DEEP: Water Quality Standards and Classification

Water Quality Standards and Classifications

The Connecticut Water Quality Standards form the foundation of Connecticut’s water management programs. Required by Section 303(c) of the federal Clean Water Act, the Water Quality Standards articulate State policies regarding designated uses and related classifications of Connecticut’s water resources, addressing both surface and ground waters, and the standards and criteria necessary to support such designated uses. The Water Quality Standards provide the context and underpinnings for environmental programs, informing actions such as National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit issuance, water quality certification programs, remediation programs, as well as state-led monitoring and assessment programs and Total Maximum Daily Load development, among other programs and activities.

The initial development of the Connecticut Water Quality Standards in 1967 by the Water Resources Commission predated the formation of the federal and state environmental protection agencies.  Since then, the Connecticut Water Quality Standards have been revised many times and in 2013 the Commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection completed the rulemaking process in accordance with state law and codified Connecticut's established Water Quality Standards into regulations. The new regulations are the Connecticut Water Quality Standards Regulations Sections 22a-426-1 to 22a-426-9, inclusive, of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies. The regulations were filed with the Secretary of State's Office and became effective on October 10, 2013 for state programs, and were approved by the U.S. EPA on December 11, 2013 for use in federal programs.

The Connecticut Water Quality Standards are reviewed and updated every three years as required by federal law through a process called the Triennial Review. The Triennial Review provides an opportunity to solicit public comment on the Standards, to update the Standards to include the latest scientific understanding of water pollution effects, and to accommodate changes in state and federal law.

The Commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has completed the 2013 -2014 Triennial Review of the Connecticut Water Quality Standards. The final report of the Triennial Review of Connecticut Water Quality Standards was submitted to the U.S. EPA on July 8, 2014.
Related Information

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Content last updated on November 10, 2016.