Water Quality Standards Program

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Work is underway to develop use designations for primary headwater habitat streams and on Ohio's Nutrient Reduction Strategy and nutrients rulemaking.

Our water quality is constantly threatened by many different sources and types of pollution. Under the Clean Water Act, every state must adopt water quality standards to protect, maintain and improve the quality of the nation's surface waters. These standards represent a level of water quality that will support the goal of "swimmable/fishable" waters. Water quality standards are ambient standards as opposed to discharge-type standards. These ambient standards, through a process of back calculation procedures known as total maximum daily loads or wasteload allocations form the basis of water quality based permit limitations that regulate the discharge of pollutants into surface waters under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program.

U.S. EPA's water quality standards website is at http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/standards/.