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Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

Water Quality

Water Quality Trading

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Water Quality Trading Rules

The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission unanimously approved rules establishing a voluntary water quality trading program to facilitate pollution reduction and protect the quality of Oregon’s waterways on Thursday December 10, 2015. The new rules, at OAR 340 Division 039, establish a trading program that is transparent and enforceable and will provide clarity for regulated entities, the public and DEQ staff.

View the rules on the Secretary of State website.


Water quality trading is an innovative program that allows facilities that discharge wastewater to a stream or river to meet regulatory obligations by:

  • Purchasing equivalent or larger pollution reductions from another source; or
  • Taking action to protect or restore riparian areas, wetlands, floodplains, and aquatic habitat to reduce the impact of pollutants.

Trading is based on the fact that dischargers in a watershed can face very different costs to control the same pollutant. Trading programs allow facilities facing higher pollution control costs to meet their regulatory obligations by purchasing environmentally equivalent (or superior) pollution reductions from another source at lower cost, thus achieving the same water quality improvement at lower overall cost. Trading may also allow Oregon to achieve water quality improvements more quickly than would otherwise be possible.

Water Quality Trading Internal Management Directive

DEQ issued the revised Internal Management Directive on March 31, 2016. The purpose of the updated IMD is to provide DEQ staff with direction on evaluating and approving water quality trades implemented under Division 039 rules.

Permits with Approved Water Quality Trading Programs


Other Water Quality Trading Resources


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For more information about Water Quality Trading contact Courtney Brown by phone at 503-229-6839 or by email.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Headquarters: 700 NE Multnomah Street, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97232
Phone: 503-229-5696 or toll free in Oregon 1-800-452-4011
Oregon Telecommunications Relay Service: 1-800-735-2900  FAX: 503-229-6124

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is a regulatory agency authorized to protect Oregon's environment by
the State of Oregon and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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