Chapter 173-201A WAC

On January 23, 2019, Ecology adopted amendments to Chapter 173-201A WAC, Water Quality Standards for Surface Waters of the State of Washington. This rulemaking adopted updated fresh and marine water quality standards for the protection of water contact recreational uses in state waters. 

This rulemaking adopted:

  • New bacterial indicators and numeric criteria to protect water contact recreational uses.
  • Updated water contact recreational use categories, and modifications to sections 600 and 610 to support the proposed updated uses.
  • Improved location information in use designation 602 (use designations for fresh waters), and 612 (use designations for marine waters).  

Rulemaking timeline


Announcement phase (CR-101)

Filing date:
Aug. 16, 2017

Announcement documents

Rule development phase

Aug. 16, 2017 - July 2018

Public input & involvement

Oct. 17, 2017: We held two informational webinars to discuss our work to amend water contact recreational use criteria. Both webinars presented the same information. May 1 - May 21, 2018: We held a public comment period on the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement.  June 14, 2018: We held two public webinars to provide an overview of our preliminary decisions for updates to recreational use criteria in the water quality standards . Both webinars presented the same information. 

Rule proposal phase (CR-102)

Filing date:
July 17, 2018

Rule proposal documents:

Comment period

The comment period closed September 14, 2018. 
  Public hearings were held on:
  • Aug. 28, 2018 - Webinar (1:30 p.m.)
  • Aug. 28, 2018 - Webinar (6:30 p.m.)
  • Aug. 29, 2018 - Tukwila, WA (1:30 p.m.)
  • Aug. 30, 2018 - Spokane Valley, WA​ (10:30 a.m.)
  • Sept. 5, 2018 - Webinar (6:30 p.m.) 

Rule adoption phase (CR-103)

Adoption date:
Jan. 23, 2019

Rule effective date:
Feb. 23, 2019

Rule implementation information:

Additional languages

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To request ADA accommodation for disabilities, or printed materials in a format for the visually impaired, contact Ecology's ADA Coordinator by email at, or call 360-407-6831. People with impaired hearing may call Washington Relay Service at 711. People with speech disability may call TTY at 877-833-6341.