40 CFR § 130.0 - Program summary and purpose.
(a) This subpart establishes policies and program requirements for water quality planning, management and implementation under sections 106, 205(j), non-construction management 205(g), 208, 303 and 305 of the Clean Water Act. The Water Quality Management (WQM) process described in the Act and in this regulation provides the authority for a consistent national approach for maintaining, improving and protecting water quality while allowing States to implement the most effective individual programs. The process is implemented jointly by EPA, the States, interstate agencies, and areawide, local and regional planning organizations. This regulation explains the requirements of the Act, describes the relationships between the several components of the WQM process and outlines the roles of the major participants in the process. The components of the WQM process are discussed below.
(b) Water quality standards (WQS) are the State's goals for individual water bodies and provide the legal basis for control decisions under the Act. Water quality monitoring activities provide the chemical, physical and biological data needed to determine the present quality of a State's waters and to identify the sources of pollutants in those waters. The primary assessment of the quality of a State's water is contained in its biennial Report to Congress required by section 305(b) of the Act.
(c) This report and other assessments of water quality are used in the State's WQM plans to identify priority water quality problems. These plans also contain the results of the State's analyses and management decisions which are necessary to control specific sources of pollution. The plans recommend control measures and designated management agencies (DMAs) to attain the goals established in the State's water quality standards.
(d) These control measures are implemented by issuing permits, building publicly-owned treatment works (POTWs), instituting best management practices for nonpoint sources of pollution and other means. After control measures are in place, the State evaluates the extent of the resulting improvements in water quality, conducts additional data gathering and planning to determine needed modifications in control measures and again institutes control measures.
(e) This process is a dynamic one, in which requirements and emphases vary over time. At present, States have completed WQM plans which are generally comprehensive in geographic and programmatic scope. Technology based controls are being implemented for most point sources of pollution. However, WQS have not been attained in many water bodies and are threatened in others.
(f) Present continuing planning requirements serve to identify these critical water bodies, develop plans for achieving higher levels of abatement and specify additional control measures. Consequently, this regulation reflects a programmatic emphasis on concentrating planning and abatement activities on priority water quality issues and geographic areas. EPA will focus its grant funds on activities designed to address these priorities. Annual work programs negotiated between EPA and State and interstate agencies will reflect this emphasis.