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Water: Water Quality Standards

Water Quality Standards Regulations and Federally Promulgated Standards


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 Federal Water Quality Standard Regulations

The Water Quality Standards Regulation (40 CFR 131) establishes the requirements for states and tribes to review, revise, and adopt water quality standards. It also establishes the procedures for EPA to review, approve, disapprove, and promulgate water quality standards pursuant to section 303 (c) of the Clean Water Act.

The Water Quality Guidance for the Great Lakes System, issued in 1995, establishes required minimum standards, antidegradation policies, and implementation procedures for waters of the Great Lakes system. This includes special requirements for bioaccumulative chemicals of concern. The eight Great Lakes states were required to adopt water quality standards as protective as these requirements within two years (by 1997).

For State and Tribal Standards, please go to our Repository of State, Tribal, and Territorial Water Quality Standards.


Federally Proposed or Promulgated Standards

Federal Standards Applicable to Specific States or Territories

In instances when state-specific water quality standards have not been developed or approved by EPA, the Agency will propose and/or promulgate standards for a state until such time as the state submits and EPA approves their own standards.

To view a particular state’s federally-promulgated replacement water quality standards, click on the map or use the drop down menu below. To view state, tribal and territorial standards that EPA has approved or are otherwise in effect for Clean Water Act purposes, visit the Water Quality Standards Repository.


Browse Federal Water Quality Standards

Choose a state from the map or list below. 

Tribes | Territories

Map AlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareWashington, DCFloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaAmerican Samoa and Northern Mariana IslandsGuamOhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaPuerto RicoRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyomingUS Virgin IslandsTrust Territories


Federal Standards Applicable to Multiple States

National Toxics Rule (NTR) Promulgation and Withdrawals

This rule promulgated for 14 States the chemical-specific, numeric criteria for priority toxic pollutants necessary to bring all States into compliance with the requirements of section 303(c)(2)(B) of the Clean Water Act (CWA). States determined by EPA in 1992 to fully comply with section 303(c)(2)(B) requirements are not affected by this rule.

Federal standards currently applicable under the NTR.

Individual actions to establish and amend the standards, listed in chronological order, newest first.

Federal Promulgations Under the Great Lakes Initiative

The Water Quality Guidance for the Great Lakes System, issued in 1995, establishes required minimum standards, antidegradation policies, and implementation procedures for waters of the Great Lakes system. This includes special requirements for bioaccumulative chemicals of concern.

Final Water Quality Guidance for the Great Lakes System

The eight Great Lakes states were required to adopt water quality standards as protective as these requirements within two years (by 1997). In a few cases EPA found deficiencies in state provisions and promulgated federal replacements to be in effect until the state makes acceptable revisions. The federal replacement provisions currently in effect are available at Application of part 132 requirements in Great Lakes States and Tribes. The final rules establishing these provisions are shown below.

Federal Promulgations under the BEACH Act

Enacted in 2000 to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to improve the quality of coastal recreation waters, and covers the coastal and Great Lakes states.


Standards Applicable in Indian County

Consistent with the statutory requirement of section 518 of the Clean Water Act, the Water Quality Standards Regulation establishes procedures by which an Indian Tribe may qualify for the water quality standards. If EPA determines that a Tribe possesses authority to regulate water quality on a reservation but the Tribe declines to seek authority to administer the water quality standards program, EPA has the authority under section 303 of the Act to promulgate Federal water quality standards.


Federal Clean Water Act Determinations that New or Revised Standards Are Necessary

EPA has issued the following determinations under Clean Water Act section 303(c)(4)(B) that new or revised standards are necessary. EPA may propose federal replacement standards in these cases if the state does not adopt standards consistent with the Act.


Paperwork Reduction Act Information Collection Requests (ICRs)

Pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act, EPA has been approved by the federal Office of Management and Budget under OMB Control No. 2040-0049 to collect certain information from states and tribes, including state and tribal submissions of new and revised standards. Here is a link to EPA's most recent request to renew this approval. The previous approval remains in effect until this renewal is approved.

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