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Powder River Basin TMDL

Proposed rule

Rulemaking contact: Vanessa Rose, 541-278-4620

DEQ is conducting a rulemaking to establish a Total Maximum Daily Load to address the impairments to water quality standards and beneficial uses in surface waters in the Powder River Basin. These impairments are caused by excess bacteria and will be addressed by identifying and quantifying sources of this pollutant. This rule will also establish a water quality management plan that includes pollutant management strategies, a list of parties responsible for developing management plans and implementing strategies, and a timeline to reduce pollutant loads and attain water quality standards.

The Powder River Basin is located in northeastern Oregon and is comprised of the Brownlee, Powder River and Burnt River subbasins, which eventually drain into the Snake River along the border of Oregon and Idaho.

For more information on TMDLs, please visit DEQ's TMDL webpage.

In February 2022, the Environmental Quality Commission adopted Oregon Administrative Rules amendments to allow adoption of TMDLs as rules, as well as issued by order, in alignment with authorities in Oregon Revised Statutes. For more information about that rulemaking process, please visit DEQ's rulemaking webpage.

DEQ is convening an advisory committee to review the technical issues and fiscal impacts related to the proposed rules. In convening this committee, DEQ has appointed members that reflect the range of entities that are both directly and indirectly affected by proposed changes to the rules.

Public comment

The comment period closed on Aug. 31, 2023 at 4 p.m.

For more information, see the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which includes the notice and proposed rules.

Supporting documents

Sign up for email or text updates on this rulemaking via GovDelivery.

Public meetings

DEQ held a public hearing to accept comments on the proposed rules on Aug. 15, 2023. 

DEQ held an informational workshop on July 5, 2023 to present information and answer questions about data and analyses for the Powder River Basin TMDL.

EQC action

DEQ intends to submit the proposed rule changes to the EQC at their Sept. 14-15, 2023 or Nov. 16-17, 2023 commission meeting.