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Surface Water Quality Standards

Revocation of Site Specific Alternative Criteria for Dissolved Oxygen in the Fenholloway River, Henderson River, and Adjacent Coastal Waters

On November 25, 2013, the Department issued a final order revoking site specific alternative criteria (SSAC) for dissolved oxygen (DO) in the Fenholloway River, Henderson River, and adjacent coastal waters in Taylor County.  The SSAC was established by final order on July 14, 2010, in response to a petition from Buckeye Florida, L.P., to establish a DO SSAC pursuant to Rule 62-302.800(1), F.A.C., for a segment of the Lower Fenholloway River, the Henderson River, and adjacent coastal waters.  The SSAC was established to reflect site specific natural background conditions.  During the most recent triennial review of state surface water quality standards, the Department revised its DO criteria for the entire state.  These revised DO criteria were formally approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on September 9, 2013.  Analysis of recent DO water quality data in the Fenholloway River and estuary indicates that the above referenced DO SSAC is no longer needed, because the areas covered by the SSAC meet the state’s new DO criteria for predominantly marine waters.

FDEP Initiative to Protect Recreational Waters

The Department announces a new initiative to protect beaches and other recreational waters.  The Department now has new laboratory tools and assessment methods to identify and reduce the sources of pathogens in recreational waters. The Department has initiated rule development in Chapters 62-302, 62-303, and 62-304, F.A.C., to develop new rules that refine water quality standards to take advantage of this new technology and the data that will be available to make beach and recreational waters safer. 

For further information, the Department has also prepared a Bacteria Criteria Development web page, and has initiated rule development.  In addition, it has also convened a Technical Advisory Committee to assist in criteria development. 

Numeric Nutrient Criteria (NNC)

The Department has developed a Numeric Nutrient Criteria web page, and has conducted several public workshops. To view further information or get materials from the public workshops… see our Numeric Nutrient Criteria Highlights page.

Triennial Review of State Surface Water Quality Standards

The Department has prepared a Triennial Review Factsheet and has conducted three public workshops. To view further information or get materials from the public workshops… see our Triennial Review web page.

Suwannee River, FloridaWith over 50,000 miles of rivers and streams, 7800 lakes, and 4000 square miles of estuaries, Florida has an abundance of surface waters that are used for a variety of purposes by the people who live and work here, by those who are visiting, and by the fish and wildlife that depend on these waters.

The federal Clean Water Act provides the statutory basis for state water quality standards programs. The regulatory requirements governing these programs (Water Quality Standards Regulation) are published in 40 CFR 131. States are responsible for reviewing, establishing, and revising water quality standards. Florida’s surface water quality standards system is published in 62-302 (and 62-302.530) of the Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.). The components of this system include: classifications, criteria, including site specific criteria, an anti-degradation policy, and special protection of certain waters (Outstanding Florida Waters).

In response to recent initiatives put forth by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Florida has been working to develop biological criteria and numeric nutrient criteria for fresh waters and estuaries.

Water Quality Standards Program
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
2600 Blair Stone Road - M.S. 6511
Tallahassee, FL 32399
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Surface Water Classifications, Uses & Criteria

Refining Designated Uses & Classifications

South Florida Canal Study

Antidegradation Policy

Bacteria Criteria Development


Nutrient Criteria Development

Outstanding Florida Waters

Alternate Surface Water Quality Standards

Surface Water Quality Support Documents

Emerging Substances of Concern (ESOC) 2008 DEP Report


Links to Related Topics

Last updated: March 24, 2014

  2600 Blair Stone Road M.S. 3500   Tallahassee, Florida 32399   850-245-8336 (phone) / 850-245-8356 (fax) 
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