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Water: Module 5

Basic Course: Key Concepts (Module 5.b)

Changing a Designated Use: CWA Goals

Module 5. Water Quality Flexibilities

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A designated use and its supporting criteria can be removed/revised from water quality standards when a State or Tribe determines that attaining the use is not feasible. The revision/removal must be supported with appropriate analysis and documentation for the administrative record. Any such revision to water quality standards must be submitted to EPA for review and approval.


Key Point. When the designated use to be revised addresses the CWA 101(a)(2) goals, the State/Tribe must conduct a formal use attainability analysis (UAA), make it available to the public, and then convene a public hearing. This requirement also applies when establishing subcategories of uses if the criteria become less stringent.


Video Clip View a 2-minute video clip from the classroom session about EPA and States/Tribes working together on water quality.

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Question. What is a use attainability analysis?

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A use attainability analysis (UAA) is a structured, scientific assessment of the physical, chemical, biological, and economic factors affecting whether a designated use can be attained.


Key Point. A UAA is required when a State/Tribe is designating uses for the first time that do not address the CWA 101(a)(2) goals or when removing a CWA 101(a) goal use or adopting subcategories for such uses if the new use or subcategory will require less stringent criteria than those associated with the previously designated use. Such a UAA must demonstrate that attaining the CWA 101(a)(2) goals is not feasible.

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

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