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Comment Period

Comment on the 2022 draft revisions

Updates to Water Quality Program Policy 1-11

Nov. 7, 2022 - Jan. 6, 2023, 11:59 p.m.

We are seeking feedback on proposed revisions to Water Quality Program Policy 1-11, Water Quality Assessment.

The revisions, when finalized, will be incorporated into Policy 1-11, Chapter 1. The revisions include:

  • New Freshwater Harmful Algae Blooms Methodology – We have developed a new methodology to assess where harmful algal blooms (HABs) are impairing state waters. This methodology utilizes public health advisory information, algae and toxin data, public health assessment information, and Washington State Department of Health recreational guidance to determine impairment to water contact recreational uses.  This methodology for determining impairment is based on our narrative water quality standards. 
  • Non-Substantial Edits – We are proposing minor revisions to portions of Policy 1-11 based on stakeholder feedback. These revisions will not change how we perform the assessment but are meant to improve clarity on our assessment process. These revisions include:
    • Providing additional information on how we evaluate data and information under the narrative listing pathway
    • Adjusting language on how we evaluate natural conditions
    • Adding a definition of “ambient conditions/ambient water quality” as it pertains to the Assessment

We welcome public comments on the revisions, available in two documents:

Learn more

We will host an informational webinar at 10 a.m. on Dec. 6, 2022 to discuss the revisions to Policy 1-11, and answer any questions. Register here for this webinar.


The Water Quality Assessment (Assessment) is the process that Ecology takes to collect data and assess the quality of surface water of the state. The Assessment fulfills Washington State’s obligation under the federal Clean Water Act to identify polluted waters (known as the 303(d) list) as well as report on the status of water quality in the state (the 305(b) list).  

Water Quality Policy 1-11 is the guiding policy that we use to assess water quality data for the Assessment. This policy explains how to submit data, the data quality necessary for inclusion in the Assessment, and how water body segments are assessed to meet surface water quality standards. The policy is comprised of two chapters.

Chapter 1: Washington’s Water Quality Assessment Listing Methodology
Chapter 2: Ensuring Credible Data for Water Quality Management

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Justin Donahue, Water Quality Program
PO BOX 47600
Olympia, WA 98504-7600
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Justin Donahue
Water Quality Assessment Scientist

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