Water Protection Program

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Water Quality Standards 

The objective of the Clean Water Act of 1972 along with its amendments are to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation’s waters. The first national set of water quality standards were published in 1983 and codified in 40 CFR Part 131. These regulations allow individual states to construct their own water quality standards framework providing there is no reduction in protection compared to federal guidelines.

Missouri’s Water Quality Standards are reviewed and modified every three years. Termed the triennial review process, coordinators with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources meet with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, other state agencies, and concerned citizens to evaluate the effectiveness of our standards.

Water quality standards provide a means by which attainment of water quality objectives can be measured. The objective is protection of designated uses through the application of narrative or numeric criteria. The level of protection given to a stream, lake, or river is dependent on the expected or "designated use(s)," of that water. Classified waters in Missouri have been assigned the designated uses that are listed in 10CSR 20-7.031(C) page 10. The antidegradation section requires actions to maintain existing uses. Attainment frequency of water quality standards are used in identifying and characterizing waters of the state for purposes of compiling the 303(d) list and 305(b) report. In addition, effluent limits contained in National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits are frequently derived using water quality standards.

Proposed Water Quality Standards Interactive Map Viewer

Draft Missouri Aquatic Habitat Use Attainability Analysis Protocol New Item Icon

Missouri Initiates Development of Nutrient Criteria For Water Quality

Water Protection Rule Development

Recreational Use Attainability Analysis

EPA’s Water Quality Standards

EPA Actions on Water Quality Standards