NMMA urges EPA to adopt new standards on copper

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The National Marine Manufacturers Association is urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to adopt the Biotic Ligand Model for use in setting water quality standards for copper in marine and estuarine waters.

The model is used for setting water quality standards for copper in fresh water. Results from tests on marine waters have found that copper in some waterways is not toxic to aquatic life at “significantly higher levels than once thought,” the NMMA said in a newsletter.

“Using BLM to establish standards for individual marine waterways often will reduce the pressure to remove copper from anti-fouling coatings on boats,” the group said. “It will do this by showing that dissolved copper is much less toxic in many areas and will allow for site-specific results. States today have little choice but to use one-size-fits-all standards for toxicity.”

Recently, NMMA staff met with Elizabeth Southerland, director of the Standards and Applied Science Division within the EPA’s Office of Water, along with other industry representatives. After the meeting, the NMMA was encouraged that the EPA is moving to adopt model.

Testing for this method could gain federal approval as early as the spring of 2015.

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