§ 93.4b. Qualifying as High Quality or Exceptional Value Waters.

 (a)  Qualifying as a High Quality Water. A surface water that meets one or more of the following conditions is a High Quality Water.

   (1)  Chemistry.

     (i)   The water has long-term water quality, based on at least 1 year of data which exceeds levels necessary to support the propagation of fish, shellfish and wildlife and recreation in and on the water by being better than the water quality criteria in §  93.7, Table 3 (relating to specific water quality criteria) or otherwise authorized by §  93.8a(b) (relating to toxic substances), at least 99% of the time for the following parameters:

dissolved oxygen aluminum
iron dissolved nickel
dissolved copper dissolved cadmium
temperature pH
dissolved arsenic ammonia nitrogen
dissolved leaddissolved zinc

     (ii)   The Department may consider additional chemical and toxicity information, which characterizes or indicates the quality of a water, in making its determination.

   (2)  Biology. One or more of the following shall exist:

     (i)   Biological assessment qualifier.

       (A)   The surface water supports a high quality aquatic community based upon information gathered using peer-reviewed biological assessment procedures that consider physical habitat, benthic macroinvertebrates or fishes based on Rapid Bioassessment Protocols for Use in Streams and Rivers: Benthic Macroinvertebrates and Fish, Plafkin, et al., (EPA/444/4-89-001), as updated and amended. The surface water is compared to a reference stream or watershed, and an integrated benthic macroinvertebrate score of at least 83% shall be attained by the referenced stream or watershed.

       (B)   The surface water supports a high quality aquatic community based upon information gathered using other widely accepted and published peer-reviewed biological assessment procedures that the Department may approve to determine the condition of the aquatic community of a surface water.

       (C)   The Department may consider additional biological information which characterizes or indicates the quality of a water in making its determination.

     (ii)   Class A wild trout stream qualifier. The surface water has been designated a Class A wild trout stream by the Fish and Boat Commission following public notice and comment.

 (b)  Qualifying as an Exceptional Value Water. A surface water that meets one or more of the following conditions is an Exceptional Value Water:

   (1)  The water meets the requirements of subsection (a) and one or more of the following:

     (i)   The water is located in a National wildlife refuge or a State game propagation and protection area.

     (ii)   The water is located in a designated State park natural area or State forest natural area, National natural landmark, Federal or State wild river, Federal wilderness area or National recreational area.

     (iii)   The water is an outstanding National, State, regional or local resource water.

     (iv)   The water is a surface water of exceptional recreational significance.

     (v)   The water achieves a score of at least 92% (or its equivalent) using the methods and procedures described in subsection (a)(2)(i)(A) or (B).

     (vi)   The water is designated as a ‘‘wilderness trout stream’’ by the Fish and Boat Commission following public notice and comment.

   (2)  The water is a surface water of exceptional ecological significance.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  93.4b issued under sections 5(b)(1) and 402 of The Clean Streams Law (35 P. S. § §  691.5(b)(1) and 691.402); and section 1920-A of The Administrative Code of 1929 (71 P. S. §  510-20).

Source

   The provisions of this §  93.4b adopted July 16, 1999, effective July 17, 1999, 29 Pa.B. 3720.

Notes of Decisions

   Designation; Protection

   Waterways which have been designated as ‘‘High Quality, Cold Water Fishery, Migratory Fishery Waters’’ are entitled to special protection. Leeward Construction Co. v. Department of Environmental Protection, 821 A.2d 145 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2003).

Cross References

   This section cited in 25 Pa. Code §  93.1 (relating to definitions); and 25 Pa. Code §  96.3 (relating to water quality protection requirements).



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