We are conducting a design for a HTRW project that may require the discharge of waste-water to a nearby surface water. Are MCLs a good discharge limit to use?

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We are conducting a design for a HTRW project that may require the discharge of waste-water to a nearby surface water. Are MCLs a good discharge limit to use?

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MCL’s are promulgated under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and may or may not be appropriate. All States were required to develop Water Quality Standards for their surface waters. Water Quality Standards are based on three components, water quality criteria, designated uses, and anti-degradation. If a surface water has a drinking water source designated use, MCL’s may be applicable. However, more typically, Water Quality Standards are set up based on designated uses like warm water fisheries, cold water fisheries, swimming and outdoor recreation. You need to identify the surface water by name and stretch, then look in the State regulations to determine the designated use(s) for the appropriate section. Based on the identified uses, protective effluent limits can be determined using State guidance to develop effluent limits.

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