As Passed by the Senate

125th General Assembly
Regular Session
Am. H. B. No. 43

Representatives Core, Willamowski, Collier, Seitz, Hollister, Gibbs, Olman, Hagan, Widener, Calvert, Hartnett, McGregor, Reinhard, Setzer, Schaffer, Gilb, Jolivette, Woodard, Carmichael, Otterman, Allen, Strahorn, Williams, White, Carano, Flowers, Ujvagi, Webster, Perry, Seaver, DeBose, Niehaus, Domenick, Book, Brown, Buehrer, Cates, Chandler, Cirelli, Clancy, Daniels, DeWine, Distel, D. Evans, Faber, Hoops, Hughes, Kearns, Key, S. Patton, T. Patton, Peterson, Raussen, Redfern, Reidelbach, Schlichter, Schneider, S. Smith, J. Stewart, Taylor, Trakas, Wagner, Widowfield, Yates 

Senators Spada, Roberts, Robert Gardner, Hagan, Armbruster, Austria, Schuler, Mumper, DiDonato 

To enact sections 6111.50 to 6111.56 of the Revised1
Code to establish requirements for the use of2
credible data in administering the Water Pollution3
Control Law.4


       Section 1. That sections 6111.50, 6111.51, 6111.52, 6111.53,5
6111.54, 6111.55, and 6111.56 of the Revised Code be enacted to6
read as follows:7

       Sec. 6111.50. As used in sections 6111.50 to 6111.56 of the8
Revised Code:9

        (A) "Credible data" means scientifically valid chemical,10
physical, or biological water quality monitoring data concerning11
surface waters, including qualitative scoring of physical habitat12
characteristics and the sampling of fish, macroinvertebrates, and13
water quality, that have been collected by or submitted to the14
director of environmental protection and that comply with the15
requirements established in rules adopted under section 6111.51 of 16
the Revised Code. "Credible data" may include historical data if17
the director identifies compelling reasons as to why the data are18

        (B) "Historical data" means data that are more than five20
years old.21

        (C) "Naturally occurring condition" means any condition22
affecting water quality that is not caused by human influence on23
the environment, including, but not limited to, soils, geology,24
hydrology, climate, wildlife, and water flow with specific25
consideration given to seasonal and other natural variations.26

        (D) "Qualified data collector" means an individual who meets 27
the requirements established in rules adopted under section28
6111.53 of the Revised Code.29

       Sec. 6111.51. (A)(1) The director of environmental protection30
shall adopt rules that establish criteria for three levels of31
credible data related to surface water monitoring and assessment.32
The rules pertaining to each level shall establish requirements33
for data assessment, sample collection and analytical methods, and34
quality assurance and quality control procedures that must be35
followed in order to classify data as credible at that level. The36
rules shall provide that level three credible data are collected37
by employing the most stringent methods and procedures, level two38
credible data are collected using methods and procedures that are39
less stringent than methods and procedures used to collect level40
three credible data, but more stringent than methods and41
procedures used to collect level one, and level one credible data42
are collected by employing the least stringent methods and43

       The requirements established in the rules for each level of45
credible data shall be commensurate with, and no more stringent46
than necessary to support, the purposes for which the data will be47
used. In adopting rules under this section, the director shall48
consider the cost of data collection methods and procedures to49
persons or entities collecting data, and the burden of compliance50
with those methods and procedures for those persons or entities,51
while ensuring the degree of accuracy commensurate with the52
purpose for which the data will be used. No data shall be53
classified as credible data unless they have been collected in54
compliance with the applicable methods and procedures for55
collecting the data established in rules adopted under this56

       (2) The director shall file the rules required to be adopted58
under division (A)(1) of this section with the secretary of state,59
the director of the legislative service commission, and the joint60
committee on agency rule review in accordance with divisions (B)61
and (H) of section 119.03 of the Revised Code not later than one62
year after the effective date of this section. As soon as63
practicable thereafter, the director shall proceed to adopt the64
rules in accordance with all other applicable provisions of65
Chapter 119. of the Revised Code.66

       (B)(1) Level three credible data shall be used for the67
purposes specified in section 6111.52 of the Revised Code.68

       (2) Levels two and three credible data shall be used for the69
purpose of evaluating the effectiveness of pollution controls for70
point sources and nonpoint sources and initial screening of water71
quality problems to determine if additional study is needed.72

       (3) Levels one, two, and three credible data shall be used73
for public awareness and education activities.74

        (C) No data shall be considered credible unless the data75
originate from studies and samples collected by the environmental76
protection agency, its contractors, federal or state environmental77
agencies, or qualified data collectors. However, data submitted78
pursuant to the requirements of a permit issued by an agency of79
the state or submitted as a result of findings and orders issued80
by the director or pursuant to a court order shall be considered81
credible unless the director identifies reasons why the data are82
not credible.83

        (D) If the director has obtained credible data for a surface 84
water, the director also may use historical data for the purpose 85
of determining whether any water quality trends exist for that 86
surface water.87

        (E) Sections 6111.50 to 6111.56 of the Revised Code do not88
apply to civil or criminal enforcement actions brought under89
section 6111.07 of the Revised Code.90

       (F) The director's use of credible data shall be consistent91
with the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.92

       (G) Nothing in sections 6111.50 to 6111.56 of the Revised 93
Code is an exception to statutory, common, or municipal law of 94

       Sec. 6111.52. The director of environmental protection shall96
use only level three credible data to conduct any of the following97

        (A) Developing, reviewing, and revising use designations in99
water quality standards;100

        (B) Developing a statewide water quality inventory or other101
water assessment report;102

        (C) Identifying, listing, and delisting waters of the state103
for the purpose of section 303(d) of the Federal Water Pollution104
Control Act;105

        (D) Determining whether a water of the state is supporting106
its designated use or other classification;107

       (E) Establishing a total maximum daily load for a water of108
the state.109

       Sec. 6111.53. (A) The director of environmental protection110
shall establish and maintain a water quality monitoring program to111
collect levels one, two, and three credible data for surface water112
monitoring and assessment. In the same manner provided in division 113
(A)(2) of section 6111.51 of the Revised Code, the director shall 114
adopt rules establishing the program. The rules shall describe the 115
training and experience that are required for a person to become a 116
qualified data collector in the program. The requirements shall be 117
commensurate with the type and level of data collected. The rules 118
shall require the training to include a thorough knowledge of 119
applicable sampling protocols and field methods so that the data 120
collection and interpretation are reproducible, scientifically 121
defensible, and free from preconceived bias. The rules shall 122
authorize individuals with the necessary academic credentials and 123
experience to train other persons to be qualified data collectors.124

       The rules also shall require that the data collectors follow125
plans containing data collection methods, sampling and analysis126
methods, and quality assurance and quality control procedures that127
comply with those established in rules adopted under section128
6111.51 of the Revised Code. The rules shall require that the129
plans contain the certification required under division (D) of130
this section. Plans shall not be required under the rules for131
credible data that are collected by the environmental protection132
agency, its contractors, or federal or state environmental133
agencies. Except as otherwise required by a permit issued by an134
agency of the state, by findings and orders issued by the135
director, or pursuant to a court order, plans shall not be136
required under the rules for data that are submitted pursuant to137
the requirements of the permit. The director may develop generic138
plans or generic components of plans for use by qualified data139

        (B) A qualified data collector may submit credible data to141
the director in accordance with a generic plan without submitting142
a plan to the director for approval under division (C) of this143

        (C) In lieu of submitting data pursuant to a generic plan, a 145
qualified data collector who intends to submit credible data to146
the director may submit a site-specific plan that complies with147
the rules adopted under division (A) of this section. If a148
qualified data collector will be assisted by other persons who are149
not qualified data collectors, the plan shall include procedures150
for the supervision of their work to ensure the accuracy of the151
data collection. The plan shall identify whether the data to be152
collected are level one, two, or three credible data. The director 153
shall review the plan to determine if it complies with the rules 154
adopted under division (A) of this section and with this division. 155
After reviewing the plan, the director shall either approve or156
disapprove it. A plan that is not disapproved within sixty days157
shall be considered to have been approved.158

        (D) A person who chooses to submit data for consideration as159
credible data shall document the person's status as a qualified160
data collector, demonstrate compliance with a generic plan or a161
site-specific plan, certify to the best knowledge and belief of 162
the qualified data collector that the credible data were collected 163
in accordance with the procedures required by the plan developed 164
or approved under this section, and certify that the person has 165
not been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a violation of section 166
2911.21 of the Revised Code or a substantially similar municipal 167
ordinance within the previous five years. The director shall not168
consider data submitted by a qualified data collector that are not169
accompanied by the certification required under this division.170

       No person is required to submit any of the data collected171
pursuant to a plan developed or approved under this section unless172
submission of the data is otherwise required by law, but a person173
submitting some data pursuant to such a plan shall submit all data174
collected pursuant to the plan.175

        (E) The director shall verify that a person submitting data 176
is a qualified data collector, review all data collected by a177
qualified data collector, and determine that all components of the 178
plan for the collection of the data were followed. If the director 179
determines that the data were collected by a qualified data 180
collector in accordance with required procedures, the director 181
shall approve the data as credible. The director shall provide the 182
qualified data collector with written notice informing the 183
qualified data collector as to whether the data have been 184
approved, including the level at which the data qualify as 185
credible data.186

        (F) The director shall retain all information submitted by a 187
qualified data collector for a period of not less than ten years188
from the date of receipt. All information submitted is a public189

       Sec. 6111.54. Each state agency in possession of surface191
water quality data shall submit the data to the environmental192
protection agency in a format designated by the director of193
environmental protection. Each such agency shall submit the data194
to the director at the same time that the agency compiles or195
summarizes the data for its own use, but at a minimum shall submit196
the data to the director annually. If the director determines that 197
the data were collected in accordance with the rules adopted under 198
section 6111.51 of the Revised Code, the director shall approve 199
the data as credible.200

       Sec. 6111.55. Following the adoption of rules under sections201
6111.51 and 6111.53 of the Revised Code, the director of202
environmental protection shall establish and maintain a203
computerized database or databases composed of all credible data 204
in the director's possession and shall make the data available to 205
other agencies and all other interested persons. The data shall be206
stored in such a manner that they are easily retrieved and207
analyzed and are available for sharing with other agencies and all208
other interested persons.209

       Sec. 6111.56. (A) If the source or sources of a pollutant210
causing an impairment of a water of the state are unknown, the211
water of the state may be identified and listed under section212
303(d)of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. However, the213
director of environmental protection shall continue to monitor the214
water of the state to determine the source or sources of the215
impairment before a total maximum daily load is established for216
the water of the state pursuant to that section.217

       (B) The director shall not include a water of the state on a218
list established under section 303(d) of the Federal Water219
Pollution Control Act or establish a total maximum daily load for220
a water of the state if the failure of the water of the state to221
comply with an applicable water quality standard results solely222
from the existence of a naturally occurring condition or223

        (C) The director shall establish narrative water quality225
standards where numerical criteria cannot be established or to226
supplement numerical criteria.227