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Implementing the Texas Surface Water Quality Standards in Permitting

TCEQ establishes procedures that describe how surface water quality standards are applied in wastewater permitting.

What Are The Implementation Procedures?

TCEQ is responsible for maintaining and enhancing water quality in the state. One aspect of that responsibility involves implementing the Texas Surface Water Quality Standards when issuing permits for wastewater discharges to surface waters of the state. The TCEQ issues Wastewater Permits under a program called the Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES).

TCEQ maintains a document entitled “Procedures to Implement the Texas Surface Water Quality Standards” (Implementation Procedures or IPs) that explains how the water quality standards are applied to permits issued under the TPDES program. This guidance document is updated as needed to reflect changes in the water quality standards and in agency policy and procedures. The implementation procedures are subject to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) review and approval.

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Current Implementation Procedures

On June 30, 2010, the Commission approved a revision to the Implementation Procedures. EPA reviewed the June 2010 Implementation Procedures and approved all except the following sections for use in TPDES permitting: whole effluent toxicity testing, dechlorination requirements for minor domestic wastewater treatment facilities, and variances. TCEQ continues to work with EPA to resolve these remaining issues. Until those issues are resolved, the 2003 IPs pertain to those issues in permits issued.

Previous Implementation Procedures

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2022 Revisions to the Procedures to Implement the Texas Surface Water Quality Standards.

In preparation for a review and revision of the Standards and Implementation Procedures, TCEQ published a notice in the March 8, 2019 issue of the Texas Register requesting preliminary written comments on the Procedures to Implement the Texas Surface Water Quality Standards, TCEQ RG-194, June 2010 and the Texas Surface Water Quality Standards (30 Texas Administrative Code Chapter 307). 

On March 9, June 29, and June 30, 2020, TCEQ hosted public stakeholder meetings to discuss proposed revisions to the Standards and the IPs. For information about those meetings, see the Surface Water Quality Standards Advisory Work Group webpage.

TCEQ staff will provide a timeline for approval of the revised Standards and IPs, including tentative dates for the proposal agenda, public comment period, hearing, and adoption, once they are determined.

Plastics Prohibition Procedure Development: Stakeholder Participation

TCEQ proposes to place a prohibition in wastewater permits for facilities that handle plastic resin pellets generated at organic chemical manufacturing facilities or packaged and transported to processors for molding into plastic products. This proposal does not include post-consumer refuse such as plastic bottles, straws, or bags. This topic was discussed in the Surface Water Quality Advisory Workgroup (SWQAWG) Stakeholder Meeting held June 29 and June 30, 2020.

Public Documents related to Proposed Plastic Prohibition

Comments on the Proposed Plastics Prohibition Received by August 10, 2020

Comments are listed with the name or organization that submitted the comment.

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For More Information

For information about the Implementation Procedures, contact the Standards Implementation Team at 512-239-4671 or You may also send a fax to 512-239-4420 or a letter to TCEQ, Attn: Standards Implementation Team, MC-150, P.O. Box 13087, Austin, Texas 78711-3087.

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