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Water Quality Standards Section

The federal Clean Water Act directs states to adopt water quality standards for the protection of public health or welfare, enhance the quality of water and serve the purposes of the Clean Water Act.

A water quality standard defines the water quality goals of a water body or portion of, by designating the use to be made of the water and criteria for the protection of designated uses. Alaska’s water quality standards are identified at 18 AAC 70 (PDF).

What does the Water Quality Standards Team do?

  • Evaluate and revise Alaska's water quality standards based by integrating the latest science, technology, policy, and federal requirements.
  • Explain water quality standards and how they are used in state programs.
  • Provide easy access to water quality standards related documents, including the regulations, proposed revisions, fact sheets, technical papers, guidance documents and issues that may be of interest to the general and regulated public.

Water quality standards are used in the development of wastewater permits, waterbody monitoring plans, and waterbody recovery goals. The adoption of new and/or modifications to the existing water quality standards are subject to public participation requirements.

It is important to note that water quality standards are different than those used for the regulation of public drinking water (i.e. drinking water regulations). More information about the regulation of drinking water is available through the DEC Drinking Water Program.

Federal Resources on Water Quality Standards

State Resources and Topics of Interest to Alaskans

Former versions of 18 AAC 70 Water Quality Standards:

Some sections of these earlier regulations remain in effect for CWA purposes. The Comparison of State and Federally Approved WQS for use with CWA programs provides additional information about this topic.

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