The Maine Board of Environmental Protection (Board, BEP) invites the public to comment on proposals for changes to existing water quality standards.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (Department) is currently conducting a Triennial Review of water quality standards www.maine.gov/dep/water/wqs/triennial-review.html. Following the conclusion of the Department’s public input phase on May 26, 2021 (responses to comments received are available), the process has now moved to the Board. The Department presented its revised recommendations to the BEP at the regular meeting on August 5, 2021 in Augusta and requested that the BEP schedule a public hearing. The Board granted the request and the public hearing on the revised recommendations will occur on October 7, 2021 in Augusta beginning at 9:00 a.m. as part of a regular Board meeting. Further information on the BEP meeting, including an agenda and meeting materials, will be available on the BEP web page approximately one week prior to the meeting. Legal notices announcing the public hearing are published on August 18, 2021 in four newspapers (Bangor Daily News, Kennebec Journal, Lewiston Sun Journal, Portland Press Herald).
The Department encourages all interested persons or entities to attend the hearing and provide input. Public comments may also be submitted electronically until 5:00 p.m. on October 25. During the public comment period, the Board also invites the public to submit additional proposals for changes to Maine’s WQS.
The Department notes that the revised recommendations differ significantly from the draft recommendations the public previously commented on. The Department no longer recommends seven upgrade proposals to Class AA, and recommends one such proposal in modified form, because of regulatory uncertainties regarding stormwater discharges to Class AA waters. The waters in question are listed on pages 14-16 and 60-67 in the revised recommendations. More information on the reasons for the change in the Department’s position is available on pages 60-67.