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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 05-1676



[25 PA. CODE CH. 901]

Proposed Temporary Amendments to the Water Quality Regulations, Water Code and Comprehensive Plan to Extend the Designation of the Lower Delaware River as a Special Protection Water

[35 Pa.B. 5013]

   The Delaware River Basin Commission (Commission) will hold a public hearing to receive comments on a proposed amendment to the Commission's Water Quality Regulations, Water Code, and Comprehensive Plan to extend the temporary classification of the Lower Delaware River as Significant Resource Waters. The temporary classification was enacted by Commission Resolution No. 2005-2 on January 19, 2005, following notice and comment rulemaking. Its effect was to make the Lower Delaware subject to all applicable provisions of the Commission's Special Protection Waters regulations, except those that depend for implementation upon the use of numeric values for existing water quality. Absent further amendment to extend the classification, it will expire on September 30, 2005. The Commission proposes to extend that date by up to 12 months. The classification would thus expire on September 30, 2006, unless the Commission should either permanently classify the Lower Delaware River or once again extend the temporary classification by rule amendment prior to that date.

   The proposed extension is needed because before deciding whether or not to classify certain sections of the Lower Delaware River as Outstanding Basin Waters as originally proposed, and whether to make the temporary Special Protection Waters designation permanent for some or all of the Lower Delaware River, the Commission wishes to fully evaluate implementation options and establish numeric values for existing water quality based upon analysis of a 5-year (2000-2004) data set, for which the final year of data only became available late in 2004. Extension of the temporary designation will protect the exceptional value of the Lower Delaware from degradation during the period required to complete this evaluation and conduct a notice and comment rulemaking process on the numeric values and permanent classification.


   The public hearing will be held on Monday, September 26, 2005 at the Commission's regular business meeting, which will be held at the Commission's office building, located at 25 State Police Drive, West Trenton, New Jersey, beginning at 1:30 p.m. Driving directions are available on the Commission's website, Persons wishing to testify are asked to register in advance with the Commission Secretary, (609) 883-9500, Ext. 203. Written comments will be accepted through the close of the public hearing; however, earlier submittals would be appreciated.

Supplementary Information

   On September 22, 2004, the Delaware River Basin Commission published on its website a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to amend the Water Quality Regulations, Water Code and Comprehensive Plan to designate the Lower Delaware River--the reach between River Mile 209.5, which is the downstream boundary of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, and River Mile 133.4, which is the head of tide at Trenton, NJ--a Special Protection Water. Notice was published in the Federal Register on September 23, 2004 (69 FR 57008), the Delaware Register of Regulations on October 1, 2004, the New Jersey Register on October 4, 2004, the Pennsylvania Bulletin on October 9, 2004, and the New York Register on October 20, 2004. A public hearing was held on October 27, 2004, and the public was invited to comment, either in person at the hearing or in writing through November 30, 2004. During the comment period, the Commission received approximately 250 letters from business, industry, individuals, municipalities and elected officials, including some opposed to designation. It also received between 1,100 and 1,200 letters and petitions in favor of designation. The Commission modified its proposed rule in favor of temporary classification of the Lower Delaware as Significant Resource Waters in part based upon comments received on the proposed action and in part based upon the need for additional analysis before all provisions of the Special Protection Waters regulations could be put into effect in the Lower Delaware.

Further Information, Contacts

   The complete text of Resolution No. 2005-2, temporarily amending the Water Quality Regulations, Water Code, and Comprehensive Plan by designating the Lower Delaware River a Special Protection Water, is available on the Commission's website at or upon request from the Delaware River Basin Commission, P. O. Box 7360, West Trenton, NJ 08628-0360. For further information, contact Pamela M. Bush, Commission Secretary and Assistant General Counsel, Delaware River Basin Commission, at (609) 883, 9500, Ext. 203.

   It is proposed to amend Section 3.10.3.A.2.g.6). of the Water Quality Regulations and Water Code by replacing the last paragraph of that section with the following:

   Sections 3.10.3.A.2.g.2).(b) and 3.10.3.A.2.g.6). shall expire on September 30, 2006, unless extended by amendment to this rule.


   Fiscal Note: 68-46. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.

   (Editor's Note:  For a document relating to this proposal, see 35 Pa.B. 5005 (September 10, 2005.)

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 05-1676. Filed for public inspection September 9, 2005, 9:00 a.m.]

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