Water quality standards are defined by the state, or federal law and are approved by the EPA. They lay out what the conditions of a water body and how they are to be protected. The article below will help you understand some of the basic concepts that can help you understand water quality standards.
The states all must have water quality criteria. The states may have adopt their water quality standards by adopting the EPA recommended criteria, build their own criteria based on their specific conditions within their local area, or adopt criteria from others based on their relatable specifics for their local areas.
The water quality standards can be broken into three different areas. The areas include water body, criteria to protect designated uses, and lastly the anti-degradation requirements. This will also protect the existing use and also the high value waters.
The water quality standards also will require the various states to identify how they expect each body of water to be used within their territory. Some of the typical designations that you will see outlined by a state will be protection for fish and other wildlife, recreation purposes such as boating or swimming, a drinking supply for the public, or agricultural, industrial, or navigational purposes.
Water quality criteria is also used to protect the designated uses for the body of water. The criteria can be laid out in various different methods. For instance, the criteria for the water may be in numeric form. An example, may be that a certain body of water can only have a certain level of concentrated pollutant within it. Another criteria that may be laid out by the state can be narrative. An example of narrative is that a specific body of water must be free from a defined condition. In most cases, states have opted to have both a numeric and narrative criteria on their water.
Anti-degradation is put in place to provide the framework for maintaining and protecting water quality that has previously been achieved. The designated use and the criteria for quality water and both the primary tools that will help achieve the goals for the Clean Water Act. Now anti-degradation requirements are just tools that will compliment these tools.
There is something that we can all do to commit and encourage quality water. We all know our community very well and it is important that you understand the water quality standards for your local area so that you can help. Therefore, make an effort to get informed and get involved in ways to keep the water in your local area clean. You should also look for local events that will help continue to educate you on the quality water standards.