Water Quality Planning
The Water Quality Planning Branch of the Division of Environmental Quality (DEQ) consists of ecologists, biologists, and geologists who manage activities related to both surface water and groundwater.
State Water Quality Monitoring Networks
Among the activities are the management of the State Water Quality Monitoring Networks for both surface water and groundwater; routine monitoring activities; and intensive, special investigations of the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of watersheds and/or aquifers. Data generated from these activities, as well as other readily available data, are used to develop Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) and prepare the biennial Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report (305(b)) and List of Impaired Waterbodies (303(d) list). The data may also be used to develop water quality standards and criteria for the assessment of designated use attainment and to prioritize restoration and remediation activities.
The staff is responsible for a variety of water quality planning activities, including developing and/or enhancing ecoregion-based biological assessment criteria, developing and updating water quality standards (Regulation 2), reviewing and administering the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permits Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) Testing Program, reviewing and administrating Short Term Activity Authorizations (STAAs), and representing the Division on numerous federal, state, local, and watershed-based advisory boards and technical support groups. Periodically, the staff also assists DEQ's Environmental Assistance Resources efforts with water quality based, hands-on educational demonstrations.
Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP)
The Water Office staff maintains a Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP) in accordance with Section 208 of the Clean Water Act. The WQMP is an inventory of point source dischargers and their associated permit limits and other information.