Division of Surface Water Rules and Laws

Questions? Email Melinda Harris or call (614) 728-1357.

The Division of Surface Water (DSW) develops and enforces rules in the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC).

Ohio EPA surface water quality protection and wastewater pollution control regulations are located in OAC Chapters 3745-1 to 3745-5, 3745-11, 3745-32 to 3745-33, 3745-36, 3745-38 to 3745-40, 3745-42 and 3745-45.  Additional chapters are added as needed to address new laws and requirements related to surface waters.

Proposing new rules and amending existing rules is a regular activity conducted by Ohio EPA in response to laws passed by the Ohio General Assembly and federal rule requirements.  DSW is required by federal law to review water quality standards regulations every three years and by state law to review rules at least once every five years to ensure their continued need and relevance.

During the Ohio rule-making process, rules pass through four phases: early stakeholder outreach, draft review, proposal to the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, and final adoption.  To view the rules currently in each of these phases, please see the tabs below.

Join a rules electronic mailing list to stay informed about current rule-makings and opportunities to provide comment during the process.

Additional information on the Ohio EPA rule-making process and information on Agency-wide rules can be found on the Agency Rules and Laws page.

Rulemaking News and Updates

  • Proposed Water Quality Standards Program Rule OAC 3745-1-34 is available for review and comment.  Please see the Proposed Rules tab for additional information.  The deadline for comments is May 20, 2014.

The first step in the rule-making process is for Ohio EPA to identify that a rule needs to be amended, rescinded or created.  Ohio EPA may also review a rule pursuant to the five year rule review requirements (ORC 119.032) and determine that the rule should be filed with Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) as "no change'.

In response to Executive Order 2011-01K, Ohio EPA has added an additional step to ensure stakeholders are brought into the rule process as early as possible.  This additional interested party notification and request for information will allow for early feedback before the rule language has been developed by the Agency. 

Please see below for a listing of rules the DSW is reviewing, a fact sheet requesting stakeholder input and the comment deadline.  

Rule Package Title

Fact Sheet

Comment Period Deadline

Effective Rules

Permit to Install Program Rule OAC 3745-42-13, Land Application of Treated Wastewater

ESO Fact Sheet

June 8, 2012

Chapter 3745-42

Permit to Install Program Rules
OAC 3745-42-03, -04 and 07

ESO Fact Sheet

June 11, 2012

Chapter 3745-42

New Rules to Reduce Impacts of Nutrients in Surface Waters
ESO Web Page
May 22, 2013
 
New Permit to Install Program Rule for Sewage Disposal at Campgrounds
ESO Fact Sheet
September 6, 2013
 
Permit to Install Program Rule OAC 3745-42-02, Applicability, Exemptions and Procedures
 
ESO Fact Sheet
February 17, 2014
 
Chapter 3745-42
 
       
 

The interested party review (IPR) process is designed to allow interested parties, stakeholders or citizens to make comments regarding the rule prior to adoption.  The IPR process is the second step in the rulemaking process.  Whereas the Early Stakeholder Outreach process asked for general comments on anticipated rule changes, the IPR process asks interested parties, stakeholders or citizens to make comments on the draft rule language developed by Ohio EPA.

During the IPR process, Ohio EPA is required to submit a Business Regulation Impact Analysis (BIA) to the Common Sense Initiative Office (CSIO).  CSIO has two options for the BIA:
1.  Prepare and send recommendations to Ohio EPA for eliminating or reducing adverse impacts.
2.  Allow 16 days to pass without preparing and sending recommendations.

Based on comments received from interested parties or the CSIO, Ohio EPA may choose to revise the rules further before proposing them to the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR).

Please see below for a listing of draft rules the Agency has made available for interested party review.


Background

Water quality standards are state regulations or rules that protect lakes, rivers, streams and other water bodies from pollution.  The rules are located in Chapter 3745-1 of the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC).  Rule OAC 3745-1-54 addresses antidegradation protections and review procedures for wetlands.  This rule, in conjunction with the all-encompassing antidegradation rule OAC 3745-1-05, establish criteria for the Director to consider when determining whether a lowering of water quality in wetlands will be allowed and what is appropriate mitigation for those impacts.

OAC 3745-1-54 has been reviewed and amended pursuant to section 119.032 of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC).  Ohio EPA is required to review its rules every five years to determine if the rules need to be revisited.  Draft revisions to the rule are based on Senate Bill 294, signed into law by the Governor on June 5, 2012.  In general, the revisions allow an approved entity to create an in-lieu-fee mitigation program and allows in-lieu-fee to be used as required mitigation for Section 401 Water Quality Certifications and Isolated Wetlands permits.  The revisions also set a defined mitigation hierarchy preference for Section 401 Water Quality Certifications and Isolated Wetlands permits and require the Agency to adopt this hierarchy in rule.  Please see the fact sheet below for additional information.

For more background information, see the Water Quality Standards Program and Section 401 Water Quality Certification and Isolated Wetland Permitting Section web pages. 

Available documents

The comment deadline is May 17, 2013.

For additional information or to submit comments

  • By e-mail: dsw_rulecomments@epa.ohio.gov
  • By mail: Rule Coordinator, Ohio EPA, Division of Surface Water, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049
  • By fax: (614) 644-2745
  • If you would like further information about this rulemaking, please contact Paul Novak at (614) 644-2035.

Note: Draft revisions to the water quality standards rules in OAC Chapter 3745-1 were originally made available for interested party review in August 2008.  A subset of the items from the draft rules package was proposed to the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) on December 28, 2011.  These rules were withdrawn from JCARR's jurisdiction on February 1, 2012 so the rules could be vetted through the new Senate Bill 2 process.  A very focused and limited subset of rule amendments proposed in 2011 is now being made available for a second interested party review. 

Background

Water quality standards are state regulations or rules that protect lakes, rivers, and streams and other surface water bodies from pollution.  The rules are in Chapter 3745-1 of the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC).  These rules contain: beneficial use designations such as warmwater aquatic life habitat, public water supply and primary contact recreation; numeric levels and narrative statements (water quality criteria) protective of the use designations; and an antidegradation rule.  The antidegradation rule establishes a procedure to determine that a discharge is necessary before authorizing it.  It contains provisions that must be followed before authorizing any increased activity on a water body that may result in a lowering of water quality, including an increase in the discharge of a regulated pollutant, or activities that may significantly alter the physical habitat.

Water quality standards serve as: the water quality goals for water uses and cleanliness; the benchmarks to measure and report on meeting Clean Water Act goals; the water quality targets to meet when setting wastewater permit limits and total maximum daily loads.

For more information about the water quality standards program, visit the Water Quality Standards Program web page. 

Available documents

The comment deadline is May 20, 2013. The comment deadline has been extended to June 3, 2013.

Draft rules

  • Text to be deleted is struck out; new text is underlined.

Rule #

Rule Title

Action

3745-1-01

Purpose and applicability

Rescind

3745-1-01

Purpose and applicability

New

3745-1-02

Definitions

Amend

3745-1-03

Analytical methods and availability of documents

Amend

3745-1-04

Criteria applicable to all waters

Amend

3745-1-05

Antidegradation

Amend

3745-1-07

Water use designations and statewide criteria

Rescind

3745-1-07

Beneficial use designations

New

3745-1-31

Lake Erie standards

Amend

3745-1-32

Ohio river standards

Rescind

3745-1-32

Ohio river standards

New

3745-1-33

Water quality criteria for the lake Erie drainage basin

Rescind

3745-1-34

Water quality criteria for the Ohio river drainage basin

Rescind

3745-1-36

Methodologies for development of aquatic life criteria and values

Amend

3745-1-37

Methodology for deriving bioaccumulation factors

Amend

3745-1-38

Methodologies for development of human health criteria and values

Amend

3745-1-39

Methodology for the development of wildlife criteria for the lake Erie drainage basin

Amend

3745-1-40

Water quality criteria for water supply use designations

New

3745-1-41

Water quality criteria for recreation use designations

New

3745-1-42

Water quality criteria for the base aquatic life use designation

New

3745-1-43

Water quality criteria for the tiered aquatic life use designations

New

     

For additional information or to submit comments

  • By e-mail: dsw_rulecomments@epa.ohio.gov
  • By mail: Rule Coordinator, Ohio EPA, Division of Surface Water, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049
  • By fax: (614) 644-2745
  • If you would like further information about this rulemaking, please contact Dan Dudley at (614) 644-2876.

When the draft rule has completed the Interested Party Review process, and Ohio EPA has made any additional changes based on comments received, the rule is filed with the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, Secretary of State and Legislative Service Commission (LSC).  JCARR is a legislative committee who reviews agency rules to determine if they are within the regulatory authority of the Agency, they do not conflict with any other rules of the Agency or other agencies, and that the Agency has completed the various paperwork required for proposing rule language (RSFA, BIA, IBR and others).

JCARR jurisdiction lasts 65 days.  During the first 40 days of this time period, Ohio EPA will schedule and hold a public hearing on the rule and accept comments on the rule language.

Please see below for a listing of rules the Agency has proposed with JCARR.




Final Rule

On March 21, 2014, the Agency adopted three final Connection Ban Standards rules.  The effective date of the amended rule is April 21, 2014.

Background

Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) Chapter 3745-11 contains the administrative procedures for the Director's issuance of connection bans.  

  • Rule 3745-11-01 covers the definitions used in OAC Chapter 3745-11.
  • Rule 3745-11-02 specifies the conditions that warrant a standard connection ban or special connection ban.
  • Rule 3745-11-03 describes how to apply for a variance from a connection ban.

OAC Chapter 3745-11 has been reviewed and amended pursuant to section 119.032 of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC).  Ohio EPA is required to review its rules every five years to determine if the rules need to be revisited.  At this time, the Agency is soliciting input on proposed rule amendments.  The deadline for comments is February 10, 2014.

Available documents

Proposed Rules

Text to be deleted is struck out; new text is underlined.

For additional information or to submit comment:

  • Please submit any comments you have on the proposed rules in one of the following manners.

  • By e-mail:  dsw_rulecomments@epa.ohio.gov

  • By mail:  Rule Coordinator, Ohio EPA, Division of Surface Water, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, OH 43216-1049

  • By fax:  (614) 644-2745

  • If you would like further information about this rulemaking, please contact Mark Stump at (614) 644-2028.

Background

Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) Chapter 3745-1 contains the Water Quality Standards program rules.  Within Chapter 3745-1, rules 3745-1-08 to 3745-1-30 contain the beneficial use designations for each of the 23 major drainage basins or watersheds in the state.  Beneficial use designations are the water quality goals for lakes, rivers, streams and other water bodies.  Designations include such uses as aquatic life habitats (warmwater, coldwater, etc.), recreation (bathing waters, primary contact, secondary contact) and water supplies (public, agricultural, industrial).  Specific water quality criteria are associated with each beneficial use and are the specific target conditions to be maintained in the water bodies.  Together the uses and criteria may be the basis for permit limits in wastewater discharge permits and conditions in Section 401 water quality certifications.  Changes to the use designations must be adopted as water quality standard rule revisions. 

Rule OAC 3745-1-21 contains the beneficial use designations for the Great Miami River basin.  At this time, the Agency is proposing revisions to the rule that include 1) addition of site specific aquatic life copper criteria for two stream locations, and 2) updates to beneficial use designations in the lower Great Miami River watershed.  Please see the fact sheet below for specific information.

For more information about the Water Quality Standards program, visit the Water Quality Standards Program web page. 

Available documents

Proposed Rule

Text to be deleted is struck out; new text is underlined.

The comment deadline is April 1, 2014.

For additional information or to submit comment:

  • Please submit any comments you have on the proposed rule in one of the following manners.

  • By e-mail:  dsw_rulecomments@epa.ohio.gov

  • By mail:  Rule Coordinator, Ohio EPA, Division of Surface Water, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, OH 43216-1049

  • By fax:  (614) 644-2745

  • For further information about this rulemaking, please contact Dan Dudley at (614) 644-2876. 

Background

Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) Chapter 3745-1 contains the Water Quality Standards program rules.  These rules contain: beneficial use designations such as warmwater aquatic life habitat, public water supply and primary contact recreation; numeric levels and narrative statements (water quality criteria) protective of the use designations; and procedures for applying the water quality criteria to wastewater dischargers.  

This rulemaking is limited to a single amendment to one rule, OAC 3745-1-34, Water Quality Criteria for the Ohio River Drainage basin.  This rule contains the numeric criteria protective of wildlife and human health.  Please see the fact sheet below for specific information.

For more information about the Water Quality Standards program, visit the Water Quality Standards Program web page.  

Available documents

Proposed Rule

Text to be deleted is struck out; new text is underlined.

The comment deadline is May 20, 2014.

For additional information or to submit comment:

  • Please submit any comments you have on the proposed rule in one of the following manners.

  • By e-mail:  dsw_rulecomments@epa.ohio.gov

  • By mail:  Rule Coordinator, Ohio EPA, Division of Surface Water, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, OH 43216-1049

  • By fax:  (614) 644-2745

  • For further information about this rulemaking, please contact Dan Dudley at (614) 644-2876. 

Ohio Administrative Code (State rules)

The following is a list of Ohio Administrative Code chapters related to programs in the Division of Surface Water. Links are provided to Ohio EPA Internet pages where copies of the chapters may be downloaded.

OAC Chapter 3745-1 Water Quality Standards - Water quality standards for surface waters of the State.

OAC Chapter 3745-2 Implementation of Water Quality Standards - Regulations for the development of water quality based effluent limits and total maximum daily loads.

OAC Chapter 3745-3 Pretreatment Rules - Regulations for industrial discharges to public treatment works.

OAC Chapter 3745-4 Credible Data Rules - Regulations for administering a volunteer water quality monitoring program to collect credible data for surface water monitoring and assessment.

OAC Chapter 3745-5 Water Quality Trading Rules - Regulations that establish a voluntary statewide water quality trading program.

OAC Chapter 3745-7 Water Supply Works and Wastewater Works Personnel - Regulations for public water works and wastewater treatment plant personnel. This Chapter is available from the Ohio EPA Division of Drinking and Ground Waters site.

OAC Chapter 3745-11 Connection Ban Standards - Regulations describing criteria where connection to local sewerage systems may be prohibited and procedures for obtaining variances from connection bans.

OAC Chapter 3745-32 Section 401 Water Quality Certifications -Section 401 water quality certification requirements for activities that may result in any discharge to waters of the state (construction, placing fill, grading, dredging, ditching, stream diversion, etc.).

OAC Chapter 3745-33 Ohio NPDES Permits - The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program. Permitting requirements for municipal and industrial discharges to waters of the state.

OAC Chapter 3745-36 Permit Program Regulating Discharge of Nondomestic Wastewater into a POTW - Permitting requirements for indirect dischargers.

OAC Chapter 3745-38 Ohio NPDES General Permits - Permit requirements covering categories of discharges by persons conducting similar activities.

OAC Chapter 3745-39 Storm Water Program - Requirements for the permitting of storm water discharges.

OAC Chapter 3745-40 Sewage Sludge - Requirements for the disposal, use, storage and treatment of sewage sludge in Ohio.

OAC Chapter 3745-42 Permits to Install and Plan Approvals for Water Pollution Control - Permitting requirements for activities that include installing/modifying a system for disposing of sewage, industrial or other wastes, land application of sludge.

OAC Chapter 3745-45 Section 401 Water Quality Certification Fees - Fee requirements related to Section 401 water quality certifications.

Surface Water Laws


Clean Water Act (Federal law)

A complete copy of Chapter 26 of Title 33 of the United States Code, also known as the Clean Water Act, is available through Cornell University. A summary and brief history of the legislation is provided by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.


Ohio Revised Code (State laws)

The following is a list of Ohio Revised Code chapters related to programs in the Division of Surface Water. These chapters can be downloaded from LAWriter.

ORC Chapter 3745: Environmental Protection Agency
Creates and establishes powers of the Ohio EPA.

ORC Chapter 6111: Water Pollution Control
Specifies powers of the Ohio EPA with regard to water pollution control.

ORC Chapter 6117: Sewer Districts; County Sewers
Authorizes the establishment of sewer districts.

ORC Chapter 6119: Regional Water and Sewer Districts
Authorizes the establishment of regional water and sewer districts.


Surface Water Policies and Guidance


Policies

 

Guidance