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Water: Module 5

Basic Course: Key Concepts (Module 5.g)

Site-Specific Criteria: Addressing Local Conditions

Module 5. Water Quality Flexibilities

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EPA develops recommendations for many water quality criteria that individual States or Tribe's adopt into their water quality standards. By establishing limits on particular chemicals or conditions in a water body, the adopted criteria are relied on to support protection of the State/Tribe's designated uses.

However, States/Tribes also have the flexibility to modify criteria recommendations, if necessary, to establish site-specific criteria that reflect local conditions in a particular water body or a waterbody segment.

Key Point. Site-specific criteria are criteria relevant to a given localized site and that reflect local environmental conditions. Importantly, site-specific criteria for a water body do not alter its designated uses.

When developing site-specific criteria, the State/Tribe must follow established protocols/procedures. The criteria are then subject to EPA review before becoming effective for purposes of the Clean Water Act.

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

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