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, and 3745-42. 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

  • April 2, 2019 - The Agency is now accepting Interested Party Review Comments on three WQS rules as part of the Agency's Triennial WQS Reivew. Please see the Interested Party Review tab for more information.
  • March 8, 2019 - The Agency is now accepting Early Stakeholder Outreach Comments on four WQS Beneficial Use Designation basin rules in OAC Chapter 3745-1. Please see the Early Stakeholder Outreach tab for more information.
  • January 11, 2019 - The Agency is now accepting Interested Party Review Comments on nine rules for the new Water Quality Certified Professional (WQCP) Program rules in OAC Chapter 3745-6, and five Credible Data Program rules in OAC Chapter 3745-4. Please see the Interested Party Review tab for more 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The first step in the rule-making process is for Ohio EPA to identify that a rule needs to be amended, rescinded or created.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

New Rules to Reduce Impacts of Nutrients in Surface Waters ESO Web Page May 22, 2013
 
 
Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards Program Rules OAC Chapter 3745-1   ESO Fact Sheet
Overview Sheet

Webinar Recording

Webinar Presentation Slides

November 14, 2016  Chapter 3745-1   
New Rule - PTI Onsite Sewage Treatment Systems (OAC 3745-42-12) ESO Fact Sheet June 25, 2018  
New Rule - PTI Campgrounds (OAC 3745-42-14) ESO Fact Sheet June 25, 2018  
New Rule - Nutrients for Large Rivers (OAC 3745-1-36) Large River Paper
Map of Ohio's Large Rivers
Presentation
ESO Fact Sheet
Large River Nutrient WQS Data File
September 26, 2018
October 26, 2018
 
New Rule - Biocriteria Narrative (OAC 3745-2-03) ESO Fact Sheet February 4, 2019 3745-1-07 (C)
Beneficial Use Designations Wave 1 (OAC 3745-1-11, -12, -19, -23) ESO Fact Sheet April 8, 2019 3745-1
New Rule - PTI Storage and Treatment Facilities (OAC 3745-42-14) ESO Fact Sheet May 6, 2019 3745-42-13
       

 

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 Water Quality Criteria for the Protection of Human Health (OAC 3745-1)

Background

Water quality standards are state regulations or rules that protect lakes, rivers, and streams and other surface water bodies from pollution. These rules are housed 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 the 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 revisions to three rules regarding water quality criteria within OAC Chapter 3745-1 as part of a five year rule review, and as part of the Agency's Triennial Water Quality Standards Review - 3745-1-32, -33, and -34.  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 5:00 PM, May 2, 2019. 

 

Draft rules

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

Rule #

Rule Title

Draft Action

3745-1-32

Ohio river standards.

Amend

3745-1-33

Water quality criteria for water supply use designations.

Amend

3745-1-34 Water quality criteria for the protection of human health [fish consumption]. 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 Audrey Rush at (614) 644-2035.

Draft Water Quality Certified Professional (WQCP) Program Rules (OAC Chapter 3745-6)

Background

In July 2017, Governor Kasich signed Senate Bill 2 of the 132nd General Assembly into law. This legislation requires Ohio EPA to develop a program to certify water quality professionals to collect data in order for the Agency to assess streams and categorize wetlands in support of applications for Section 401 Water Quality Certifications and Isolated Wetland Permits. The legislation also requires the Director to establish a multi-sector work group to assist in the development of rules adopted under this statute and lays out minimum requirements for such rules. 

Those applying for a Section 401 Water Quality Certification (WQC) may use the services of a WQCP and will receive the benefit of an expedited permit application review of ninety days, instead of one hundred eighty days, provided that a public hearing is not required or necessary.

Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 3745-6 establishes the necessary training and experience requirements to submit quality data in support of section 401 WQC applications and isolated wetland permits and describes field methods to ensure that data collection and interpretation are reproducible, scientifically defensible, and free from pre-conceived bias. The Agency believes this program will improve the quality of data submitted in support of section 401 applications and isolated wetland permits, while also expediting the permit issuance process as a benefit to people participating in this program.

This program will have some overlap with the Credible Data Program, as well as similar requirements. For more information on the Credible Data Program, click here; for draft rules, click here.

Available documents

Draft rules

  • New text is underlined.

Rule Number   

Rule Title

Action

3745-6-01

Purpose, applicability, and available certifications.

New

3745-6-02

Definitions.

New

3745-6-03

General education and professional experience requirements, professional certifications and requirements for certification, approved trainers, testing, and professional development requirements.

New

3745-6-04 Application for initial certification and renewal of certification. New
3745-6-05 Technical standards. New
3745-6-06 Data collection and submittal; document and data review, retention, and production. New
3745-6-07 Standards of conduct, suspension, revocation, recertification, withdrawal, and appeal. New
3745-6-08 Audits. New
3745-6-09 Permit issuance and fees. New
     

 

The comment deadline is February 25, 2019.

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 Jeff Boyles at (614) 644-2494, or Cara Hardesty at (614) 644-2143.

Draft Credible Data Program Rules, Wave 2 (OAC 3745-4)

Background

The Credible Data Program, established by law in 2003, was designed to encourage and oversee the collection, analysis and use of surface water quality data collected by volunteer individuals and organizations.  The Credible Data Program rules in Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) Chapter 3745-4 establish three levels of credible data related to surface water quality monitoring and assessment and define the purpose for which each level of credible data could be used.  For more information about the Credible Data Program, visit the Credible Data Program web page. 

This is a follow up rulemaking to the recent Credible Data rulemaking from February 2018. You can view the currently effective rules here. These rules are being reopened in order to update this program to coincide with the new Water Quality Certified Professional Program (WQCP) program. The two programs will have some overlap and similar requirements. For more information on the WQCP program and draft rules, click here.

Available documents

 

Draft rules

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

Rule Number 

Rule Title

Action

3745-4-02

Definitions.

Amend

3745-4-03

Qualified data collectors.

Amend

3745-4-04

Level 1 data requirements and reporting.

Amend

3745-4-05

Level 2 data requirements and reporting.

Amend

  Appendix A to rule 3745-4-05 No Changes 
  Appendix B to rule 3745-4-05 No Changes

3745-4-06

Level 3 data requirements and reporting.

Amend

  Appendix A to rule 3745-4-06  No Changes
  Appendix B to rule 3745-4-06  No Changes
     

 

The comment deadline is February 25, 2019.

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 Jared Burson at (614) 721-8697.

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.

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.

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

Questions? Email Emily DeLay or call (614) 728-2396.

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