Water Quality Standards in Alaska


In order to determine whether or not water quality is suitable to various uses, be it for drinking water, recreation, or for fish and wildlife use, water quality standards are developed for specific parameters.  Standards are the values associated with maximum or minimum levels allowed for specific uses.  Note that not every parameter has a water quality standard associated with it.    After we are done collecting water quality data, it is just as important to then compare those values with the standards.

Currently, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s Water Quality Standards (ADEC, 2017) and Alaska Water Quality Criteria Manual for Toxic and Other Deleterious Organic and Inorganic Substances (ADEC, 2008) are used to evaluate water quality in the state of Alaska.  

The current version of the Department of Environmental Conservation Water Quality Standards can be found here, and was amended as of February 5, 2017.

The current version of the Water Quality Criteria Manual for Toxics can be found here, and was amended as of December 12, 2008. 

These standards are updated periodically, so If either of these links are broken, you should be able to find copies of both at the main DEC page.

Another important thing to note is that fresh water has different water quality standards than groundwater does.  Groundwater water quality standards are identified in Regulations: Groundwater Protection Standards Code of Federal Regulations, Title 40, Part 258 (40 CFR 258), and also included in the Alaska Water Quality Criteria Manual for Toxic and Other Deleterious Organic and Inorganic Substances. 

The table below summarizes those water quality standards that apply to the parameters discussed in the previous course, and as they relate to drinking water and the growth and propogation of fish & wildlife.   If the parameter is not listed, or any spaces are blank, it indicates that there is no applicable WQ Standard at this time. 


standards


Find out about water quality data collection in the Middle Kuskokwim River