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Water: Module 1

Basic Course: Key Concepts (Module 1.c)

Protecting the Nation’s Waters: EPA’s Role

Module 1. WQS Program Overview

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EPA helps implement the CWA by providing guidance to States and Tribes in the development/revisions of their water quality standards and then conducting final review and approval before States/Tribes can implement them. EPA also provides ongoing support for State/Tribal water quality programs to ensure continued consistency with water quality standards regulations.

Key Point. EPA Regional Offices serve as primary contacts to assist States/Tribes in developing and implementing water quality standards.

Within the Office of Water at EPA Headquarters, the Office of Science and Technology (OST) is responsible for directing the national Water Quality Standards program.

Primary responsibilities include:

  • Providing national guidance, including national recommended water quality criteria, for use by EPA Regional Offices, States, and Tribes.
  • Promulgating water quality standards when a State or Tribe’s standards have been disapproved.

Other important responsibilities include:

  • Supporting Regions as they work with States/Tribes on development and review of water quality standards packages.
  • Coordinating water quality standards issues with other water programs (e.g., permits), as necessary.
  • Coordinating the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Program, which is focused on improving public health and environmental protection for beach goers and providing the public with information about the quality of their beach water.
Video Clip View a 2-minute video clip from the classroom session about EPA and States/Tribes working together on water quality.
Learn More. The role of the other two OST divisions in supporting water quality standards. Proceed to the Learn More Topic. » Note: This link launches a pop-up window

For informational purposes only–Not official statements of EPA policy.

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