States may adopt WQS variances, as defined in § 131.3(o). Such a WQS variance is subject to the provisions of this section and public participation requirements at § 131.20(b). A WQS variance is a water quality standard subject to EPA review and approval or disapproval.
(a) Applicability. (1) A WQS variance may be adopted for a permittee(s) or water body/waterbody segment(s), but only applies to the permittee(s) or water body/waterbody segment(s) specified in the WQS variance.
(2) Where a State adopts a WQS variance, the State must retain, in its standards, the underlying designated use and criterion addressed by the WQS variance, unless the State adopts and EPA approves a revision to the underlying designated use and criterion consistent with §§ 131.10 and 131.11. All other applicable standards not specifically addressed by the WQS variance remain applicable.
(3) A WQS variance, once adopted by the State and approved by EPA, shall be the applicable standard for purposes of the Act under § 131.21(d) through (e), for the following limited purposes. An approved WQS variance applies for the purposes of developing NPDES permit limits and requirements under 301(b)(1)(C), where appropriate, consistent with paragraph (a)(1) of this section. States and other certifying entities may also use an approved WQS variance when issuing certifications under section 401 of the Act.
(4) A State may not adopt WQS variances if the designated use and criterion addressed by the WQS variance can be achieved by implementing technology-based effluent limits required under sections 301(b) and 306 of the Act.
(b) Requirements for Submission to EPA. (1) A WQS variance must include:
(i) Identification of the pollutant(s) or water quality parameter(s), and the water body/waterbody segment(s) to which the WQS variance applies. Discharger(s)-specific WQS variances must also identify the permittee(s) subject to the WQS variance.
(ii) The requirements that apply throughout the term of the WQS variance. The requirements shall represent the highest attainable condition of the water body or waterbody segment applicable throughout the term of the WQS variance based on the documentation required in (b)(2) of this section. The requirements shall not result in any lowering of the currently attained ambient water quality, unless a WQS variance is necessary for restoration activities, consistent with paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A)(2) of this section. The State must specify the highest attainable condition of the water body or waterbody segment as a quantifiable expression that is one of the following:
(A) For discharger(s)-specific WQS variances:
(1) The highest attainable interim criterion; or
(2) The interim effluent condition that reflects the greatest pollutant reduction achievable; or
(3) If no additional feasible pollutant control technology can be identified, the interim criterion or interim effluent condition that reflects the greatest pollutant reduction achievable with the pollutant control technologies installed at the time the State adopts the WQS variance, and the adoption and implementation of a Pollutant Minimization Program.
(B) For WQS variances applicable to a water body or waterbody segment:
(1) The highest attainable interim use and interim criterion; or
(2) If no additional feasible pollutant control technology can be identified, the interim use and interim criterion that reflect the greatest pollutant reduction achievable with the pollutant control technologies installed at the time the State adopts the WQS variance, and the adoption and implementation of a Pollutant Minimization Program.
(iii) A statement providing that the requirements of the WQS variance are either the highest attainable condition identified at the time of the adoption of the WQS variance, or the highest attainable condition later identified during any reevaluation consistent with paragraph (b)(1)(v) of this section, whichever is more stringent.
(iv) The term of the WQS variance, expressed as an interval of time from the date of EPA approval or a specific date. The term of the WQS variance must only be as long as necessary to achieve the highest attainable condition and consistent with the demonstration provided in paragraph (b)(2) of this section. The State may adopt a subsequent WQS variance consistent with this section.
(v) For a WQS variance with a term greater than five years, a specified frequency to reevaluate the highest attainable condition using all existing and readily available information and a provision specifying how the State intends to obtain public input on the reevaluation. Such reevaluations must occur no less frequently than every five years after EPA approval of the WQS variance and the results of such reevaluation must be submitted to EPA within 30 days of completion of the reevaluation.
(vi) A provision that the WQS variance will no longer be the applicable water quality standard for purposes of the Act if the State does not conduct a reevaluation consistent with the frequency specified in the WQS variance or the results are not submitted to EPA as required by (b)(1)(v) of this section.
(2) The supporting documentation must include:
(i) Documentation demonstrating the need for a WQS variance.
(A) For a WQS variance to a use specified in section 101(a)(2) of the Act or a sub-category of such a use, the State must demonstrate that attaining the designated use and criterion is not feasible throughout the term of the WQS variance because:
(1) One of the factors listed in § 131.10(g) is met, or
(2) Actions necessary to facilitate lake, wetland, or stream restoration through dam removal or other significant reconfiguration activities preclude attainment of the designated use and criterion while the actions are being implemented.
(B) For a WQS variance to a non-101(a)(2) use, the State must submit documentation justifying how its consideration of the use and value of the water for those uses listed in § 131.10(a) appropriately supports the WQS variance and term. A demonstration consistent with paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A) of this section may be used to satisfy this requirement.
(ii) Documentation demonstrating that the term of the WQS variance is only as long as necessary to achieve the highest attainable condition. Such documentation must justify the term of the WQS variance by describing the pollutant control activities to achieve the highest attainable condition, including those activities identified through a Pollutant Minimization Program, which serve as milestones for the WQS variance.
(iii) In addition to paragraphs (b)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section, for a WQS variance that applies to a water body or waterbody segment:
(A) Identification and documentation of any cost-effective and reasonable best management practices for nonpoint source controls related to the pollutant(s) or water quality parameter(s) and water body or waterbody segment(s) specified in the WQS variance that could be implemented to make progress towards attaining the underlying designated use and criterion. A State must provide public notice and comment for any such documentation.
(B) Any subsequent WQS variance for a water body or waterbody segment must include documentation of whether and to what extent best management practices for nonpoint source controls were implemented to address the pollutant(s) or water quality parameter(s) subject to the WQS variance and the water quality progress achieved.
(c) Implementing WQS variances in NPDES permits. A WQS variance serves as the applicable water quality standard for implementing NPDES permitting requirements pursuant to § 122.44(d) of this chapter for the term of the WQS variance. Any limitations and requirements necessary to implement the WQS variance shall be included as enforceable conditions of the NPDES permit for the permittee(s) subject to the WQS variance.
According to the National Water Quality Inventory, 70 percent of lakes, reservoirs, and ponds; 78 percent of bays and estuaries; and 55 percent of rivers and streams assessed in the U.S. are impaired by pollution and do not meet minimum water quality standards.What are the requirements for water quality? ›
Water quality standards consist of three core components. This includes designated uses of a water body, criteria to protect designated uses, and antidegradation requirements to protect existing uses and high quality/high value waters.What federal law sets quality standards for surface waters? ›
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) was passed by Congress in 1974, with amendments added in 1986 and 1996, to protect our drinking water. Under the SDWA, EPA sets the standards for drinking water quality and monitors states, local authorities, and water suppliers who enforce those standards.What is the difference between water quality criteria and standards? ›
Water quality standards are regulations that include designated uses and water quality criteria to protect those uses. The criteria adopted and incorporated into the standards are the allowable concentrations of pollutants in State, Territory and authorized Tribal waters.What percentage of U.S. waters are not safe enough to swim or fish in? ›
50% of U.S. Lakes and Rivers Are Too Polluted for Swimming, Fishing, Drinking. Fifty years ago, the U.S. passed the Clean Water Act with the goal of ensuring “fishable, swimmable” water across the U.S. by 1983.How many people in the US don't have access to clean water? ›
More than 46 million people in the U.S. live with water insecurity—either no running water or water that may be unsafe to drink.What are the three components of water quality standards? ›
A water quality standard consists of three elements: (1) the designated beneficial use or uses of a waterbody or segment of a waterbody: (2) the water quality criteria necessary to protect the use or uses of that particular waterbody; and (3) an antidegradation policy.What are the 3 criteria used to assess water quality? ›
Water quality standards consist of three components: antidegradation, designated uses and water quality criteria. Water quality criteria represent the quality of water that supports a particular designated use.What are the 3 main water quality parameters? ›
There are three types of water quality parameters physical, chemical, and biological [8, 9].What is Section 316 B of the Clean Water Act CWA? ›
Section 316(b) requires that the location, design, construction and capacity of cooling water intake structures reflect the best technology available (BTA) for minimizing adverse environmental impact.
The Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters.What is the Code of Federal regulations Clean Water Act? ›
The CWA aims to prevent, reduce, and eliminate pollution in the nation's water in order to "restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation's waters", as described in CWA section 101(a).What is the purpose of water quality standards? ›
Water quality standards specify the conditions water must meet to protect those specific uses. Measuring lakes and rivers against water quality standards shows which bodies of water need restoration and protection, and dictates how we set limits on pollutant discharges from public and private facilities.What are the five categories of water quality? ›
State water quality assessments are normally based upon five broad types of monitoring data: biological integrity, chemical, physical, habitat, and toxicity.What are the four water quality parameters explain? ›
Water quality parameters include chemical, physical, and biological properties and can be tested or monitored based on the desired water parameters of concern. Parameters that are frequently sampled or monitored for water quality include temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity, ORP, and turbidity.What percentage of US tap water is drinkable? ›
Drinking water quality in the United States is generally safe. In 2016, over 90 percent of the nation's community water systems were in compliance with all published U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards.How much water in the US is unsafe? ›
Modern management and treatment technologies provide clean water for most Americans. Yet in a given year, between 7% and 8% of community water utilities report at least one health-based violation of federal standards, according to her research.Is water contaminated in all 50 states? ›
Studies have shown that PFAS have been detected in drinking water supplies in all 50 states, and millions of people may be drinking water contaminated with unsafe levels of PFAS. However, much of the PFAS contamination that impacts people may not even come from their water.Can you drink tap water USA? ›
The United States has one of the safest and most reliable drinking water systems in the world. Every year, millions of people living in the United States get their tap water from a public community water system. The drinking water that is supplied to our homes comes from either a surface water or ground water source.Where is the cleanest water in the world? ›
While there are a few places that boast extremely clean water, such as Canada, Iceland, Antarctica, or even Upstate New York, the team of scientists determined that the cleanest water in the world was in the Patagonia region of Chile, Puerto Williams.
- Niger: 54% lack access to clean water. ...
- Democratic Republic of the Congo: 54% lack basic water services. ...
- Ethiopia: 50% lack basic water services. ...
- Somalia: 44% lack basic water services. ...
- Angola: 43% lack basic water services.
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Pollution typically refers to chemicals or other substances in concentrations greater than would occur under natural conditions. Major water pollutants include microbes, nutrients, heavy metals, organic chemicals, oil and sediments; heat, which raises the temperature of the receiving water, can also be a pollutant.What are the 7 indicators of water quality? ›
- Temperature and dissolved oxygen (DO)
- Conventional variables: pH, total dissolved solids (TDS), conductivity and suspended sediment.
- Industrial chemicals.
The six main indicators of water quality are dissolved oxygen, turbidity, bioindicators, nitrates, pH scale, and water temperature.What are the three types of water? ›
Water can occur in three states: solid (ice), liquid or gas (vapor). Solid water – ice is frozen water.What is the final rule of the 316 B? ›
Section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act requires that National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for existing facilities with cooling water intake structures (CWISs) ensure that the location, design, construction and capacity of the structures reflect the best technology available (BTA) to minimize ...What is Section 402 of the Federal Clean Water Act? ›
Section 402 of the Clean Water Act requires that a discharge of any pollutant or combination of pollutants to surface waters that are deemed waters of the United States be regulated by a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.What is Section 319 of the Federal Clean Water Act? ›
The 1987 amendments to the Clean Water Act (CWA) established the Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Program Section 319 addresses the need for greater federal leadership to help focus state and local nonpoint source efforts.How do you fix poor water quality? ›
- Flushing. Run cold water taps for two minutes before using water for drinking and cooking. ...
- Cold Water Use. Do not use hot tap water for drinking and cooking. ...
- Water Filters. Routinely replace filter cartridges. ...
- Household Plumbing. ...
- Faucet Aerators. ...
- Water Heaters.
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is the main federal law that ensures the quality of Americans' drinking water. Under SDWA, EPA sets standards for drinking water quality and oversees the states, localities, and water suppliers who implement those standards.What does the FDA code require of a water system? ›
(1) Carry adequate quantities of water to required locations throughout the plant. (2) Properly convey sewage and liquid disposable waste from the plant. (3) Avoid constituting a source of contamination to food, water supplies, equipment, or utensils or creating an unsanitary condition.What is the Clean Water Act 404 B )( 2? ›
under section 404(b)(2), no discharge of dredged or fill material shall be permitted which will cause or contribute to significant degradation of the waters of the United States. Findings of significant degradation related to the proposed discharge shall be based.Is the Federal Water Pollution Control Act the same as the Clean Water Act? ›
The Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1948 was the first major U.S. law to address water pollution. Growing public awareness and concern for controlling water pollution led to sweeping amendments in 1972. As amended in 1972, the law became commonly known as the Clean Water Act (CWA).What are the basics of water quality standards? ›
Water quality standards consist of three core components. This includes designated uses of a water body, criteria to protect designated uses, and antidegradation requirements to protect existing uses and high quality/high value waters.How do you establish water quality standards? ›
To establish water quality standards for a water body, officials (1) determine the designated beneficial water use; (2) adopt suitable water quality criteria to protect and maintain that use; and (3) develop a plan for implementing and enforcing the water quality criteria.What are the examples of water quality standards? ›
There are five water quality parameters: pH, biological oxygen demand (BOD), suspended solids (SS), dissolved oxygen (DO), and total coliform bacteria. Six water use classes from AA to E were established for rivers.What are the 4 types of water quality? ›
Water quality can be classified into four types—potable water, palatable water, contaminated (polluted) water, and infected water.What is a good water quality level? ›
Acceptable Results: Total hardness is a test for overall water quality; there are no health concerns related to total hardness. Values near 150 mg/L are generally ideal from an aesthetic viewpoint. Water less than 150 mg/L are considered soft water while values greater than 200 mg/L are considered hard water.How do you test water quality? ›
Often county health departments will help you test for bacteria or nitrates. If not, you can have your water tested by a state certified laboratory. You can find one in your area by calling the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791 or visiting www.epa.gov/safewater/labs.
Conclusion About How Good Quality of Water Impact Good Health. Good quality water means that it is not only safe for public consumption but also good for our health, as well as that of animals and plants, as it provides irreplaceable nutrients and benefits needed to survive.What is pH in water quality? ›
pH is a measure of how acidic/basic water is. The range goes from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. pHs of less than 7 indicate acidity, whereas a pH of greater than 7 indicates a base. The pH of water is a very important measurement concerning water quality.What is pH level of water? ›
The pH of pure water (H20) is 7 at 25 °C, but when exposed to the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere this equilibrium results in a pH of approximately 5.2 because CO2 in the air dissolves in the water and forms carbonic acid.Are more than 80% of US waterways contaminated by forever chemicals? ›
The overwhelming majority of U.S. waterways are likely polluted with “forever chemicals,” according to a grim new analysis that comes as the country marks a half-century of its landmark water protection law.How much of the US water is contaminated? ›
More than 700,000 miles of waterways, about 51 percent of assessed river and stream miles, are impaired by pollution. That's in addition to another 55 percent of lake acres and 26 percent of estuary miles.What percentage of water used in the United States comes from surface-water? ›
This includes the oceans, rivers and streams, lakes, and reservoirs. Surface waters are very important. They constitute approximately 80 percent of the water used on a daily basis.What percentage of water surface is covered with water? ›
The Earth is a watery place. But just how much water exists on, in, and above our planet? About 71 percent of the Earth's surface is water-covered, and the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all Earth's water.What is the number 1 water pollutant in the US? ›
Nutrient pollution, which includes nitrates and phosphates, is the leading type of contamination in these freshwater sources. While plants and animals need these nutrients to grow, they have become a major pollutant due to farm waste and fertilizer runoff.What is 83% of US waterways contaminated? ›
In a test of 114 waterways from across the country, 83% were found to contain at least one type of PFAS—dangerous per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances that are widely linked to serious public health and environmental impacts.What forever chemicals were found in 83% of US waterways in recent study? ›
A new study testing for a class of chemicals that do not break down in the environment, and have been linked to serious health problems, found 83% of U.S. waterways were contaminated.
As the climate dries the American west faces power and water shortages, experts warn. Two of the largest reservoirs in America, which provide water and electricity to millions, are in danger of reaching 'dead pool status. ' A result of the climate crisis and overconsumption of water, experts say.What wastes the most water in the US? ›
Household leaks can waste approximately nearly 900 billion gallons of water annually nationwide. That's equal to the annual household water use of nearly 11 million homes.What city has the worst tap water? ›
Pensacola, Fla. (
Analysts say it has the worst water quality in the country. Of the 101 chemicals tested for over five years, 45 were discovered. Of them, 21 were discovered in unhealthy amounts. The worst of these were radium-228 and -228, trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, alpha particles, benzine and lead.
California. In California about 4 billion gallons of water are withdrawn and delivered every day for domestic use, with the average California resident using 108 gallons per day in and around their home.Who uses the most water in the USA? ›
California is the largest consumer of water in the US.What is the purest form of water? ›
Rainwater is the purest form of water. The rainwater directly comes from the condensation of water in the presence of the sun.What is the purest form of natural water? ›
Rainwater is the purest form of natural water. It is formed naturally by evaporation followed by condensation of water vapour.How much water on Earth is drinkable? ›
0.5% of the earth's water is available fresh water. If the world's water supply were only 100 liters (26 gallons), our usable water supply of fresh water would be only about 0.003 liter (one-half teaspoon). In actuality, that amounts to an average of 8.4 million liters (2.2 million gallons) for each person on earth.