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The Water Quality Standards program outlined in the Clean Water Act (CWA) and enforced by US EPA consists of three distinct parts: the designation of beneficial uses for each waterbody, the development and application of measurable water quality criteria to protect those uses, and an antidegradation policy and implementation procedure to prevent deterioration of water quality. The antidegradation concepts contained in state and federal regulations (40 CFR 131.12) are relatively simple and straightforward: 1) all waters should be protected at some basic level; 2) waters that are cleaner than the basic level should be protected at the existing higher level unless there is a significant local benefit; and 3) some pristine or unique waters should not be degraded even if those benefits can be demonstrated. The definitions and details associated with this simple three-part approach, however, can be complex.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2005-01-01

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