On May 13, 2013, EPA filed with the US District Court in Tallahassee its "analysis and findings with regard to Florida's Impaired Waters Rule (Rules 62-303.320(4) and 62-303.320(6)(a) F.A.C.)." This is the result in the latest of a series of citizen suits and appeals by the Clean Water Network over whether Florida's TMDL rule and amendments constitute a change to water quality standards.  In its analysis, the EPA concluded that the above-cited provisions are not new or revised water quality standards.  According to the EPA, provisions that merely describe the sufficiency or reliability of information necessary to make an attainment decision and do not change a level of protection are “methodologies” and not “standards” under section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act.

To determine whether the Florida rules were new or revised water quality criteria, EPA devised a two-part analysis:  1) Does it relate to an attainment decision? 2) If so, does the provision change, or establish the magnitude, duration, or frequency related to water quality criteria necessary to support a designated use?

After a line by line analysis of those rules sections, EPA determined that the amended language in those sections relates to the number of samples necessary to perform an assessment and therefore concerns data sufficiency. It does not affect an attainment decision nor does it establish or revise the magnitude, duration or frequency related to water quality criteria. Thus the revisions to those sections do not constitute new or revised water quality standards.