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News Release

RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462

For Release:

April 17, 2000


Gail Mastrati 222-4700 ext. 2402
Stephanie Powell 222-4700 ext. 4418


PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management will hold a public hearing on two proposed amendments to the state's water quality regulations on Monday, May 1.

The existing water quality regulations prohibit new discharges into Class A and SA waters except for those types specifically listed in the regulations or those that serve a compelling public purpose, provided they comply with discharge requirements. Class A and SA are the highest classifications for fresh and salt waters, respectively. As such, the highest water quality goals are designated to water bodies with these classifications to afford maximum protection.

One proposed change is to include salt solution from desalinization units into the select group of allowable discharges to SA waters.

The second proposed change would revise the freshwater ammonia criteria in discharges to account for the impact of water temperature. The proposed change in ammonia criteria mirrors federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations enacted last year that drew upon new research showing that ammonia toxicity is related to water temperature as well as pH. The new criteria will affect wastewater dischargers differently and result in either more or less stringent permit limits. DEM has already initiated discussions with staff from the affected wastewater treatment facilities, and will work with them to facilitate compliance once the proposed regulation is finalized.

The May 1 hearing will be held at 2 p.m. in Room 300 at DEM Headquarters, 235 Promenade Street, in Providence. The public comment period will be kept open until 4 p.m. on May 2 to allow additional time for the submission of written comments to Connie Carey at DEM's Office of Water Resources at DEM Headquarters.

Copies of the proposed amendments to the regulations can be obtained at DEM's Office of Water Resources at DEM Headquarters on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by calling 222-3961, ext. 7216. They can also be found on the DEM website at

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