The public comment period has closed for Maryland's 2016 Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards (TR). The TR is currently undergoing internal review with anticipated completion in December 2017. Once this internal review is complete, the Department will either revise the regulation proposal and republish a proposed action in the Maryland Register or move to finalize and publish a Notice of Final Action in the Register. To access materials describing the currently proposed regulatory changes, please click here.
The purpose of water quality standards is to protect, maintain and improve the quality of Maryland surface waters. The following make up the three components of water quality standards:
A designated use is a goal for water quality. Typically, the goal is the description of an appropriate intended use by humans and/or aquatic life for a water body. Designated uses for a particular waterbody may include recreation, shellfishing, water supply and/or aquatic life habitat. The designated uses established may or may not be met currently, but must be attainable. In Maryland these designated uses are grouped into "Use Classes" (e.g. Use Class I, I-P, II, III, IV-P) so as to describe a unique combination of designated uses that apply to a single water body. Each stream segment, lake, bay, etc. in Maryland is assigned to a use class.
For more detailed information about Maryland’s designated uses and use class groupings, please click HERE. To go directly to maps of surface waters and their associated use classes, please click HERE.
For the full text of Maryland Water Quality Standards please visit COMAR 26.08.01 and COMAR 26.08.02.
Changes to the Water Quality Standards are implemented through regulatory changes which are subject to the normal promulgation process. Every three years, the Clean Water Act requires that States review their water quality standards in what is called the Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards (TR). The TR includes a robust public participation process prior to adoption of new or revised regulations. This process generally includes an Advanced Notice of Public Rule-Making (ANPRM) and solicitation of comments followed later by a more formal public comment period during which a hearing takes place (the formal comment period and hearing are required). Comments are incorporated and/or responded to in what becomes a public document as part of the TR package that EPA reviews. To see materials from Maryland's most recent Triennial Review actions (2013 and 2016) please click here. Please note that the 2016 TR Notice of Final Action has not yet been submitted to Division of State Documents for final promulgation.
For more information, please contact Matthew Stover at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (410) 537-3611.
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