The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality uses water quality standards to assess whether the quality of Oregon's rivers and lakes is adequate for fish and other aquatic life, recreation, drinking, agriculture, industry and other uses. DEQ also uses the standards as regulatory tools to prevent pollution of the state's waters. The Clean Water Act requires states to adopt water quality standards designating beneficial uses of the state's waters and setting criteria designed to protect those uses. States submit their standards to the federal Environmental Protection Agency for approval.
Find the Water Quality Standards at Oregon Administrative Rules 340. See Division 41.
DEQ water quality standards review and revision priorities
In 2017, DEQ engaged in a process to develop and obtain public input on a list of priority water quality standards review and revision needs. The result of the process is a report that outlines the projects that DEQ’s standards program will initiate between 2017 and 2020. DEQ presented the final report (see link below) to the Environmental Quality Commission in January 2018.
The Clean Water Act requires states to periodically review and revise water quality standards and hold public hearings about those proposed changes. These changes are needed to incorporate new environmental scientific information, meet federal requirements or improve clarity and program implementation. Some changes are required by decisions made by U.S. EPA, the National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and courts. Other priority standards revisions will allow DEQ to make decisions based on site specific conditions, environmental effects, and appropriate uses of waterbodies.