Surface Water Quality Standards

Assessing the health of New Hampshire's surface waters and providing regulatory tools to protect them.

Water quality standards are used to protect the state’s surface waters. Standards consist of three parts: designated uses, such as fishing or swimming; numerical or narrative criteria to protect the designated uses; and an antidegradation policy, which maintains existing high quality water that exceeds the criteria. Criteria are established by statute and by administrative rules. Several topics over the years have generated a great deal of interest leading to the plans and publications below:

Water Quality Standards Information Exchange

A temporary water quality standards advisory committee (WQSAC) was established in the fall of 2000, and renewed once in 2011, to assist the agency in drafting revised water quality regulations through formal membership and procedures. Since the end of the formal committee, NHDES has maintained a regular meeting schedule as the format has been helpful to keep the department abreast of issues related to water quality and the public informed of standards developments.

Recognizing the importance of the water quality standards discussions, NHDES decided that the core of the WQSAC activities will be carried forward as the Water Quality Standards Information Exchange (WQSIE). While less formal, the WQSIE is a more inclusive format for public input and solicitation of ideas while providing a venue for the discussion of focused surface water quality standards issues. The WQSIE convenes at the discretion of NHDES with meetings open to the public with full participation in the discussion of issues of interest.

You can view documents from past meetings by selecting from any of the meeting dates below:

Meeting archives

If you are interested in attending WQSIE meetings, need accommodations for any of the WQSIE meeting documents, or would like to get on the WQSIE mailing list, please contact us.