Water Quality Standards

Water Quality Standards

Congress passed the Clean Water Act (CWA) in 1972 to keep our waters clean enough for recreational uses, such as swimming and fishing. The CWA required states to develop water quality standards to protect all water uses and to designate uses for each waterway. The legislation also mandated that industries and wastewater treatment plants obtain permits that set restrictions on the discharge of specific pollutants. These National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits are designed to ensure the protection of a stream’s designated uses.


Click here to download a two-page flyer that provides some simple explanations of how these standards are deternined and used. Can you describe the major goal of the CWA?

Water Quality Standards

Appendices and Additiona Resources

To learn more visit WVDEP's Water Quality Standards website and the U.S. EPA's Water Quality Standards Academy.