Water Quality Standards
Water Quality Standards for Toxic Pollutants
Water quality standards are the foundation of the water quality-based control program mandated by the Clean Water Act. Water Quality Standards define the goals for surface waters in Oregon by designating its uses, setting criteria to protect those uses and establishing provisions to protect water quality from pollutants.
DEQ is responsible for establishing water quality criteria for toxic
pollutants to protect both aquatic life and human health. These criteria are
established to protect surface water for aquatic life use and to allow
Oregonians to consume fish and shellfish and to use state waters for
drinking water supply without adverse health effects. DEQ develops its water
quality criteria based on EPA recommended criteria.
Human Health and Aquatic Life Criteria Tables
NOTE: On Jan. 7, 2015, the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission adopted revised freshwater criteria for ammonia. These criteria will not be in effect until EPA approval. See Revised Table 30 for adopted ammonia criteria.
Toxics Standards Rule (OAR 340-041-0033)
On Oct. 17, 2011, EPA approved revisions to Oregon’s criteria to protect human health. The revised criteria shown in Table 40 above reflect a per-capita fish consumption rate of 175 grams/day (where applicable). See Human Health Water Quality Standards Rulemaking for more information about these revisions.
On Jan. 7, 2015, the Environmental Quality Commission adopted revised freshwater criteria for ammonia to address EPA’s Jan. 31, 2013 disapproval of ammonia criteria adopted in 2004. EPA has not yet approved these revisions. Revised Table 30 above contains the adopted ammonia revisions. See Ammonia Rulemaking for more information about these revisions.
Calculator for Freshwater Hardness-Dependent Metals Criteria
NOTE: DEQ will update the freshwater ammonia criteria calculator based on recently adopted ammonia criteria once EPA approves the revisions.
Recommendations for Analysis and Implementation of Specific Toxic Pollutants
Below is a list of memos that describe analytical methods for specific pollutants, including associated implementation and monitoring considerations. DEQ developed these memos to provide guidance to DEQ staff and other interested members of the public in response to analytical questions that have been raised on specific water quality toxics criteria. Additional memos may be posted here as other questions arise.
Department of Environmental Quality
Oregon Health Authority
Washington Department of Ecology
US Environmental Protection Agency
Please contact Andrea Matzke at Oregon DEQ, 503-229-5384 or by email for additional information.
For more information on DEQ's Water Quality Division and its programs, see our contact page.