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Revising the Texas Surface Water Quality Standards

Summary of how the standards are revised.

Revision Process

The process to revise the Texas Surface Water Quality Standards (Standards) includes the public and is usually conducted at least every three years. Revisions address new information about pollutants, additional data about water quality conditions in specific segments, and new state and federal regulatory requirements.

Stakeholders in the review and revision process include the TCEQ, EPA, the general public, other governmental agencies, industries, municipalities, environmental groups, and others. Much of the coordination is done through the Surface Water Quality Standards Advisory Workgroup. There have been revisions to the Standards in 1967, 1973, 1981, 1984, 1988, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2010, and 2014.

The Procedures to Implement the Texas Surface Water Quality Standards (RG-194) (Implementation Procedures), which explain how the Standards are used in wastewater permitting, are reviewed and revised along with the Standards.

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2017 Revision

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) published a notice in the March 6, 2015 issue of the Texas Register Exit the TCEQ requesting preliminary written comments in preparation for the 2017 review and revisions to the Texas Surface Water Quality Standards (30 Texas Administrative Code 307.1-307.10) (Standards). The Standards establish instream water quality requirements for Texas streams, rivers, lakes, estuaries, and other surface water bodies. The TCEQ is directed to establish water quality standards in Section 26.023 of the Texas Water Code. As required by the federal Clean Water Act, state water quality standards are publicly reviewed and revised as needed every three years. Revisions are made to (1) incorporate new information on potential pollutants, (2) include additional data about water quality conditions in specific water bodies, (3) address new state and federal regulatory requirements, and (4) accommodate public concerns and public goals for water quality in the state.

How to Submit Preliminary Comments:
The notice can be found in the March 6, 2015 issue of the Texas Register Exit the TCEQ and includes instructions on (1) how to access the Standards and (2) how to submit written preliminary comments. The TCEQ will review and consider preliminary comments during the development of draft proposals for the 2017 revision of the Standards; however, written responses to these preliminary comments will not be provided. All revisions will be subject to a formal public hearing and a public comment period prior to adoption.

Staff Contacts

For further information on the Standards, please contact Ms. Debbie Miller, Water Quality Planning Division, at (512) 239-1703. For further information on the Implementation Procedures, please contact Mr.Gregg Easley, Water Quality Division, at (512) 239-4539.

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