Vermont’s Water Quality Standards

The Vermont Water Quality Standards (VWQS) serve as the foundation for protecting Vermont’s vital and precious water resources.  The VWQS are regulations that require the classification of each waterbody, that establish uses (e.g. swimming or drinking) that must be protected, and that set minimum chemical, physical and biological criteria that must be met in all of Vermont’s waters. Permits to discharge pollution into water or operate a dam, for example, must adhere to these standards. Federal law requires that the VWQS to be subject to public review at least every three years, and VNRC participates in those periodic updates.

Within the state water quality standards is an “anti-degradation” policy. This short policy is powerful:  its provisions are designed to protect keep Vermont’s already clean waters from backsliding in quality. VNRC is working hard to assure anti-degredation policy is translated into a long overdue but critically important strong and protective anti-degradation rule.