As Reported by the House Energy and Environment Committee

125th General Assembly
Regular Session
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 

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

       Sec. 6111.52. The director of environmental protection shall93
use only level three credible data to conduct any of the following94

        (A) Developing, reviewing, and revising use designations in96
water quality standards;97

        (B) Developing a statewide water quality inventory or other98
water assessment report;99

        (C) Identifying, listing, and delisting waters of the state100
for the purpose of section 303(d) of the Federal Water Pollution101
Control Act;102

        (D) Determining whether a water of the state is supporting103
its designated use or other classification;104

       (E) Establishing a total maximum daily load for a water of105
the state.106

       Sec. 6111.53. (A) The director of environmental protection107
shall establish and maintain a water quality monitoring program to108
collect levels one, two, and three credible data for surface water109
monitoring and assessment. In the same manner provided in division 110
(A)(2) of section 6111.51 of the Revised Code, the director shall 111
adopt rules establishing the program. The rules shall describe the 112
training and experience that are required for a person to become a 113
qualified data collector in the program. The requirements shall be 114
commensurate with the type and level of data collected. The rules 115
shall require the training to include a thorough knowledge of 116
applicable sampling protocols and field methods so that the data 117
collection and interpretation are reproducible, scientifically 118
defensible, and free from preconceived bias. The rules shall 119
authorize individuals with the necessary academic credentials and 120
experience to train other persons to be qualified data collectors.121

       The rules also shall require that the data collectors follow122
plans containing data collection methods, sampling and analysis123
methods, and quality assurance and quality control procedures that124
comply with those established in rules adopted under section125
6111.51 of the Revised Code. The rules shall require that the126
plans contain the certification required under division (D) of127
this section. Plans shall not be required under the rules for128
credible data that are collected by the environmental protection129
agency, its contractors, or federal or state environmental130
agencies. Except as otherwise required by a permit issued by an131
agency of the state, by findings and orders issued by the132
director, or pursuant to a court order, plans shall not be133
required under the rules for data that are submitted pursuant to134
the requirements of the permit. The director may develop generic135
plans or generic components of plans for use by qualified data136

        (B) A qualified data collector may submit credible data to138
the director in accordance with a generic plan without submitting139
a plan to the director for approval under division (C) of this140

        (C) In lieu of submitting data pursuant to a generic plan, a 142
qualified data collector who intends to submit credible data to143
the director may submit a site-specific plan that complies with144
the rules adopted under division (A) of this section. If a145
qualified data collector will be assisted by other persons who are146
not qualified data collectors, the plan shall include procedures147
for the supervision of their work to ensure the accuracy of the148
data collection. The plan shall identify whether the data to be149
collected are level one, two, or three credible data. The director 150
shall review the plan to determine if it complies with the rules 151
adopted under division (A) of this section and with this division. 152
After reviewing the plan, the director shall either approve or153
disapprove it. A plan that is not disapproved within sixty days154
shall be considered to have been approved.155

        (D) A person who chooses to submit data for consideration as156
credible data shall document the person's status as a qualified157
data collector, demonstrate compliance with a generic plan or a158
site-specific plan, and certify to the best knowledge and belief159
of the qualified data collector that the credible data were160
collected in accordance with the procedures required by the plan161
developed or approved under this section. The director shall not162
consider data submitted by a qualified data collector that are not163
accompanied by the certification required under this division.164

       No person is required to submit any of the data collected165
pursuant to a plan developed or approved under this section unless166
submission of the data is otherwise required by law, but a person167
submitting some data pursuant to such a plan shall submit all data168
collected pursuant to the plan.169

        (E) The director shall verify that a person submitting data 170
is a qualified data collector, review all data collected by a171
qualified data collector, verify the accuracy of the data, and172
determine that all components of the plan for the collection of173
the data were followed. If the director determines that the data174
are accurate and were collected by a qualified data collector in175
accordance with required procedures, the director shall approve176
the data as credible. The director shall provide the qualified177
data collector with written notice informing the qualified data178
collector as to whether the data have been approved, including the179
level at which the data qualify as credible data.180

        (F) The director shall retain all information submitted by a 181
qualified data collector for a period of not less than ten years182
from the date of receipt. All information submitted is a public183

       Sec. 6111.54. Each state agency in possession of surface185
water quality data shall submit the data to the environmental186
protection agency in a format designated by the director of187
environmental protection. Each such agency shall submit the data188
to the director at the same time that the agency compiles or189
summarizes the data for its own use, but at a minimum shall submit190
the data to the director annually. If the director determines that 191
the data are accurate and were collected in accordance with the 192
rules adopted under section 6111.51 of the Revised Code, the193
director shall approve the data as credible.194

       Sec. 6111.55. Following the adoption of rules under sections195
6111.51 and 6111.53 of the Revised Code, the director of196
environmental protection shall establish and maintain a197
computerized database or databases composed of all credible data 198
in the director's possession and shall make the data available to 199
other agencies and all other interested persons. The data shall be200
stored in such a manner that they are easily retrieved and201
analyzed and are available for sharing with other agencies and all202
other interested persons.203

       Sec. 6111.56. (A) If the source or sources of a pollutant204
causing an impairment of a water of the state are unknown, the205
water of the state may be identified and listed under section206
303(d)of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. However, the207
director of environmental protection shall continue to monitor the208
water of the state to determine the source or sources of the209
impairment before a total maximum daily load is established for210
the water of the state pursuant to that section.211

       (B) The director shall not include a water of the state on a212
list established under section 303(d) of the Federal Water213
Pollution Control Act or establish a total maximum daily load for214
a water of the state if the failure of the water of the state to215
comply with an applicable water quality standard results solely216
from the existence of a naturally occurring condition or217

        (C) The director shall establish narrative water quality219
standards where numerical criteria cannot be established or to220
supplement numerical criteria.221