(1) The director of environmental protection shall adopt rules that establish criteria for three levels of credible data related to surface water monitoring and assessment. The rules pertaining to each level shall establish requirements for data assessment, sample collection and analytical methods, and quality assurance and quality control procedures that must be followed in order to classify data as credible at that level. The rules shall provide that level three credible data are collected by employing the most stringent methods and procedures, level two credible data are collected using methods and procedures that are less stringent than methods and procedures used to collect level three credible data, but more stringent than methods and procedures used to collect level one, and level one credible data are collected by employing the least stringent methods and procedures.
The requirements established in the rules for each level of credible data shall be commensurate with, and no more stringent than necessary to support, the purposes for which the data will be used. In adopting rules under this section, the director shall consider the cost of data collection methods and procedures to persons or entities collecting data, and the burden of compliance with those methods and procedures for those persons or entities, while ensuring the degree of accuracy commensurate with the purpose for which the data will be used. No data shall be classified as credible data unless they have been collected in compliance with the applicable methods and procedures for collecting the data established in rules adopted under this section.
(2) The director shall file the rules required to be adopted under division (A)(1) of this section with the secretary of state, the director of the legislative service commission, and the joint committee on agency rule review in accordance with divisions (B) and (H) of section 119.03 of the Revised Code not later than one year after the effective date of this section. As soon as practicable thereafter, the director shall proceed to adopt the rules in accordance with all other applicable provisions of Chapter 119. of the Revised Code.
(2) Levels two and three credible data shall be used for the purpose of evaluating the effectiveness of pollution controls for point sources and nonpoint sources and initial screening of water quality problems to determine if additional study is needed.
(3) Levels one, two, and three credible data shall be used for public awareness and education activities.
(C) No data shall be considered credible unless the data originate from studies and samples collected by the environmental protection agency, its contractors, federal or state environmental agencies, or qualified data collectors. However, data submitted pursuant to the requirements of a permit issued by an agency of the state or submitted as a result of findings and orders issued by the director or pursuant to a court order shall be considered credible unless the director identifies reasons why the data are not credible.
(D) If the director has obtained credible data for a surface water, the director also may use historical data for the purpose of determining whether any water quality trends exist for that surface water.
(F) The director's use of credible data shall be consistent with the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.
Effective Date: 10-21-2003