Division of Surface Water Rules and Laws

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.

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

Rulemaking News and Updates

  • June 23, 2016 - The Agency has scheduled a public hearing on August 16, 2016 for eight proposed Water Quality Standards Beneficial Use Designation rules in OAC Chapter 3745-1.  Go to the Proposed Rules tab for additional information.
  • June 10, 2016 - The Agency has released Permit to Install (PTI) Program rules in OAC Chapter 3745-42 and an National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program rule in OAC Chapter 3745-33 for Interested Party Review and comment.  The comment deadline is July 12, 2016.  Go to the Interested Party Review tab for additional information.
  • May 25, 2016 - The Agency is accepting Early Stakeholder Outreach review and comment on the Implementation of Water Quality Standards rules in OAC Chapter 3745-2.  The comment deadline is June 27, 2016.  Go to the Early Stakeholder Outreach tab for additional information.
  • May 10, 2016 - The Agency adopted final Water Quality Standards Program rules in OAC Chapter 3745-1. The effective date of the amended rules is August 10, 2016.  Go to the Proposed Rules tab for additional information.

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 /Webinar

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
Permit to Install Program Rules OAC 3745-42-01, -06, -08 and -11  ESO Fact Sheet
June 6, 2014
Chapter 3745-42
Wetland Water Quality Standards OAC Chapter 3745-1  ESO Fact Sheet October 13, 2015  Chapter 3745-1 
Sewage Sludge Rules OAC Chapter 3745-40  ESO Fact Sheet  January 14, 2016  Chapter 3745-40 
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Program Rules OAC Chapter 3745-33  ESO Fact Sheet  February 8, 2016  Chapter 3745-33 
Water Quality Standards Beneficial Use Designation Rules OAC Chapter 3745-1  ESO Fact Sheet  February 19, 2016  Chapter 3745-1  
Implementation of Water Quality Standards Rules OAC Chapter 3745-2 ESO Fact Sheet  June 27, 2016  Chapter 3745-2 
       
 

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.

Draft Permit to Install Program Rules OAC Chapter 3745-42

Background

Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) Chapter 3745-42 contains the Permit to Install (PTI) program rules. At this time, the Agency is soliciting initial input on draft rule revisions for four existing rules in the chapter, one new rule in the chapter and one existing National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program rule.  This is the five year review of these rules.  Please see the fact sheet below for additional information on rule revisions being considered.

For more information about this program, visit the Permit to Install web page. 

Available documents

Draft Rules

Rule  Draft Action 
3745-42-01 Definitions. Amend
3745-42-03 Requirements for applications and engineering plans. Amend 
3745-42-04 Criteria for decision by the director. Amend
3745-42-07 Best available technology for connection into sanitary sewers and centralized collection and treatment of sewage, industrial waste and other waste.  New 
3745-42-13 Land application systems.  Amend 
3745-33-08 Generic permit conditions.  Amend 
   
  • Text to be deleted is struck out; new text is underlined.

The comment deadline is July 12, 2016.

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 Mark Stump at (614) 644-2028.

Draft Water Quality Standards Rules OAC Chapter 3745-1

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.

At this time, the Agency is considering a reorganization of the water quality standards rules in OAC Chapter 3745-1 and no substantive revisions of content, except for revisions in the antidegradation rule, OAC 3745-1-05.  Please see the fact sheet below for more information.

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

Available documents

The comment deadline is May 6, 2016. 

Draft rules

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

Rule #

Rule Title

Draft Action

3745-1-01

Purpose and applicability.

Amend

3745-1-02

Definitions.

Amend

3745-1-05

Antidegradation.

Amend

3745-1-06

Mixing zones.

Rescind

3745-1-06

Mixing zone demonstration and sizing requirements.

New

3745-1-07

Water use designations and statewide criteria.

Rescind

3745-1-07

Beneficial use designations and biological criteria.

New

3745-1-26

Cuyahoga river drainage basin.

Amend

3745-1-31

Lake Erie standards.

Amend

3745-1-32

Ohio river standards.

Amend

3745-1-33

Water quality criteria for the lake Erie drainage basin.

Rescind

3745-1-33

Water quality criteria for water supply use designations.

New

3745-1-34

Water quality criteria for the Ohio river drainage basin.

Rescind

3745-1-34

Human health criteria for one route exposure [fish consumption].

New

3745-1-35

Site-specific modifications to criteria and values.

Rescind

3745-1-35

Aquatic life and wildlife criteria.

New

3745-1-36

Methodologies for development of aquatic life criteria and values.

Rescind

3745-1-37

Methodology for deriving bioaccumulation factors.

Rescind

3745-1-37

Water quality criteria for recreation use designations.

New

3745-1-38

Methodologies for development of human health criteria and values for the lake Erie drainage basin.

Rescind

3745-1-38

Variances.

New

3745-1-39

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

Rescind

3745-1-39

Site-specific modifications to criteria and values.

New

3745-1-40

Methodologies for development of aquatic life criteria and values.

New

3745-1-41

Methodology for deriving bioaccumulation factors.

New

3745-1-42

Methodologies for development of human health criteria and values for the lake Erie drainage basin.

New

3745-1-43

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

New

3745-1-44

Whole effluent toxicity provisions.

New

3745-2-08

Mixing zone demonstration and sizing requirements.

Rescind

3745-2-09

Whole effluent toxicity provisions and water quality based effluent limit calculation procedures.

Amend

     

 

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.

Draft Section 401 Program Rules OAC 3745-32

Background

Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) Chapter 3745-32 contains the administrative and technical requirements for submitting a Section 401 Water Quality Certification application to Ohio EPA's Division of Surface Water.  Seven rules in the chapter are being combined into three new draft rules: 3745-32-01, 3745-32-02 and 3745-32-03 of the OAC.  OAC Chapter 3745-45 consists of one rule, which contains outdated water quality certification fees.  This rule will be rescinded.

 

Please see the documents below for more information. For more information on the Section 401 WQC program, go here.

Available documents

The comment deadline is February 9, 2016.

Draft rules

  • New text is underlined.  Rules being rescinded have "To Be Rescinded" at the top of the first page of the rule.
Rule #  Rule Title  Action 
 OAC Chapter 3745-32 Section 401 Water Quality Certifications
 3745-32-01 Definitions.  Rescind 
 3745-32-01 Definitions.  New 
 3745-32-02 Section 401 water quality certification required.  Rescind 
 3745-32-02 Applicability. New 
 3745-32-03 Section 401 water quality certification exemptions. Rescind
 3745-32-03 Section 401 water quality certification application requirements and procedures.  New 
 3745-32-04 Section 401 water quality certification applications.  Rescind 
 3745-32-05 Criteria for decision by director.  Rescind 
 3745-32-06 Revocation of section 401 water quality certification.  Rescind 
 3745-32-07 Procedure for decision by director. Rescind 
OAC Chapter 3745-45 Section 401 Water Quality Certification Fees 
3745-45-02  Certification fees.  Rescind 
     

 

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 Harry Kallipolitis at (614) 644-2146.

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.

Proposed Water Quality Standards Rules OAC Chapter 3745-1

Final Rules

On May 10, 2016, the Agency adopted final Water Quality Standards Program rules in OAC Chapter 3745-1. The effective date of the amended rules is August 10, 2016.

 

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 April 5, 2016. 

Proposed rules

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

Rule #

Rule Title

Action

3745-1-03

Analytical methods and availability of documents

Amend

3745-1-31

Lake Erie standards

No Change

3745-1-33

Water quality criteria for the lake Erie drainage basin

Amend

3745-1-35

Site-specific modifications to criteria and values

Amend

3745-1-36

Methodologies for development of aquatic life criteria and values

No Change

3745-1-37

Methodology for deriving bioaccumulation factors

Amend

3745-1-39

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

Amend

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.

Proposed Beneficial Use Designation Rules OAC 3745-1

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.  

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).

Beneficial use designations are assigned to specific water bodies in Chapter 3745-1 of the OAC.  Each of the 23 major drainage basins or watersheds in the state is assigned a rule in Chapter 3745-1.  Specific water quality criteria are associated with each beneficial use and are the minimum 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.

This rulemaking includes review of beneficial use designation rules for eight water bodies.  Please see the fact sheet and proposed rules below for specific information.

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

Available documents

Proposed Rules

Rule Proposed Action
3745-1-09 Scioto river drainage basin. Amend
3745-1-10 Grand river drainage basin. Amend
3745-1-17 Southwest Ohio tributaries drainage basin. Amend
3745-1-19 Huron river drainage basin. Amend
3745-1-20 Rocky river drainage basin. Amend
3745-1-23 Portage river drainage basin. Amend
3745-1-25 Mahoning river drainage basin. Amend
3745-1-30 Mill creek drainage basin. Amend
  • Text to be deleted is struck out; new text is underlined.

The comment deadline is August 16, 2016.

Support Documents

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.

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.

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