Water Quality Standards Program
Water Quality Standards Program (WQSP) is made up of the Standards
Development Section and Aquatic Ecology and Quality Assurance Section
(AEQS). The WQSP is responsible for the development of water quality
standards, the Triennial Review of water quality standards, coordination
of bioassessment training and implementation, and providing technical
support in the Quality Assurance and ecological aspects of water quality
science to other Department programs.
The Standards Development Section is
responsible for reviewing, establishing, and revising state water
quality standards, as established in Chapters 62-302 (Surface Water
Quality Standards), 62-4 (antidegradation policy in Rule 62-4.242), and
62-303 (Impaired Waters Rule), F.A.C. The components of Florida’s water
quality standards include: classifications and uses, criteria, the
antidegradation policy, moderating provisions, and special protection of
certain waters (Outstanding Florida Waters). The section also reviews
petitions for waterbody use classification changes via Use Attainability
Analyses (UAA) and for Site Specific
Alternative Criteria (SSAC). The section provides guidance on the
implementation of antidegradation policies in Rule 62-4.242, F.A.C.
Florida has recently incorporated biological criteria and numeric
nutrient criteria into its water quality standards.
The Aquatic Ecology and Quality Assurance Section
provides support for experimental study design and field sampling, and
assists with the interpretation, statistical analysis, reporting and
review of data to ensure compliance with quality assurance objectives.
AEQA staff also provide Department-wide oversight on
Quality Assurance (QA) issues for the water,
waste and resource management programs. DEP’s QA requirements for
analytical laboratories and field activities (Standard
Operating Procedures) are codified in the
QA Rule, Chapter 62-160, of the Florida Administrative Code
Directive outlines procedures and staff responsibilities for the
comprehensive implementation of the Department’s Quality Assurance
Management Plan. Besides the general oversight responsibilities, AEQAS
provides technical QA support for programs, conducts field and
laboratory audits to determine compliance with the QA Rule, and provides
scientific training on a wide variety of topics.
AEQAS staff lead DEP’s efforts to develop, implement, and provide QA
support for Florida’s biological assessment tools.
Biological assessment is an applied
scientific discipline that uses the response of resident aquatic
biological communities to various stressors as a method of evaluating
ecosystem health. The AEQA Program also provides
training and testing for
individuals who wish to perform bioassessments.
For more information, please contact
(Program Administrator – Water Quality Standards Program),
(Environmental Administrator - Standards Development Section), or
(Environmental Administrator – Aquatic Ecology and Quality Assurance
Standards & Assessment
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
2600 Blair Stone Road - M.S. 6511
Tallahassee, FL 32399