Water Quality

EQC approves revisions to the water quality standards for bacteria and clarification of associated uses.
On Aug. 17, 2016, the Environmental Quality Commission approved revisions to Oregon’s water quality standards for bacteria to protect people who recreate in coastal waters. Exposure to high levels of bacteria from swimming and other full immersion water contact recreation is associated with increased gastrointestinal illness.
In addition to revising the bacteria criteria for coastal recreation waters, the rules clarify where freshwater and coastal recreation and shellfish harvesting uses occur in coastal estuaries and, therefore, where the different bacteria criteria (E. coli, enterococcus, or fecal coliform) apply.

The proposed rules will not become effective until EPA approves them

DEQ will update this website once EPA takes action.

For additional information, see the following documents:

The Oregon Health Authority’s Oregon Beach Monitoring Program simultaneously engaged in a process to adopt a bacteria level that it will use to issue beach advisories. This Beach Action Value is not part of Oregon’s regulatory water quality standards under the Clean Water Act. More information about the BAV adoption is available on OBMP’s webpage.

DEQ and OHA held joint meetings in October to provide information to interested parties and to answer questions. These meetings took place in Coos Bay, Newport, Cannon Beach and Portland. 

Meeting summaries

Keep up-to-date



For more information about this rulemaking contact Aron Borok by phone at 503-229-5050 (toll-free in Oregon at 800-452-4011, ext. 5050).

For information about OHA’s process to adopt a beach advisory value, contact Tara Chetock, Oregon Beach Monitoring Program coordinator, Portland, by phone at 971-673-1496 (toll-free 877-290-6767).