Skip to main content

Oregon State Flag An official website of the State of Oregon »

Aquatic Life Toxics Criteria 2024

Proposed rule

Rulemaking contact: Mailea Miller-Pierce, 503-887-3344

The Department of Environmental Quality is conducting a rulemaking to update Oregon's Aquatic Life Water Quality Criteria for Toxic Pollutants (Table 30 of Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 340-041-8033) and corresponding text in OAR 340-041-0033. DEQ is proposing to add new criteria for acrolein, aluminum, carbaryl, and diazinon, and update the state's aquatic life criteria for cadmium and tributyltin.

EPA periodically releases national recommendations for aquatic life criteria that States and Tribes may use to develop water quality standards. These recommendations are based on the latest science and are designed to protect the aquatic community from short and/or long term negative chemical effects. Once EPA releases criteria recommendations for a chemical, states must either adopt criteria for that chemical or report a justification for not doing so.

Oregon's aquatic life criteria were last comprehensively reviewed and updated in 2004. As part of DEQ's 2021 Water Quality Standards Triennial Review, DEQ committed to reviewing several of EPA's new or updated aquatic life criteria recommendations and considering them for adoption. DEQ also decided to compare all of EPA's current aquatic life criteria recommendations with the state's criteria to keep Oregon's criteria up-to-date with EPA's most recent recommendations and the latest science.

As a result of this comprehensive review, DEQ is proposing to adopt EPA's most up-to-date aquatic life criteria recommendations for six chemicals (listed above). Adding or updating these criteria in Oregon's water quality standards will provide increased protection for Oregon fish and aquatic life. These numeric criteria values will be used in DEQ's water quality programs (Assessment, Permitting, TMDL, etc.) to determine waterbody impairment, pollution control measures, and permit limits. DEQ expects to present the proposed rule amendments to the Environmental Quality Commission for their adoption in mid-2024.

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 involvement

The comment period closed at 5 p.m. on May 3, 2024.

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

Supporting documents

Public hearing 

A public hearing was held April 23, 2024. 

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

EQC action

Meeting has not yet been scheduled.