Updates to the surface water quality standards

We update the surface water quality standards to incorporate the latest science and to meet our priorities and commitments regarding the standards.

Current actions 

The following information highlights the most recent actions related to the water quality standards in Washington.

 Recent and current rulemaking

We use the rulemaking process to meet our priorities and commitments regarding the standards.

Recently completed rulemaking

Triennial review 

Federal regulations require that we periodically hold public hearings to review surface water quality standards. This process is called a triennial review. This review gives us an opportunity to discuss priorities and commitments to update surface water quality standards with interested parties and the public. 

2021 triennial review

In April 2022, we submitted our Triennial Review Report to EPA with our planned updates to Washington's Surface Water Quality Standards anticipated for 2022 through 2024.

This latest Triennial Review resulted from a public review process that we conducted from July to September 2021. We accepted comments and feedback on a draft work plan of actions we expect to take related to our water quality standards in the next three years.

We've used rulemaking to continually update the water quality standards. See our recent rulemaking section above to learn more about these updates. 

Rulemaking process

When it is necessary to update the standards we go through the rulemaking process. We select the topics for rulemaking based on which actions will make the greatest environmental and/or administrative benefits.

Topics are prioritized based on:

  • The expected environmental benefits.
  • Changes in science
  • Federal mandates or legal requirements.
  • Requests for specific updates.