Programs for Standards Implementation
Ecology has three main avenues of water quality standards
implementation to ensure that Washington waters are protected:
- Water Quality Assessments: The Water Quality Assessment
process provides a comprehensive list of impaired waters in the state.
Washington State's Water Quality Assessment lists the status of water
quality for a particular location in one of 5 categories recommended by EPA.
This assessment represents the Integrated Report for Sections 303(d) and
305(b) of the Clean Water Act:
- Categories 1 – 4 represent the status of waters for the 305(b) Report.
- Category 5 represents those waters placed on the 303(d) list.
For more information on water quality assessments see the
Water Quality Assessment web site.
- Total Maximum Loads (TMDLs): The Water Quality Program
leads a TMDL process used in coordination with the Environmental Assessment Program
process provides studies and reports on the current health of waters in the
state along with the water quality assessments. TMDLs are
- Wasteload allocations, inserted as pollutant limits in permits by
the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program to point source dischargers.
(See below for more information on the NPDES program.)
- Load allocations and non-regulatory programs for nonpoint sources.
For more information on TMDLs see the TMDL web site.
- National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
Permits: The NPDES permit
program protects waters from polluted discharges. Wastewater and stormwater
releases are regulated primarily by wastewater discharge permits, which
stipulate specific limits and conditions of allowable discharge.
Spreadsheets for water quality-based NPDES
permit calculations are available.
Guidance for implementing
temperature criteria is also available.
For more information on NPDES permits see the
Permits - Point Source Pollution web site.
- Water Quality Pollution
Trading: Pollution trading, sometimes called water quality credit
trading, uses the market concept to help achieve water quality goals. The
objective of a water quality credit-trading program is to facilitate
economic exchanges that demonstrably reduce pollution and clean up impaired
surface waters more quickly.
For more information on water quality pollution trading see EPA’s water quality trading page:
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Last updated July 2011
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