Reference Library of Water Quality Standards Policy and Guidance Documents

This page contains an index of specific EPA documents related to water quality standards, including those referenced in the Water Quality Standards Handbook. You can sort the index alphabetically, by publication date, or by topic.

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Topic Title Publication Date EPA Number
(if assigned)
Antidegradation Tier 2 Antidegradation Reviews and Significance Thresholds, Memorandum from Ephraim King 2005/08/10  
Antidegradation Antidegradation Policy Approvals and Endangered Species Act Consultations, Memorandum from Geoffrey Grubbs 2005/01/27  
Antidegradation Interpretation of Federal Antidegradation Regulatory Requirement, Memorandum from Tudor Davies 1994/02/22  
Antidegradation Antidegradation Policy, Memorandum from William Diamond 1991/06/13  
Antidegradation Application of Antidegradation Policy to the Niagara River, Memorandum from Margaret Prothro 1989/08/04  
Antidegradation EPA Designation of Outstanding National Resource Waters, Memorandum from William Diamond 1989/05/25  
Antidegradation Antidegradation Policy, Memorandum from Margaret Prothro 1985/12/10  
Antidegradation Antidegradation Policy, Memorandum from Patrick Tobin 1985/11/22  
Antidegradation Questions and Answers on Antidegradation 1985/08  
Antidegradation Compendium of Department of the Interior Statements on Non-Degradation of Interstate Waters 1968/08/01  
Antidegradation Antidegradation, Wasteloads, and Permits, Memorandum from Edwin Johnson 1988/01/01  
Arsenic Arsenic Decision, Memorandum from Robert Perciasepe 1995/02/06  
Assessment Thesaurus of Terms Used in Microbiological Risk Assessment 2007/07/01  
Assessment Consolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology: Toward a Compendium of Best Practices 2002/07/01  
Assessment Biological Methods Manual (Biological Field and Laboratory Methods for Measuring the Quality of Surface Waters and Effluents) 1973/07/01 670-4-73-001
Assessment, Biological A Primer on Using Biological Assessments to Support Water Quality Management 2011/10/01 810-R-11-01
Assessment, chronic toxicity Short-Term Methods for Estimating the Chronic Toxicity of Effluents and Receiving Waters to Freshwater Organisms 2002/10/01 821-R-02-013
Assessment, chronic toxicity Short-Term Methods for Estimating the Chronic Toxicity of Effluents and Receiving Waters to Marine and Estuarine Organisms 2002/10/01 821-R-02-014
Assessment, toxicity Methods for Measuring Acute Toxicity of Effluents to Freshwater and Marine Organism 2002/10/01 821-R-02-012
Bacteria criteria Ambient Water Quality Criteria for Bacteria 1986/01/01 440/5-84-002
Biological criteria Biological Assessments: Key Terms and Concepts 2011/03/01 820-F-11/006
Biological criteria Summary of Biological Assessment Programs and Biocriteria Development for States, Tribes, Territories, and Interstate Commissions: Streams and Wadeable Rivers 2002/12/01 822-R-02-048
Biological criteria Using Biological Data as Indicators of Water Quality 2002/07/01  
Biological criteria Stressor Identification Guidance Document 2000/12/01 822-B-00-005
Biological criteria Summary of State Biological Assessment Programs for Streams and Rivers 1996/02/01 230-R-96-007
Biological criteria Policy on Biological Assessments and Criteria 1991/06/19  
Biological criteria Application of Clean Water Act Section 401 State Water Quality Certification to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Licenses, Letter to the Honorable Lois Cashell, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 1991/01/18  
Biological criteria Biological Criteria: National Program Guidance for Surface Waters 1990/04/01 440/5-90-004
Biological criteria Biological Assessments and Criteria: Crucial Components of Water Quality Programs 2002/01/01 822-F-02-006
Biological criteria Lake and Reservoir Bioassessment and Biocriteria: Technical Guidance Document 1998/01/01 841-B-98-007
Biological criteria Procedures for Initiating Narrative Biological Criteria 1992/10 822-B-92-002
Chesapeake Bay Response to Petition from Chesapeake Bay Foundation 2005/06/13  
Conditional Approvals Guidance for the Use of Conditional Approvals for State Water Quality Standards, Memorandum from Margaret Prothro 1989/06/20  
Copper criteria Streamlined Water-Effect Ratio Procedure for Discharges of Copper 2001/03/01 822-R-01-005
Criteria Guidance Document on Expression of Aquatic Life Criteria as Dissolved Criteria (PDF) (30 pp, 1MB) 1993/10/01  
Criteria Guidance on the Use of Criteria Contained in "Quality Criteria For Water" During the Review of State Water Quality Standards Revisions 1978/01/16  
Criteria National Recommended Water Quality Criteria Current  
Criteria List of EPA Water Quality Criteria Documents  1994/01/01  
Criteria Guidelines for Deriving Numerical National Water Quality Criteria for the Protection of Aquatic Organisms and Their Uses 1985/01/01 PB85-227049
Designated Uses Designating Attainable Uses Symposium, 2002 2002/06/03  
Designated Uses-Recreation Designation of Recreation Uses 1989/09/07  
Dissolved oxygen criteria Aquatic Life Criteria for Dissolved Oxygen (Saltwater) Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras 2000/11/01 822-R-00-012
Downstream Response to Sierra Club Petition 2004/06/25  
Downstream Favorable Supreme Court Decision Concerning Interstate Water Pollution, Memorandum from Raymond Ludwiszewski (Arkansas v. Oklahoma) 1992/02/27  
Downstream Templates for Narrative Downstream Protection Criteria in State Water Quality Standards 2014/02/14 820-F-14-002
Downstream Protection of Downstream Waters in Water Quality Standards: Frequently Asked Questions 2014/6 820-F-14-001
Downstream Decision Tree Tool for Downstream Protection 2014/11/17  
Economic Interim Economic Guidance for Water Quality Standards: Workbook 1995/03/01 823/B-95-002
Effluent Dependent Ecosystems Region 9 Guidance for Modifying Water Quality Standards and Protecting Effluent-Dependent Ecosystems —Interim Final 1992/06/17  
Emerging contaminants Aquatic Life: Contaminants of Emerging Concern White Paper 2008/06/03  
Endangered Species Act Consultation Memorandum of Agreement Between the Environmental Protection Agency, Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Marine Fisheries Service Regarding Enhanced Coordination Under the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act; Notice 2001/02/22  
Endangered Species Act Consultation Policy Guidance: Water Quality Standards and the Endangered Species Act 2001/02/22 823-F-01-003 
Endangered Species Act Consultation Endangered Species Consultation Handbook (PDF) (315 pp, 919 K) 1998/03/01  
Endangered Species Act Consultation Endangered Species Act Joint Guidance (PDF) (14 pp, 907 K) 1992/07/27  
Existing Uses Questions and Answers on EPA's Existing Use Policy, Letter to Mr. Derek Smithee, State of Oklahoma Water Resources Board 2008/09/05  
Existing Uses Determination of "Existing Uses" for Purposes of Water Quality Standards Implementation, Memorandum from Patrick Tobin 1986/04/07  
Existing Uses Interpretation of the Term "Existing Uses" Under the Antidegradation Policy 1985/02/21  
Fish and Shellfish Advisories Guidance: Use of Fish and Shellfish Advisories and Classifications in 303(d) and 305(b) Listing Decisions, Letter from Geoffrey Grubbs and Robert Wayland 2000/10/24  
Fish consumption Estimated per capita fish consumption in the United States 2002/08/01 821-C-02-003
Fish consumption National Guidance for Assessing Chemical Contaminant Data for Use in Fish Advisories 1996-2002 823-B-00-007, 823-B-00-008, 823-B-00-009, 823R95001
Great Lakes Acceptable Risk Levels in Great Lakes Waters, Fact Sheet 2006/08/01 823-F-06-012
Great Lakes Water Quality Guidance for the Great Lakes System: Supplementary Information Document 1995/03/01 820-B-95-001
Groundwater Water Quality Standards and Underground Waters, Memorandum from Joan Bernstein 1979/05/29  
Human health criteria Methodology for Deriving Ambient Water Quality Criteria for the Protection of Human Health 2000/10/01 822-B-00-004
Human health criteria Human Health Ambient Water Quality Criteria and Fish Consumption Rates Frequently Asked Questions 2000  
Implementation Plans Revision of Water Quality Standards and Implementation Plans Under [Section] 303 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, Memorandum from William Frick 1975/02/03  
Interstate Waters National Stream Use Policy, Memorandum to Acting Director, Water Planning Division 1972/10/15  
Marinas Section 401 Certification of Marinas, Memorandum from Catherine Winer 1985/11/12  
Marine pH criteria Marine pH Criteria, Letter to Center for Biological Diversity 2010/04/15  
Metals criteria Modifications to "Interim Guidance on Determination and Use of Water-Effect ratios for Metals" and EPA’s "Recalculation Procedure when Deriving Site-Specific Criteria" 1997/12/03  
Metals criteria Interim Guidance on Determination and Use of Water-Effect ratios for Metals, Memorandum from Tudor Davies 1994/02/22 823-B-94-001
Metals criteria Office of Water Policy and Technical Guidance on Interpretation and Implementation of Aquatic Life Metals Criteria 1993/10/01 822-F-93-009
Mixing Zones Initial Zones of Dilution for Bacteria in Rivers and Streams, Memorandum from Ephraim King 2008/11/12  
Mixing Zones Compilation of EPA Mixing Zone Documents 2006/07/01 823-R-06-003
Mixing Zones EPA Guidance on Application of State Mixing Zone Policies in EPA-issued NPDES Permits, Memorandum from Robert Perciasepe 1996/08/06  
Mixing Zones Mixing Zones for Water Quality Standards, Memorandum from Richard Stoll 1979/05/01  
Mixing Zones Decision no. 31 of the General Counsel on Matters of Law Pursuant to 40 CFR Section 125.36(m) 1975/10/14  
Mixing Zones Mixing Zones, Memorandum from Robert Zenner 1973/10/02  
Modeling Guidance Document on Dynamic Modeling and Translators (PDF) (30 pp, 1MB) see page 18 1993/08/01  
Monitoring Guidance Document on Monitoring (PDF) (30 pp, 1MB) see page 29 1993/10/01  
Monitoring State Water Monitoring and Waste Load Allocation 1985/10/01 440/4-85-031
Narrative Translator Criteria Option 3 of Section 303(c)(2)(B) Guidance, Memorandum from David Sabock 1990/01/03  
Natural Conditions A Framework for Defining and Documenting Natural Conditions for Development of Site-Specific Natural Background Aquatic Life Criteria for Temperature, Dissolved Oxygen, and PH: Interim Document 2015/02/12 820-R-15-001
Natural Conditions Establishing Site Specific Aquatic Criteria Equal to Natural Background (“Tudor Davies Memo”) (1997) (PDF) 1997/11/05  
Nonpoint Sources Nonpoint Source Guidance 1996/05/01  
Nonpoint Sources Guidance Specifying Management Measures for Sources of Nonpoint Pollution in Coastal Waters


Nonpoint Sources Nonpoint Source Controls and Water Quality Standards, Memorandum from Carl Myers 1987/08/19 FY-87-49
Nonpoint Sources Answers to Questions on Nonpoint Sources and WQS, Memorandum from Lawrence Jensen (PDF) (1 pg, 70K) 1986/03/07  
Nonpoint Sources Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program: Program Development and Approval Guidance (PDF) (68 pp, 654K) 1993/01/01 841-B-93-003
Nutrients Bioconfirmation, Letter to Maine Department of Environmental Protection 2011/12/22  
Nutrients Response letter to the Mississippi River Petition, July 29, 2011 2011/07/29  
Nutrients Technical Assistance for Developing Nutrient Site-Specific Alternative Criteria in Florida 2011/06/01  
Nutrients Working in Partnership with States to Address Phosphorus and Nitrogen Pollution through Use of a Framework for State Nutrient Reductions, Memorandum from Nancy Stoner, (a.k.a. Framework Memo) 2011/03/16  
Nutrients Letter to New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission, March 1, 2011 2011/03/01  
Nutrients EPA Response to the Maine Congressional Delegation’s January 21, 2011 Letter 2011/02/15  
Nutrients Using Stressor-response Relationships to Derive Numeric Nutrient Criteria Technical Guidance 2010/11/01 820-S-10-001
Nutrients An Urgent Call to Action: Report of the State-EPA Nutrient Innovations Task Group (PDF) (170 pp, 6MB) 2009/08/27  
Nutrients EPA Needs to Accelerate Adoption of Numeric Nutrient Water Quality Standards, OIG Report 09-P-0223 2009/08/26 09-P-0223
Nutrients State Adoption of Numeric Nutrient Standards 1998–2008 Status Report 2008/12/01 821-F-08-007
Nutrients Nutrient Criteria Technical Guidance: Wetlands 2008/06/01 822-B-08-001
Nutrients Nutrient Pollution and Numeric Water Quality Standards, Memorandum from Ben Grumbles 2007/05/25  
Nutrients Establishing numeric nutrient criteria, Letter from Ben Grumbles to the Natural Resources Defense Council 2004/03/04  
Nutrients Development and Adoption of Nutrient Criteria into Water Quality Standards, Memorandum from Geoffrey Grubbs (PDF) (21 pp, 67K) 2001/11/14  
Nutrients Nutrient Criteria Technical Guidance Manual: Estuarine and Coastal Marine Waters 2001/10/01 822-B-01-003
Nutrients Nutrient Criteria Technical Guidance: Rivers and Streams 2000/07/07 822-B-00-002
Nutrients Nutrient Criteria Technical Guidance: Lakes and Reservoirs 2000/07/07 822-B-00-001
Nutrients National Strategy for the Development of Regional Nutrient Criteria 1998/06/01 822-R-98-002
Ocean Acidification Integrated Reporting and Listing Decisions Related to Ocean Acidification, Memorandum from Denise Keehner 2010/11/15  
Recreational Criteria Recreational Water Quality Criteria 2011/12/09 820-D-11-002
Recreational Criteria Summary of Stakeholder Meeting on EPA’s Development of New or Revised Recreational Water Quality Criteria June 14–15, 2011 – New Orleans, Louisiana 2011/06/14  
Recreational Criteria Recreational Water Criteria – Critical Path Science Plan 2007/08/31 823-R-08-002
Recreational Criteria Bacteria Rule for Coastal and Great Lakes Recreation Waters (BEACH Act rule) 2004/11/16  
Recreational Criteria Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act of 2000 2000/01/24 PUBLIC LAW 106–284
Reporting Watershed Monitoring and Reporting Requirements for Section 319 National Monitoring Program Projects 1991/08/30 843-B-91-113
Reporting Integrated Reporting (IR) Guidelines under Sections 303(d), 305(b), and 314 of the Clean Water Act    
Seaward Extent of State WQS Seaward Extent of State Water Quality Standards, Memorandum from Cathy Winer 1985/10/31  
Sediment Promoting Water, Superfund and Enforcement Collaboration on Contaminated Sediments 2015/02/12  
Sediment Contaminated Sediment Management Strategy 1998/04/01 823-R-98-001
Sediment criteria Suspended and Bedded Sediments, Technical Guidance 2003/08/20  
Site-specific criteria Establishing Site Specific Aquatic Life Criteria Equal to Natural Background (Tudor Davies Memo) 1997/11/05  
Site-specific criteria Guidelines for Deriving Numerical Aquatic Site-Specific Water Quality Criteria by Modifying National Criteria 1984/12/01 600-S3-84-099
Standards, General Strategy for Water Quality Standards and Criteria 2003/08/03 823-R-03-010
Standards, General Fact Sheet: Strategy for Water Quality Standards and Criteria 2003/08/03 823-F-03-011
Standards, General Assessment of the Water Quality Standards Development and Review Process 2000/10/01  
Standards, General Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Water Quality Standards (PDF) (65 pp, 593K) 1998/07/07 Federal Register Vol. 63, No.129 Pages 36741-36806
Standards, General Water Quality Criteria and Standards Plan: Priorities for the Future 1998/06/01 822-R-98-003
Standards, General Water Quality Criteria and Standards for the 21st Century: Proceedings, 4th National Conference, September 13-15, 1994 1994/09/01 820-R-95-001
Standards, General Water Quality Standards for the 21st Century: Proceedings of the Third National Conference, August 31-September 3, 1992 1992/12/01 823-R-92-009
Standards, General Water Quality Standards, Memorandum from Jack Raven (PDF) (2 pp, 108 K) 1984/02/02  
Standards, General Water Quality Standards Handbook: Second Edition
NOTE: This document is not the current version and is provided for historical purposes only. See the online Water Quality Standards Handbook for the lastest version.
1994/08 823-B-94-005a
Submitting new or revised water quality standards to EPA Information for States and Tribes on submittal of new and/or revised water quality standards to U.S. EPA for review under section 303(c) of the Clean Water Act and Federal regulations at 40 CFR 131 (PDF) (7 pp, 32 K) 2007/09/13  
TMDL Guidance for Water Quality-based Decisions: The TMDL Process 1991/04/01 440/4-91-001
Toxic criteria Technical Support Document of Water Quality-Based Toxics Control 1991/03/01 823-R-88-100
Toxic criteria Memorandum from LaJuana Wilcher Announcing Development of Federal Rulemaking to Promulgate State Water Quality Standards (National Toxics Rule) 1990/01/26  
Toxic criteria Compliance with CWA Section 303(c)(2)(B), Memorandum from Martha Prothro 1989/06/19  
Toxic criteria Guidance for State Implementation of Water Quality Standards for CWA Section 303(c)(2)(B), Memorandum from Rebecca Hanmer 1988/12/12 823-R-88-100
Toxic criteria Selection of Water Quality Criteria in State Water Quality Standards, Memorandum from Edwin Johnson 1985/02/28  
Toxic criteria Recalculation of State Toxic Criteria from October 1, 1982 1982/10/01  
Toxic criteria Toxic Criteria Recommendations, Memorandum from Joseph Krivak re. November 28, 1980 1981/08/28  
Tribes Strategy for Reviewing Tribal Eligibility Applications to Administer EPA Regulatory Programs (Strategy for Treatment in a Similar Manner to a State) 2008/01/23  
Tribes Final Section 106 Tribal Grant Guidance 2006/10/20 832-R-06-003
Tribes OST Expectations for Water Quality Standards for Indian Reservations for Tribes Treated as States, Memorandum from Tudor Davies 1992/04/20  
Tribes Guidance on Water Quality Standards and 401 Certification Programs Administered by Indian Tribes, Memorandum from Tudor Davies 1991/12/31  
Tribes Final WQS Regulation Amendment Concerning Indian Tribes, Memorandum from Tudor Davies 1991/12/05  
Tribes Reference Guide to Water Quality Standards for Indian Tribes 1990/01/02 440/5-90-002
Tribes Water Quality Standards Cooperative Agreements, Memorandum from David Sabock 1989/08/22  
Tribes Questions on Application of Federal Environmental Programs on Indian Lands, Letter to Mr. Dave Frohnmayer, Attorney General 1988/09/09  
Triennial Review Guidance: Coordinating CSO Long-Term Planning with Water Quality Standards Reviews 2001/07/31 833-R-01-002
Triennial Review Three-Year Quality Standards Review, Memorandum from Patrick Tobin 1983/09/06  
Use Attainability Analysis Improving the Effectiveness of the Use Attainability Analysis Process, Memorandum from Ephraim King (PDF) (2 pp, 392K) 2006/03/13  
Use Attainability Analysis UAAs and Other Tools for Managing Designated Uses 2006/03/01 821-R-07-001
Use Attainability Analysis Water Quality Standards: Examples of Alternatives to Changing Long-term Designated Uses to Achieve Water Quality Goals (PDF) (14 pp, 850K) 2005/03/01  
Use Attainability Analysis Technical Support Manual: Waterbody Surveys and Assessments for Conducting Use Attainability Analysis, Volumes 1-3 (PDF) (1983-84; 622 pp, 21MB) 1984/01/01 440/4-86-037
Use Attainment Framework for Incorporating Community Preferences in Use Attainment and Related Water Quality Decision-Making 2011/02/01 625-R-08-001F
Variances Request for Views on Allowable Duration of Water Quality Standards Variances, Memorandum from Catherine Winer 1992/01/24  
Variances National Assessment of State Variance Procedures: Report 1990/11/01  
Variances Variances in Water Quality Standards, Memorandum from Edwin Johnson 1985/03/15  
Variances Applicability of the Part 25 "Public Participation" Regulations to the Approval of Variances from Water Quality Standards, Memorandum from Michele Corash 1980/09/04  
Variances Decision no. 58 of the General Counsel on Matters of Law Pursuant to 40 CFR Section 125.36(m) 1977/03/29  
Variances Decision no. 44 of the General Counsel on Matters of Law Pursuant to 40 CFR Section 125.35(m) 1976/06/22  
Variances and Downgrades Definitions of WQS Terms, Memorandum from Kenneth Mackenthun 1979/07/03  
Variances for Multiple Dischargers Developing Credible Rationales for Variances that Apply to Multiple Dischargers - Frequently Asked Questions 2013/03/29 820-F-13-012
Waste Load Allocations Technical Guidance Manual for Performing Wasteload Allocations, Book 6, Design Conditions 1986/09/01 440/4-87-004
Water Quality-Based Approach Committing EPA's Water Program to Advancing the Watershed Approach, Memorandum from Tracy Mehan 2002/12/03  
Water Quality State Authority to Allocate Water Quantities - Section 101(g) of the Clean Water Act 1978/11/07  
Waters of the US Clean Water Act Definition of “Waters of the United States” Current  
Wetlands Numeric Water Quality Criteria for Wetlands (PDF) (51 pp, 3MB) 1991/07/08  
Wetlands Water Quality Standards for Wetlands: National Guidance 1990/07/01 440-S-90-011
Wetlands Wetlands and 401 Certification: Opportunities for States and Eligible Indian Tribes  1989/04/01  
Wetlands Clean Water Act Authority Over Wetlands, Memorandum from Cathy Winer 1985/04/19  
Wetlands An Approach for Evaluating Numeric Water Quality Criteria for Wetlands Protection 1991/07/08  
What is a New or Revised WQS What is a New or Revised Water Quality Standard Under CWA 303(c)(3)? - Frequently Asked Questions 2012/10/09 820-F-12-017

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