Surface Water Quality

The Surface Water Quality (Assimilative Capacity) resource assessment evaluates the capacity of surface waters to process pollutants, including those in treated wastewater.  Each river and lake has a natural ability to absorb and use – or assimilate – a variety of pollutants without harming aquatic life or humans who come in contact with the water.  This ability is known as assimilative capacity.  However, a water body can be overloaded and violations of water quality standards may result. Water quality standards define the uses of a water body and set pollutant limits to protect those uses.  The water quality assessment evaluates the capacity of surface waters to process pollutants without violating water quality standards.