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Water: Water Quality Standards

Water Quality Standards Database

Pictures of water pouring, fishing, fish, SCUBA diving, and a mountain lake

EPA provides access to information about water bodies throughout the US.


This is the final release of the WQSDB—it will not be updated. (For future plans, see the Release 9 Fact Sheet.) You can see the WQS documents upon which the WQSDB information was based and access state WQS program webpages. You are also able to download pre-formatted reports, and copies of the database.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

The National Water Quality Standards Database (WQSDB) provides access to EPA and state water quality standards (WQS) information in text, tables, and maps. This update is the ninth since April 2001 (more information about this update).

You can access WQS reports with information about designated uses, waterbody names, state numeric water quality criteria, and EPA recommended numeric water quality criteria. Using standard reports, you can compare WQS information across the nation.

Direct access to Water Quality Standards information has many benefits, including enabling more informed public participation in the WQS process envisioned by the Clean Water Act. As part of EPA's efforts to enhance access to WQS information, we are assisting states in establishing state-level WQS databases on their Internet sites, so their information can be kept up to date as states revise their standards. (More information on this initiative is provided in the Release 9 Fact Sheet.)

Currently, the WQSDB organizes and displays WQS information by waterbody in a systematic format. This information has been verified and approved by 54 states, tribes, and territories. In the future, states will use either their own database or a copy of the WQSDB to manage their WQS information.

Background information, including disclaimers, about the WQSDB is available. A brief summary of the enhancements for version 9 includes a short demonstration (PDF) (17 pp, 1.1MB; About PDF) of each report.

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