Water Quality Planning Bureau

MISSION: to assure that water quality is maintained and improved so that state waters can support all their beneficial uses.

GOAL: to work with the public, agencies, and other interests to evaluate, maintain, and improve the quality of state waters. 

DEQ’s Water Quality Planning Bureau (WQPB) mission is accomplished through an integrated approach based on water quality standards development, monitoring and assessment, and development and implementation of quality data management systems. The following sections contribute to our mission

Develops water quality criteria to identify the level of water quality necessary to protect the beneficial uses of a stream, river, or lake, as well as the state’s groundwater resources. Examples of beneficial uses include drinking water, recreation, and fish and aquatic life. The NPS program seeks to protect and restore these beneficial uses. A complete review of standards occurs every three years, but changes to the standards can occur at any time.

Standards Webpage

Monitors water quality conditions and trends statewide and assesses sources and severity of pollution problems by (a) operating statewide water quality monitoring networks, (b) conducting inventories of pollution sources, and (c) identifying impaired waterbodies. This monitoring and assessment provides the basis for Montana’s Integrated Report, which addresses 75-5-702 of the Montana Water Quality Act and sections 305(b) and 303(d) of the federal Clean Water Act.

Monitoring and Assessment Webpage

The IMTS section provides support for bureau data and information management systems, IT project management, and water quality/watershed modeling. These services relate primarily to the agency’s Nonpoint Source Program, but also assist all water quality-related activities through support of water quality standards development and management of environmental metric data, water quality assessments, bibliographic records, and bureau business data. IMTS also manages the state’s biennial water quality Integrated Report, which contains the list of impaired waters in need of TMDLs, or 303(d) list, attainment status of all state waters assessed, and status of state-managed water quality programs. Public access to the bureau’s data and information is provided via the internet at its Clean Water Act Information Center (CWAIC), Library Internet Search Application (LISA), and EPA’s water quality Data Warehouse (STORET/WQX).

Water Quality Management Process

Click to enlarge - Steps in Water Quality Management