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173-201A-020  <<  173-201A-200 >>   173-201A-210

WAC 173-201A-200

Agency filings affecting this section

Fresh water designated uses and criteria.

The following uses are designated for protection in fresh surface waters of the state. Use designations for water bodies are listed in WAC 173-201A-600 and 173-201A-602.
(1) Aquatic life uses. Aquatic life uses are designated based on the presence of, or the intent to provide protection for, the key uses identified in (a) of this subsection. It is required that all indigenous fish and nonfish aquatic species be protected in waters of the state in addition to the key species described below.
(a) The categories for aquatic life uses are:
(i) Char spawning and rearing. The key identifying characteristics of this use are spawning or early juvenile rearing by native char (bull trout and Dolly Varden), or use by other aquatic species similarly dependent on such cold water. Other common characteristic aquatic life uses for waters in this category include summer foraging and migration of native char; and spawning, rearing, and migration by other salmonid species.
(ii) Core summer salmonid habitat. The key identifying characteristics of this use are summer (June 15 - September 15) salmonid spawning or emergence, or adult holding; use as important summer rearing habitat by one or more salmonids; or foraging by adult and subadult native char. Other common characteristic aquatic life uses for waters in this category include spawning outside of the summer season, rearing, and migration by salmonids.
(iii) Salmonid spawning, rearing, and migration. The key identifying characteristic of this use is salmon or trout spawning and emergence that only occurs outside of the summer season (September 16 - June 14). Other common characteristic aquatic life uses for waters in this category include rearing and migration by salmonids.
(iv) Salmonid rearing and migration only. The key identifying characteristic of this use is use only for rearing or migration by salmonids (not used for spawning).
(v) Non-anadromous interior redband trout. For the protection of waters where the only trout species is a non-anadromous form of self-reproducing interior redband trout (O. mykis), and other associated aquatic life.
(vi) Indigenous warm water species. For the protection of waters where the dominant species under natural conditions would be temperature tolerant indigenous nonsalmonid species. Examples include dace, redside shiner, chiselmouth, sucker, and northern pikeminnow.
(b) General criteria. General criteria that apply to all aquatic life fresh water uses are described in WAC 173-201A-260 (2)(a) and (b), and are for:
(i) Toxic, radioactive, and deleterious materials; and
(ii) Aesthetic values.
(c) Aquatic life temperature criteria. Except where noted, water temperature is measured by the 7-day average of the daily maximum temperatures (7-DADMax). Table 200 (1)(c) lists the temperature criteria for each of the aquatic life use categories.
Table 200 (1)(c)
Aquatic Life Temperature Criteria in Fresh Water
Category
Highest 7-DADMax
Char Spawning and Rearing*
12°C (53.6°F)
Core Summer Salmonid Habitat*
16°C (60.8°F)
Salmonid Spawning, Rearing, and Migration*
17.5°C (63.5°F)
Salmonid Rearing and Migration Only
17.5°C (63.5°F)
Non-anadromous Interior Redband Trout
18°C (64.4°F)
Indigenous Warm Water Species
20°C (68°F)
*Note:
Some streams have a more stringent temperature criterion that is applied seasonally to further protect salmonid spawning and egg incubation. See (c)(B)(iv) of this subsection.
(i) When a water body's temperature is warmer than the criteria in Table 200 (1)(c) (or within 0.3°C (0.54°F) of the criteria) and that condition is due to natural conditions, then human actions considered cumulatively may not cause the 7-DADMax temperature of that water body to increase more than 0.3°C (0.54°F).
(ii) When the background condition of the water is cooler than the criteria in Table 200 (1)(c), the allowable rate of warming up to, but not exceeding, the numeric criteria from human actions is restricted as follows:
(A) Incremental temperature increases resulting from individual point source activities must not, at any time, exceed 28/(T+7) as measured at the edge of a mixing zone boundary (where "T" represents the background temperature as measured at a point or points unaffected by the discharge and representative of the highest ambient water temperature in the vicinity of the discharge); and
(B) Incremental temperature increases resulting from the combined effect of all nonpoint source activities in the water body must not, at any time, exceed 2.8°C (5.04°F).
(iii) Temperatures are not to exceed the criteria at a probability frequency of more than once every ten years on average.
(iv) Spawning and incubation protection. The department has identified waterbodies, or portions thereof, which require special protection for spawning and incubation in ecology publication 06-10-038 (also available on ecology's web site at www.ecy.wa.gov). This publication indicates where and when the following criteria are to be applied to protect the reproduction of native char, salmon, and trout:
• Maximum 7-DADMax temperatures of 9°C (48.2°F) at the initiation of spawning and at fry emergence for char; and
• Maximum 7-DADMax temperatures of 13°C (55.4°F) at the initiation of spawning for salmon and at fry emergence for salmon and trout.
The two criteria above are protective of incubation as long as human actions do not significantly disrupt the normal patterns of fall cooling and spring warming that provide significantly colder temperatures over the majority of the incubation period.
(v) For lakes, human actions considered cumulatively may not increase the 7-DADMax temperature more than 0.3°C (0.54°F) above natural conditions.
(vi) Temperature measurements should be taken to represent the dominant aquatic habitat of the monitoring site. This typically means samples should:
(A) Be taken from well mixed portions of rivers and streams; and
(B) Not be taken from shallow stagnant backwater areas, within isolated thermal refuges, at the surface, or at the water's edge.
(vii) The department will incorporate the following guidelines on preventing acute lethality and barriers to migration of salmonids into determinations of compliance with the narrative requirements for use protection established in this chapter (e.g., WAC 173-201A-310(1), 173-201A-400(4), and 173-201A-410 (1)(c)). The following site-level considerations do not, however, override the temperature criteria established for waters in subsection (1)(c) of this section or WAC 173-201A-600 through 173-201A-602:
(A) Moderately acclimated (16-20°C, or 60.8-68°F) adult and juvenile salmonids will generally be protected from acute lethality by discrete human actions maintaining the 7-DADMax temperature at or below 22°C (71.6°F) and the 1-day maximum (1-DMax) temperature at or below 23°C (73.4°F).
(B) Lethality to developing fish embryos can be expected to occur at a 1-DMax temperature greater than 17.5°C (63.5°F).
(C) To protect aquatic organisms, discharge plume temperatures must be maintained such that fish could not be entrained (based on plume time of travel) for more than two seconds at temperatures above 33°C (91.4°F) to avoid creating areas that will cause near instantaneous lethality.
(D) Barriers to adult salmonid migration are assumed to exist any time the 1-DMax temperature is greater than 22°C (71.6°F) and the adjacent downstream water temperatures are 3°C (5.4°F) or more cooler.
(viii) Nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted to prohibit the establishment of effluent limitations for the control of the thermal component of any discharge in accordance with 33 U.S.C. 1326 (commonly known as section 316 of the Clean Water Act).
(d) Aquatic life dissolved oxygen (D.O.) criteria. The D.O. criteria are measured in milligrams per liter (mg/L). Table 200 (1)(d) lists the 1-day minimum D.O. for each of the aquatic life use categories.
Table 200 (1)(d)
Aquatic Life Dissolved Oxygen Criteria in Fresh Water
Category
Lowest 1-Day
Minimum
Char Spawning and Rearing
9.5 mg/L
Core Summer Salmonid Habitat
9.5 mg/L
Salmonid Spawning, Rearing, and Migration
8.0 mg/L
Salmonid Rearing and Migration Only
6.5 mg/L
Non-anadromous Interior Redband Trout
8.0 mg/L
Indigenous Warm Water Species
6.5 mg/L
(i) When a water body's D.O. is lower than the criteria in Table 200 (1)(d) (or within 0.2 mg/L of the criteria) and that condition is due to natural conditions, then human actions considered cumulatively may not cause the D.O. of that water body to decrease more than 0.2 mg/L.
(ii) For lakes, human actions considered cumulatively may not decrease the dissolved oxygen concentration more than 0.2 mg/L below natural conditions.
(iii) Concentrations of D.O. are not to fall below the criteria in the table at a probability frequency of more than once every ten years on average.
(iv) D.O. measurements should be taken to represent the dominant aquatic habitat of the monitoring site. This typically means samples should:
(A) Be taken from well mixed portions of rivers and streams; and
(B) Not be taken from shallow stagnant backwater areas, within isolated thermal refuges, at the surface, or at the water's edge.
(e) Aquatic life turbidity criteria. Turbidity is measured in "nephelometric turbidity units" or "NTUs." Table 200 (1)(e) lists the maximum turbidity criteria for each of the aquatic life use categories.
Table 200 (1)(e)
Aquatic Life Turbidity Criteria in Fresh Water
Category
NTUs
Char Spawning and Rearing
Turbidity shall not exceed:
 
• 5 NTU over background when the background is 50 NTU or less; or
 
• A 10 percent increase in turbidity when the background turbidity is more than 50 NTU.
Core Summer Salmonid Habitat
Same as above.
Salmonid Spawning, Rearing, and Migration
Same as above.
Salmonid Rearing and Migration Only
Turbidity shall not exceed:
• 10 NTU over background when the background is 50 NTU or less; or
 
• A 20 percent increase in turbidity when the background turbidity is more than 50 NTU.
Non-anadromous Interior Redband Trout
Turbidity shall not exceed:
• 5 NTU over background when the background is 50 NTU or less; or
 
• A 10 percent increase in turbidity when the background turbidity is more than 50 NTU.
Indigenous Warm Water Species
Turbidity shall not exceed:
• 10 NTU over background when the background is 50 NTU or less; or
 
• A 20 percent increase in turbidity when the background turbidity is more than 50 NTU.
(i) The turbidity criteria established under WAC 173-201A-200 (1)(e) shall be modified, without specific written authorization from the department, to allow a temporary area of mixing during and immediately after necessary in-water construction activities that result in the disturbance of in-place sediments. This temporary area of mixing is subject to the constraints of WAC 173-201A-400 (4) and (6) and can occur only after the activity has received all other necessary local and state permits and approvals, and after the implementation of appropriate best management practices to avoid or minimize disturbance of in-place sediments and exceedances of the turbidity criteria. A temporary area of mixing shall be as follows:
(A) For waters up to 10 cfs flow at the time of construction, the point of compliance shall be one hundred feet downstream from the activity causing the turbidity exceedance.
(B) For waters above 10 cfs up to 100 cfs flow at the time of construction, the point of compliance shall be two hundred feet downstream of the activity causing the turbidity exceedance.
(C) For waters above 100 cfs flow at the time of construction, the point of compliance shall be three hundred feet downstream of the activity causing the turbidity exceedance.
(D) For projects working within or along lakes, ponds, wetlands, or other nonflowing waters, the point of compliance shall be at a radius of one hundred fifty feet from the activity causing the turbidity exceedance.
(f) Aquatic life total dissolved gas (TDG) criteria. TDG is measured in percent saturation. Table 200 (1)(f) lists the maximum TDG criteria for each of the aquatic life use categories.
Table 200 (1)(f)
Aquatic Life Total Dissolved Gas Criteria in Fresh Water
Category
Percent Saturation
Char Spawning and Rearing
Total dissolved gas shall not exceed 110 percent of saturation at any point of sample collection.
Core Summer Salmonid Habitat
Same as above.
Salmonid Spawning, Rearing, and Migration
Same as above.
Salmonid Rearing and Migration Only
Same as above.
Non-anadromous Interior Redband Trout
Same as above.
Indigenous Warm Water Species
Same as above.
(i) The water quality criteria established in this chapter for TDG shall not apply when the stream flow exceeds the seven-day, ten-year frequency flood.
(ii) The TDG criteria may be adjusted to aid fish passage over hydroelectric dams when consistent with a department approved gas abatement plan. This plan must be accompanied by fisheries management and physical and biological monitoring plans. The elevated TDG levels are intended to allow increased fish passage without causing more harm to fish populations than caused by turbine fish passage. The following special fish passage exemptions for the Snake and Columbia rivers apply when spilling water at dams is necessary to aid fish passage:
• TDG must not exceed an average of one hundred fifteen percent as measured in the forebays of the next downstream dams and must not exceed an average of one hundred twenty percent as measured in the tailraces of each dam (these averages are measured as an average of the twelve highest consecutive hourly readings in any one day, relative to atmospheric pressure); and
• A maximum TDG one hour average of one hundred twenty-five percent must not be exceeded during spillage for fish passage.
(g) Aquatic life pH criteria. Measurement of pH is expressed as the negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion concentration. Table 200 (1)(g) lists the pH levels for each of the aquatic life use categories.
Table 200 (1) (g)
Aquatic Life pH Criteria in Fresh Water
Use Category
pH Units
Char Spawning and Rearing
pH shall be within the range of 6.5 to 8.5, with a human-caused variation within the above range of less than 0.2 units.
Core Summer Salmonid Habitat
Same as above.
Salmonid Spawning, Rearing, and Migration
pH shall be within the range of 6.5 to 8.5 with a human-caused variation within the above range of less than 0.5 units.
Salmonid Rearing and Migration Only
Same as above.
Non-anadromous Interior Redband Trout
Same as above.
Indigenous Warm Water Species
Same as above.
(2) Recreational uses. The recreational uses are extraordinary primary contact recreation, primary contact recreation, and secondary contact recreation.
(a) General criteria. General criteria that apply to fresh water recreational uses are described in WAC 173-201A-260 (2)(a) and (b), and are for:
(i) Toxic, radioactive, and deleterious materials; and
(ii) Aesthetic values.
(b) Water contact recreation bacteria criteria. Table 200 (2)(b) lists the bacteria criteria to protect water contact recreation in fresh waters.
Table 200 (2)(b)
Water Contact Recreation Bacteria Criteria in Fresh Water
Category
Bacteria Indicator
Extraordinary Primary Contact Recreation
Fecal coliform organism levels must not exceed a geometric mean value of 50 colonies/100 mL, with not more than 10 percent of all samples (or any single sample when less than ten sample points exist) obtained for calculating the geometric mean value exceeding 100 colonies/100 mL.
Primary Contact Recreation
Fecal coliform organism levels must not exceed a geometric mean value of 100 colonies /100 mL, with not more than 10 percent of all samples (or any single sample when less than ten sample points exist) obtained for calculating the geometric mean value exceeding 200 colonies /100 mL.
Secondary Contact Recreation
Fecal coliform organism levels must not exceed a geometric mean value of 200 colonies/100 mL, with not more than 10 percent of all samples (or any single sample when less than ten sample points exist) obtained for calculating the geometric mean value exceeding 400 colonies /100 mL.
(i) When averaging bacteria sample data for comparison to the geometric mean criteria, it is preferable to average by season and include five or more data collection events within each period. Averaging of data collected beyond a thirty-day period, or beyond a specific discharge event under investigation, is not permitted when such averaging would skew the data set so as to mask noncompliance periods. The period of averaging should not exceed twelve months, and should have sample collection dates well distributed throughout the reporting period.
(ii) When determining compliance with the bacteria criteria in or around small sensitive areas, such as swimming beaches, it is recommended that multiple samples are taken throughout the area during each visit. Such multiple samples should be arithmetically averaged together (to reduce concerns with low bias when the data is later used in calculating a geometric mean) to reduce sample variability and to create a single representative data point.
(iii) As determined necessary by the department, more stringent bacteria criteria may be established for rivers and streams that cause, or significantly contribute to, the decertification or conditional certification of commercial or recreational shellfish harvest areas, even when the preassigned bacteria criteria for the river or stream are being met.
(iv) Where information suggests that sample results are due primarily to sources other than warm-blooded animals (e.g., wood waste), alternative indicator criteria may be established on a site-specific basis by the department.
(3) Water supply uses. The water supply uses are domestic, agricultural, industrial, and stock watering.
General criteria. General criteria that apply to the water supply uses are described in WAC 173-201A-260 (2)(a) and (b), and are for:
(a) Toxic, radioactive, and deleterious materials; and
(b) Aesthetic values.
(4) Miscellaneous uses. The miscellaneous fresh water uses are wildlife habitat, harvesting, commerce and navigation, boating, and aesthetics.
General criteria. General criteria that apply to miscellaneous fresh water uses are described in WAC 173-201A-260 (2)(a) and (b), and are for:
(a) Toxic, radioactive, and deleterious materials; and
(b) Aesthetic values.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 90.48.035. WSR 11-09-090 (Order 10-10), § 173-201A-200, filed 4/20/11, effective 5/21/11; WSR 06-23-117 (Order 06-04), § 173-201A-200, filed 11/20/06, effective 12/21/06. Statutory Authority: Chapters 90.48 and 90.54 RCW. WSR 03-14-129 (Order 02-14), § 173-201A-200, filed 7/1/03, effective 8/1/03.]