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Water: Water Quality Standards

Water Quality Standards for Surface Waters


Water Quality Standards protect uses of water bodies including streams and wetlands. Find out more about these types of waters here!

Water Quality Standards are the foundation of the water quality-based pollution control program mandated by the Clean Water Act. Water Quality Standards define the goals for a waterbody by designating its uses, setting criteria to protect those uses, and establishing provisions such as antidegradation policies to protect waterbodies from pollutants.

Drinking Water Standards are found elsewhere on our website.

Where You Live
Regional and state specific information.

Basic Information
The importance of Water Quality Standards and how they fit into overall water quality protection. Fact sheet (PDF) (2 pp, 204K, About PDF)

Water Quality Standards Regulations and Federally Promulgated Standards
Listing of federal water quality standards rules, Clean Water Act determinations and Paperwork Reduction Act information collection requests.

Policy & Guidance: Water Quality Standards Handbook
The Water Quality Standards Handbook is the central repository for policy and guidance to help states, tribes, & territories comply with federal regulations addressing water quality standards. If you are looking for a specific document related to water quality standards, try our Policy and Guidance Library.

State, Tribal & Territorial Standards
A repository of the current standards for all waters of the U.S.

Training, Meetings & Outreach Materials
We offer courses, conduct public meetings, and provide resources to help you understand the basics and new developments.

Partnership with Tribes
See how to establish standards for federally recognized tribes.

Regional Coordinators
Points of contact for specific states and regions.

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