An official website of the United States government.

We've made some changes to EPA.gov. If the information you are looking for is not here, you may be able to find it on the EPA Web Archive or the January 19, 2017 Web Snapshot.

Federal Water Quality Standards Applicable to Multiple States

Several federal rulemakings establish water quality standards that are applicable across multiple states. These are also included within the Water Quality Standards Regulation pages specific to each individual state, territory and authorized tribe.

On this page:

You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA’s About PDF page to learn more.

National Toxics Rule Promulgation

This rule (Effective February 5, 1993), established for 14 states and territories, describes the chemical-specific, numeric criteria for priority toxic pollutants.  This was necessary to bring all states into compliance with the requirements of section 303(c)(2)(B) of the Clean Water Act (CWA). States determined by EPA in 1992 to fully comply with section 303(c)(2)(B) requirements are not affected by this rule.

Individual Actions to Establish and Amend the Standards Under the National Toxics Rule

Withdrawal of Certain Federal Water Quality Criteria Applicable to California, New Jersey and Puerto Rico (Effective June 3, 2013).

EPA withdrew certain human health and aquatic life water quality criteria applicable to Puerto Rico (and other states) under the National Toxics Rule as Puerto Rico separately adopted, and EPA approved, water quality criteria covering the same pollutants and the federally promulgated criteria are no longer needed.
On April 5, 2012 EPA proposed to withdraw certain human health and aquatic life water quality criteria applicable to Puerto Rico (and other states) under the National Toxics Rule.

Withdrawal of Certain Federal Water Quality Criteria Applicable to Alaska, Arkansas, and Puerto Rico (Effective October 29, 2004).

EPA determined that federally promulgated criteria are no longer needed for these pollutants because Puerto Rico has adopted, and EPA has approved, certain water quality criteria originally included in the National Toxics Rule.

Withdrawal of Certain Federal Human Health and Aquatic Life Water Quality Criteria Applicable to Vermont, the District of Columbia, Kansas and New Jersey (Effective January 2, 2003).

Withdrawal of Certain Federal Human Health and Aquatic Life Water Quality Criteria Applicable to Rhode Island, Vermont, the District of Columbia, Kansas and Idaho (Effective April 12, 2000)

Numeric Criteria for Priority Toxic Pollutants; States' Compliance—Revision of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) Criteria (Effective December 9, 1999).

Top of Page


Federal Promulgation under the Great Lakes Initiative

Final Water Quality Guidance for the Great Lakes System

The Water Quality Guidance for the Great Lakes System, issued in 1995, establishes required minimum standards, antidegradation policies, and implementation procedures for waters of the Great Lakes system. This includes special requirements for bioaccumulative chemicals of concern.
The eight Great Lakes states were required to adopt water quality standards as protective as these requirements within two years (by 1997). In a few cases EPA found deficiencies in state provisions and promulgated federal replacements to be in effect until the state makes acceptable revisions. The federal replacement provisions currently in effect are available at CFR Title 40 Section 132.6. The final rules establishing these provisions are also shown below.

Final Withdrawal of Certain Federal Aquatic Life Water Quality Criteria Applicable to Wisconsin (Effective October 17, 2011)

Identification of Approved and Disapproved Elements of the Great Lakes Guidance Submissions from Wisconsin and Final Rule (Effective December 6, 2000)

Identification of Approved and Disapproved Elements of the Great Lakes Guidance Submissions from New York and Final Rule (Effective November 6, 2000)

Identification of Approved and Disapproved Elements of the Great Lakes Guidance Submissions from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois and Final Rule (Effective September 5, 2000)

Top of Page


Federal Promulgation under the BEACH Act

The BEACH Act was enacted in 2000 to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to improve the quality of coastal recreation waters. The BEACH Act covers the coastal and Great Lakes states.

Final Water Quality Standards Bacteria Rule for Coastal and Great Lakes Recreation Waters: 40 CFR 131.41 (Effective December 16, 2004).

Federal regulations to ensure human health protection for coastal and Great Lakes recreation water.

Top of Page