11. Water Quality Standards
In Washington, the Department of Ecology works with tribes, local governments, interest groups and the general public to determine how they want to use their water. For example, do they want to use it for drinking water, industrial uses, recreation, irrigation, and/or fish and wildlife? These are called beneficial uses.
Then they work with these groups to set up Water Quality Standards to assure water can safely support these uses. Any water bodies that don't meet the Water Quality Standards are called impaired and the State or Tribe puts these on a 303(d) list, which shows specifically which standards aren't met. The list is called 303(d) because it comes from that section of the Clean Water Act.
The list is then prioritized, TMDLs developed, and an implementation strategy agreed upon. Then strategies are implemented and monitored for effectiveness.