Water Quality Committee
Protecting and enhancing Oregon’s water quality is the primary mission of ACWA. The Water Quality Committee focuses on water quality standards, NPDES and WPCF permit issues, and watershed health.
The Oregon Gardens, an 80-acre botanical garden, is irrigated with treated wastewater from the City of Silverton—saving potable water while providing for the needs of plants in 20 speciality gardens.
Oregon Water Quality Standards
Under the Clean Water Act, water quality standards are set by the state to protect beneficial uses. The State standards must be approved by US EPA. Oregon has a wide variety of water quality standards, and the most stringent water quality standards for toxics—human-health related—in the nation. Information on Oregon’s water quality standards is available on DEQ’s website.
Water Quality Permitting
The Water Quality Committee is very involved in detailed reviews of Oregon and EPA water quality permitting and permitting policies. For communities and industries that discharge to Oregon’s rivers and streams, a federal/state permit is required—a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. In Oregon, DEQ operates the NPDES permitting program with more information on their stie.
Facilities that do not discharge wastewater by storing it in a lagoon, recycling it, or beneficially reusing it are permitted as Water Pollution Control Facilities.
Water Quality Permitting Tools
DEQ issues a number of Internal Management Directives (IMDs), or guidance, that detail how permitting decisions are made on issues such as setting an appropriate mixing zone, SSOs, antidegradation, determining if a discharge as a Reasonable Potential to exceed water quality criteria, use of recycled water, and other technical information. An inventory of the Water Quality Division IMDs affecting permitting is available on the DEQ website.