Skip to main content


The full text article is not available for purchase.

The publisher only permits individual articles to be downloaded by subscribers.

or click here to sign up for a free trial


EPA does not recommend a national water quality standard for sulfate; therefore, the State of Illinois has adopted its own standards for specific designated uses of waters. USEPA and IEPA identified a conflict between a 3,500 mg/L daily maximum specific for waters receiving coal mine discharges and a 500 mg/L standard for waters designated as general use, for what, on paper, is the same designated use of receiving waters. The elimination of the 3,500 mg/L daily maximum sulfate standard specific to waters receiving coal mining discharge was proposed, resulting in the application of the general use sulfate standard of 500 mg/L to all surface waters. IEPA determined the 500 mg/L standard was overly stringent as a General Use standard protective of aquatic organisms and cause for a significant economic burden to the coal industry. IEPA and the Illinois Coal Association (ICA) initiated an effort to develop an alternative general use sulfate standard. ADVENT-ENVIRON's contribution included an unsuccessful attempt at re-deriving water quality criteria using the traditional approach and an evaluation existing aquatic field data to determine ecosystem health versus sulfate concentrations relationships that verify biological sulfate tolerance.

A review of toxicity data indicated a concentration of 2,000-mg/L sulfate would be protective of resident aquatic organisms. We also reviewed water-quality based biological survey data from within the coal mining regions of Illinois to field-verify that 2,000 mg/L sulfate was protective of resident sulfate-sensitive aquatic organisms. The statewide application of a proposed General Use standard of 2,000 mg/L sulfate is currently being reviewed by IEPA.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

    WEF Members: Sign in (right panel) with your IngentaConnect user name and password to receive complimentary access.
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • About WEF Proceedings
  • WEFTEC Conference Information
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more