SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a proposed federal Clean Water Act rule that will tighten the current selenium water quality criteria for the waters of San Francisco Bay and Delta.
The EPA believes the change will work to protect aquatic species from harmful selenium exposure. Species that are often affected by such things include salmon, smelt and diving ducks, all of which depend on the bay and delta ecosystem.
“Reducing selenium in the San Francisco Bay and Delta will benefit the wildlife that are part of this critical ecosystem,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s acting regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “This proposal is based on years of scientific study and will accelerate the restoration of the bay and delta.”
Previous state and federal regulatory requirements had reduced selenium levels from agricultural runoff and oil refinery discharges. The EPA originally set selenium limits for the bay and delta in 1992, but it wants to further tighten the limits to 0.2 parts per billion after recent research on the region.
The proposed rule will enter a 60-day public comment period, after which time it will be published in the Federal Register.