Nov 25, 2009

EPA Issues Letter of Decision on Iowa Water Quality Standards

Revised standards support recreational activities and protect aquatic life uses

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved 79 use designation changes and disapproved 71 use designation changes from Iowa’s August 2008 submittal of revised water quality standards. The revised standards support recreational activities and protect aquatic life uses in Iowa. In a previous action on March 22, 2009, EPA approved designated use changes for 83 water bodies.

Iowa’s water quality standards contain more than one type of recreational use. Iowa’s primary contact recreation use designation protects for activities such as swimming, water skiing or tubing. Iowa’s secondary contact recreation use designation imposes less stringent pathogen criteria to protect for activities such as boating, fishing or wading.

"EPA appreciates Iowa's efforts to develop reasonable and appropriate water quality standards,” said William Rice, acting regional administrator. “Protecting our recreational water resources is one of the most important components of a state’s water quality standards.”

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources submitted new and revised Iowa surface water quality standards to EPA for review and approval, as required by the Clean Water Act. These standards update the state’s use designations following site-specific field studies to determine the highest attainable use for the individual waters.