How Can Indian Tribes Participate in the Water Quality Standards Program? | Region 10 | US EPA

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How Can Indian Tribes Participate in the Water Quality Standards Program?

What are the Two Major Tasks?
One major task is for the Tribe to qualify to administer the program. This is accomplished by developing and submitting an application to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator. EPA then reviews the Tribe's application and decides whether the Tribe meets the applicable requirements. EPA Region 10 has issued guidance to assist with preparing these applications.

A second major task is the development of water quality standards. The two separate tasks, development of: (1) the application, and (2) the standards, can occur simultaneously. That is, the Tribe can develop a program application and adopt standards and then submit both to EPA for approval. EPA Region 10, however, recommends that the program application be submitted as soon as draft standards have been completed. This approach hopefully will lead to timely Agency approval of the Tribe's program application before the Tribe adopts final standards.

What Changes Have Occurred to the Program Approval Process for WQS?

On December 14, 1994, EPA promulgated a regulation that simplified the process by which Indian Tribes may qualify to be treated in the same manner as States for purposes of various environmental programs under the CWA, Safe Drinking Water Act, and Clean Air Act. One of the amended regulations is the 40 CFR 131 water quality standards regulation, which had been previously amended on December 12, 1991 to establish a process by which Tribes could qualify to administer the water quality standards program.

For the water quality standards program, the major modifications to the program approval process are summarized below. This summary is not comprehensive - the full text of the final regulation should be consulted for a complete discussion. Copies are available by contacting Maja Tritt ( in Region 10.

The major changes to the program approval process for water quality standards can be summarized as follows:

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