Watershed Planning Program: Surface Water Quality Standards Review and Development Activities

The Surface Water Quality Standards (SWQS) Section regularly reviews and develops standards and criteria for potential future adoption into the Massachusetts SWQS regulation, 314 CMR 4.00.

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Activities listed here are not part of an active Clean Water Act triennial review process for proposed regulatory revisions; however, these activities may be adopted in the future. In cases where EPA has already issued criteria guidance, the SWQS Section reviews these criteria for potential adoption into 314 CMR 4.00, usually with the assistance of MassDEP’s Office of Research and Standards. If EPA has not issued criteria guidance, or EPA’s guidance may need updating, the SWQS Section may develop or refine criteria, which is a process that requires extensive research and scientific expertise. Any SWQS criteria review, development or refinement usually includes stakeholder engagement and inter- and intra-agency coordination.

Opportunities for SWQS Review

MassDEP's Watershed Planning Program "Listening Sessions"

MassDEP amended the Massachusetts Surface Water Quality Standards (SWQS) regulation (314 CMR 4.00) in November 2021, and we routinely  seek stakeholder input concerning future revisions. Under the Clean Water Act, MassDEP is required to conduct regular reviews of the SWQS. As such, MassDEP’s Watershed Planning Program hosted two remote “Listening Sessions” in May 2022 to hear suggestions from the public on future criteria development, priority surface waters for protection or restoration, and other topics of interest pertaining to the SWQS.

To receive notices of future review opportunities, sign up to be on our WPP e-mail list here!

Coastal and Marine Criteria

Coastal and Marine Dissolved Oxygen Criteria Review: 2016-2019

MassDEP has been conducting an ongoing review of existing coastal and marine dissolved oxygen criteria in 314 CMR 4.00. Two preliminary stakeholder outreach meetings were held on May 14-15, 2019, to discuss the work conducted to date, present the preliminary outcome of the criteria review, outline the next steps in the review process, and receive feedback from stakeholders. For additional information, please see the materials from the outreach meetings below.

Additional Resources   for Coastal and Marine Criteria

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