The Clean Water Act (CWA) requires that States review their water quality standards every three years (Triennial Review) and revise the standards as necessary. Consistent with this requirement, MDE published a notice of proposed action in the May 26, 2017 issue of the Maryland Register. This marked the beginning of the public comment period that ended on July 10, 2017 (please note the extension of the public comment period). Stakeholders were invited to comment both on the proposed changes to water quality standards and on other water quality standards of interest. A brief summary of the proposed changes can be accessed by clicking here. To see more detail on the proposed changes please click here. After considering and addressing all comments received on this Triennial Review, the final set of regulations will be submitted to the Division of State Documents for promulgation.
MDE held a public hearing at 3pm on June 13th in Baltimore to present on the proposed changes and to answer questions. A recording of that hearing is available by clicking the first link below and the presentation can be accessed through the second link below. Other materials, relating to the proposed removal of Tier II segments, were requested by attendees of the hearing and are provided as the 3rd, 4th, and 5th bullets below.
Comments or questions may be directed in writing to Timothy Fox at Tim.Fox@maryland.gov or alternatively at:
The purpose of water quality standards is to protect, maintain and improve the quality of Maryland surface waters. The following make up the three components of water quality standards:
A designated use is a goal for water quality. Typically, the goal is the description of an appropriate intended use by humans and/or aquatic life for a water body. Designated uses for a particular waterbody may include recreation, shellfishing, water supply and/or aquatic life habitat. The designated uses established may or may not be met currently, but must be attainable. In Maryland these designated uses are grouped into "Use Classes" (e.g. Use Class I, I-P, II, III, IV-P) so as to describe a unique combination of designated uses that apply to a single water body. Each stream segment, lake, bay, etc. in Maryland is assigned to a use class.
For more detailed information about Maryland’s designated uses and use class groupings, please click HERE. To go directly to maps of surface waters and their associated use classes, please click HERE.
For the full text of Maryland Water Quality Standards please visit COMAR 26.08.01 and COMAR 26.08.02.
Changes to the Water Quality Standards are implemented through regulatory changes which are subject to the normal promulgation process.
On April 2, 2014, the Secretary of the Environment adopted amendments to the water quality standards regulations. These amendments were proposed in the December 13, 2013 edition of the Maryland Register (40:20 Md. R.). Final action on the regulations was published in the April 18 edition of the Maryland Register. Click here: Maryland Register Online. Comments specific to this proposal were received and have been addressed in a comment/response document. To see a list of those waters which had their Use Classes changed in the regulations, please click on the following link.
For more information, please contact Matthew Stover at Matthew.Stover@maryland.gov or at (410) 537-3611.
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