are both works in progress, and that the latest versions should always be used for Tier 1 and Tier 2 decision making.

Return to Top


DATE SUBMITTED: 03/31/04

SHORT TITLE: National Program Managers (NPM) Proposed Guidance for Fiscal Year 2005

SUBMITTED TO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Chief Engineer

STAFF CONTACT: Tom Weber

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: Concerns with possible changes in inspection responsibilities for various federally authorized programs. Discussion of issues associated with specific outcomes/goals identified with the EPA water program. Various comments affecting TCEQ regulation of Class 5 UIC wells.

Return to Top


DATE SUBMITTED: 03/09/04

SHORT TITLE: Revisions to Regulations Applicable to Permits Issued Under the Endangered Species Act

SUBMITTED TO: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

OFFICE PREPARING: Policy and Regulations

STAFF CONTACT: Mary Ambrose

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: 1. TCEQ supports efforts to provide flexibility in the permitting process 2. TCEQ looks forward to reviewing and providing comment on any guidance that may be issued

Return to Top


DATE SUBMITTED: 01/06/04

SHORT TITLE: Small Local Government Compliance Assistance Policy

SUBMITTED TO: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Small Business and Environmental Assistance

STAFF CONTACT: Daphne McMurrer

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: Several proposed changes will make it much more likely that Texas will utilize this policy. The TCEQ supports the following elements of the proposed policy revisions, since they will enhance use of the policy: The proposed change to a two tier approach for defining "small" communities (3,300 and 10,000 population, with additional restrictions on eligibility). The option for small communities to work with the state to identify all of their environmental noncompliance and then enter into a written enforceable agreement. The new flexibility for local governments whose technical, managerial, and financial capacity is so limited they are unlikely to achieve and sustain compliance without the state's assistance. That EPA may fund projects to improve a state's small community compliance assistance. In addition, the TCEQ supports the option that will provide an incentive for local governments to develop and implement an EMS; however, we have several suggestions to improve this option: Allow the State, as well as the site, the option to determine whether an EMS is a useful approach to compliance for the site. This will help ensure that suitable candidates are selected for implementation of an EMS. Allow for this incentive based on a State approved EMS. Using existing standards in states such as Texas, will streamline EMS implementation and associated incentives. Allow for this incentive for local governments that already have an EMS approved through a state process or through EPA's process (National Environmental Performance Track), as long as the reduced or waived fee is applied back into environmental improvements. Clarify that the reduced or waived penalty is not provided based on entering into the agreement to implement the EMS, but based on successfully implementing an EMS that is reviewed and approved by the State.

Return to Top


DATE SUBMITTED: 11/24/03

SHORT TITLE: Texas Environmental Resource Stewards (TERS): Texas Ecological Assessment Protocol Results

SUBMITTED TO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Policy and Regulations

STAFF CONTACT: Russ Baier

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: The Texas Environmental Resource Stewards (TERS) project was initiated in July 2002 to seek greater Federal and State interagency collaboration on identifying and supporting joint priorities, particularly regarding transportation issues. Various state and federal resource agencies participated in developing the TERS Ecological Assessment Protocol (TEAP) for conducting the assessment and identification of priority ecological resources in the state of Texas. In October 2003 EPA indicated that it was requesting a technical peer review of the TEAP by all participating state and federal agencies. Four specific questions were raised by EPA as the "charge to the TERS Peer Review Panel." TCEQ's comments included the following points: EPA needs to clarify the explicit limitations of TEAP's use in order to avoid the abuse of this information to reach inappropriate conclusion or decisions. TCEQ is concerned that the overall composite result introduces an inappropriate bias towards large continuous areas without regard to climate, ecosystem type, species habitat range, and other factors The report's assertion that human health toxicity from the exposure to air pollution is a surrogate for ecological toxicity is incorrect, and the use of cancer and non-cancer risk modeling based on National Air Toxics Assessment data is not appropriate for use as an ecological indicator. The composite reduces the ability of the TEAP to identify ecologically important areas within specific ecoregions because many of the criteria appear to be scored based on statewide analyses or comparisons. The report presents several important policy questions that are beyond the scope of a peer review of the technical feasibility and merits of the TEAP A public participation plan should be developed and implemented to solicit and consider stakeholder input on the development of this protocol and the use of its results in transportation and environmental planning.

Return to Top


DATE SUBMITTED: 09/10/03

SHORT TITLE: Enforcement and Compliance Assurance National Program Priorities Planning Process for 2005-2007.

SUBMITTED TO: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Compliance and Enforcement

STAFF CONTACT: Carol Batterton

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: TCEQ submitted comments on EPA's enforcement and compliance assurance national program priorities planning process for 2005-2007, which included recommendations on two new priorities and four existing priorities. The new priorities were: Malfunctions, Startup, and Shutdown in the Air Program; and Capacity Building in Investigational Expertise. Existing priorities included: New Source Review and Prevention of Significant Deterioration; Air Toxics; Storm Water; Confined Animal Feeding Operations; and RCRA. TCEQ also identified three areas of concern that Texas will need to address in the next 25 years, which were not suggested as priorities at this time but will need to be considered in the future. These areas of concern are Long Term Water Supply Needs; Air Pollution from Transportation Sources in Urban Areas; and Aging Wastewater Treatment Infrastructure.

Return to Top


DATE SUBMITTED: 08/15/03

SHORT TITLE: Integrated Compliance Information System (ICIS) - NPDES Draft Detailed Design

SUBMITTED TO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Office of Administrative Services

STAFF CONTACT: Greg Nudd

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: Our comments fall into two broad categories, data communication (including electronic discharge monitoring reports or e-DMRs) and screen and report designs. The comments on data communication focus on a couple of key deficiencies with the current design document: it does not appear to allow for regulated entities to submit e-DMRs and it does not appear to support the State-EPA consensus on how data should be communicated between states and EPA. The comments on report design are intended to improve usability and the effectiveness of the screens and reports based on our significant experience with the current system. The most significant policy concern with the draft design document is that it does not appear to support direct submittal of e-DMRs by regulated entities. E-DMRs have been identified as a high priority by TCEQ staff and customers for electronic submittal. It is the highest volume regular data submittal processed by the agency. As a result, it has the highest potential for resource savings and improved data quality and timeliness. The TCEQ has been assured by EPA senior management that the modernized PCS would be able to support direct submittal of e-DMRs by regulated entities in Texas. Based on these assurances, the agency chose not to pursue an e-DMR processing system of our own. The specifications of the system need to be changed to clearly indicate direct submittals of DMRs by regulated entities.

Return to Top


DATE SUBMITTED: 07/18/03

SHORT TITLE: Region 6 Draft Strategic Plan

SUBMITTED TO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Strategic Assessment

STAFF CONTACT: Tom Weber

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: The TCEQ comments note that the proposed Region 6 Strategic Plan is new, and is still under development. The TCEQ notes that the proposed plan appears to be largely a narrative description of existing programs under the new planning headings at this point, with several sections of the plan still to be developed, most significantly those that deal with partnership agreements and regional accountability. The TCEQ comments also note that Goal 2, Clean and Safe Water, differs considerably from the rest of the draft plan in that it is still much more EPA command and control oriented than the other sections of the plan, which appear to support more partnership based approaches with the states. The TCEQ comments are generally supportive of new planning goals for homeland security.

Return to Top


DATE SUBMITTED: 07/11/03

SHORT TITLE: State Innovative Grants

SUBMITTED TO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Small Business and Environmental Assistance

STAFF CONTACT: Susan Roothaan

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: We would like to suggest two broad topic areas for consideration. These are described below. Many innovation programs tend to focus on environmental leaders, such as companies that are already on the innovations track through other programs (such as ISO14001). An important area that is needed is to develop a more comprehensive approach to helping those customers that are not already participating in Environmental Leadership programs. This proposal would focus on developing and delivering on-ramp services for customers that have not yet implemented a results-based EMS and need help along the way. Currently EPA and the States have a myriad of programs that require performance in exchange for incentives. Developing a comprehensive strategy that ties these programs together would encourage greater participation, especially among regulated entities who are less engaged, such as smaller businesses and local governments. This could also be used to help assure that the overall system is balanced and that participants are rewarded incentives for a consistent level of performance. To further increase participation, the effort would aim to streamline the EPA and State process for incentive delivery that supports these performance-based programs.

Return to Top


DATE SUBMITTED: 06/30/03

SHORT TITLE: Prioritization of FY04 Interstate Technology Regulatory Council (ITRC) Five Year Program Plan

OFFICE PREPARING: Policy and Regulations

STAFF CONTACT: Forrest Brooks

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: In the Five-Year Program Plan (FYPP), ITRC defines and communicates the strategic direction for the overall program, prioritizes the project areas in which it will support technical and training work teams, and balances forecast costs with anticipated revenues over the next five years. As a strategic planning tool, the FYPP sets the scope of work to be accomplished and defines ITRC's operational plan for 2004 thru 2007 to support out-year planning by federal agencies and ITRC members. As an open and democratic process, the FYPP enables input across a broad spectrum of the environmental community, balances the interests of various ITRC constituents, and helps mold a vision to guide ITRC participants over the ensuing five years. State Point of Contacts have the opportunity to provide their state's input to assist the ITRC Board of Directors in prioritizing the ITRC proposals and to provide strategic direction to the ITRC. The TCEQ is a member of the ITRC and prioritization of these projects is an integral responsibility. Comments relative to the project prioritization process will take the form of a spreadsheet in accordance with the prioritization scheme designed by ITRC advisory staff.

Return to Top


DATE SUBMITTED: 01/21/03

SHORT TITLE: EPA Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) Website

SUBMITTED TO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

OFFICE PREPARING: Office of Compliance and Enforcement

STAFF CONTACT: Carol Batterton

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS: The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality(TCEQ) commends EPA for undertaking and completing a project of this magnitude. We have appreciated EPA's efforts to involve the state's data stewards and EPA's responsiveness to state comments and concerns during the development process. TCEQ's primary concern is ensuring accuracy of data in ECHO and ensuring the user's ability to understand and appropriately interpret the information. We believe that making this information easily available and understandable to the public will reduce staff time for responding to requests for information. We encourage EPA to continue to emphasize that the information provided in ECHO is merely a snapshot of a facility's compliance status and does not necessarily reflect the complete compliance history of a facility.

Return to Top