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Decision on Iowa’s Water Quality Standards

Release Date: 06/30/2010
Contact Information: Kris Lancaster, (913) 551-7557, lancaster.kris@epa.gov


Environmental News


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Kansas City, Kan., June 30, 2010) - EPA has approved the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ (IDNR) designated use changes for 64 water bodies and disapproved changes for 93 water bodies. Designated uses describe the achievable recreational activities and aquatic life uses in Iowa’s waters. EPA is finalizing action on the remaining 19 water bodies.

The Clean Water Act (CWA) presumes that all waters are suitable for the highest levels of recreation, such as swimming, and that the waters can support a diverse community of aquatic life. A state must present a well-documented study to set a lower goal. EPA found that the studies submitted by IDNR did not support a lower designated use for the 93 disapprovals.

The CWA establishes a mandatory role for EPA to review and approve or disapprove all state water quality standards. IDNR submitted new and revised Iowa surface water quality standards to EPA for review and approval, as required by the law. This submission updates the use designations for many of the state’s waters following site-specific field studies to determine the highest attainable use for the individual waters.

“Protecting recreational water resources is one of the most important components of a state’s water quality standards,” EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks said. “EPA will continue working with the state to protect the appropriate attainable uses for Iowa’s lakes, rivers and streams."

EPA oversees the protection of water quality as required by the CWA. The Agency is working with the public, community leaders, local and state agencies to meet the growing needs and demands of our water resources.

EPA’s June 29, 2010, decision letter provides a more detailed description of EPA’s review and the basis for this action. The decision letter is available at www.epa.gov/region07/news_events/legal.

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