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Idaho Copper Criteria for Aquatic Life

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, September 12, 2017


Idaho initiated rulemaking to update the Copper criteria for aquatic life in 2015.  The use of the biotic ligand model (BLM), with ten water and effluent parameters instead of hardness alone, will provide a more accurate estimate of the actual criteria.  AIC does not anticipate that the copper BLM will trigger limits for most facilities.   However, cities with major waste/reclaimed water facilities (i.e., those that discharge 5 or more million gallons per day) or with industrial dischargers should consider the collection of these additional data.

August 2017 Implementation Guidance for the Idaho Copper Criteria for Aquatic Life states that 24 monthly data points over the course of a year will provide appropriate data for a given site (see pg. 20).  The BLM calculates what the water quality criteria (WQC) would be on that specific day, under those specific conditions.  So, if a city collected 24 monthly samples, the BLM would calculate the WQC 24 times.  

BLM data collected in receiving waters downstream of point source discharges will provide the basis for applicable BLM criteria.  AIC supports this approach because it will provide the best science-based local dataset that will be representative of BLM constituents in both the receiving water and the effluent after mixing.  Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and pH are key parameters used in the development of the BLM.  
The negotiated rulemaking concluded in July 2017.  Materials from the rulemaking can be accessed through this link: 


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