Peer Review Committee Formed by Florida DEP to Review Human Health-Based Water Quality Criteria

As part of the Triennial Review of water quality standards, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) formed a peer review committee that will be comprised of scientific experts not employed by the FDEP.  The committee will perform a technical review of the FDEP’s methodology utilized by FDEP when revising the human health-based water quality criteria for the FDEP’s surface water quality standards.  The discussion will include the probabilistic approach taken by the FDEP, toxicological input variables, exposure input variables, landings adjustment for fish consumption, appropriate risk levels, and appropriate duration expression of the proposed criteria.

Comprised of university and agency representatives, the committee members include:  Dr. Charles Jagoe (Florida A&M University), Dr. Elizabeth Doyle (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), Dr. Kendra Goff (Florida Department of Health), Dr. Raymond Harbison (University of South Florida), Dr. Steve Roberts (University of Florida), and Dr. Susan Klasing (California Environmental Protection Agency).  Dr. Roberts will facilitate the discussion.

FDEP formed the committee in response to public comments, which have been critical of the agency’s ongoing Triennial Review.  In general, the comments have focused on:

  • The department has identified no health risk or issue in Florida waters that the rule would remedy or address.
  • The department has made no demonstration of cause and effect.
  • The data used in developing the draft rule is faulty.  The fish consumption data is almost 2 decades old.
  • It would discourage consumption of fish, further impacting the recreational and sports fishing industries in Florida.
  • The rule would impose major cost and regulatory burdens on Florida agriculture, business and local government without any demonstrable benefits.

Following a series of public workshops in May, July, and August 2012, the peer review committee will hold a public workshop in Tallahassee, Florida.  The two-day meeting will occur on Monday, October 8, 2012, from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., and Tuesday, October 9, 2012, from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  The location will be Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Marjory Stoneman Douglas Building, 3900 Commonwealth Boulevard, Conference Room A, Tallahassee, Florida.  FDEP requested that comments be submitted by email by September 18, 2012, for submittal to the committee prior to the meeting.

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