Adopted and Filed

Surface water classification, 61.3(5)

Untitled document

ARC 4514C


Adopted and Filed

Rule making related to surface water classification

The Environmental Protection Commission hereby amends Chapter 61, "Water Quality Standards," Iowa Administrative Code.

Legal Authority for Rule Making

This rule making is adopted under the authority provided in Iowa Code sections 455B.173(2), 455B.176(4) and 455B.176A(7).

State or Federal Law Implemented

This rule making implements, in whole or in part, Iowa Code sections 455B.105(3), 455B.173(2) and 455B.176(4).

Purpose and Summary

This amendment revises subrule 61.3(5) to adopt by reference a revised Surface Water Classification document. The revised Surface Water Classification document reflects use designations which have been determined through field work and the completion of a use attainability analysis (UAA).

The concept of assigning all perennial streams the highest use designation if an assessment has not been completed is referred to as the "rebuttable presumption." The federal Clean Water Act establishes a rebuttable presumption that all Iowa streams can achieve the highest levels of use, referred to as fishable and swimmable uses. In 2006, the Commission adopted this presumption by rule for all of Iowa's previously undesignated perennial streams. As an outcome of these efforts, all 26,000 miles of Iowa's perennial (flowing year-round) streams are initially designated at the highest levels for recreation and warm water aquatic life uses. These stream designations provided initial protection for many miles of perennial streams that were previously not designated for aquatic life or recreational uses.

Included in the federal regulations are provisions that allow for scientific analysis of these "presumed" recreational and aquatic life uses. This analysis is known as a UAA, which requires the gathering of site-specific field data on stream features and uses. The concept of UAA is being applied by the Department of Natural Resources (Department) as a step-by-step process to gather site-specific field data on stream features and uses. The Department assesses available information to determine if the "presumed" recreational and aquatic life uses are appropriate.

Iowa Code section 455B.176A(8) prohibits the Department from renewing a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for a facility discharging to a stream subject to a presumed use designation until the Department conducts a UAA and ensures the stream has the appropriate designation. Prior to issuing an NPDES permit for an affected facility, the Department must complete a UAA for the receiving stream or stream network.

This batch of stream designation changes affects 105 stream segments and 78 facilities. In addition to the designation changes, there are corrections to stream names and legal descriptions in the Surface Water Classification document to correct errors from the previous version. A complete list of the stream designation changes and affected facilities, as well as the updated version of the Surface Water Classification document, can be found on the Department's water quality standards web page at: The full UAA for each stream segment can also be found in the state's UAA database at the following web page:

Public Comment and Changes to Rule Making

Notice of Intended Action for this rule making was published in the Iowa Administrative Bulletin on January 16, 2019, as ARC 4227C.

Public hearings were held at the following dates, times and locations:

February 12, 2019, at 4 the Urbandale Public Library.

February 13, 2019, at 4 the Nicola-Stoufer Room, Washington Public Library.

February 14, 2019, at 4 the Harlan Community Library.

There were a total of nine attendees combined at all three public hearings, with a total of one oral comment submitted. An additional 13 comments were submitted through email, and one comment was submitted through the online stream survey.

Based on comments received, the Department is removing four stream segments from the document that is adopted by reference in this rule making. The removal of these four segments affects three facilities. The details of these changes can be viewed in the responsiveness summary for this rule making on the Department's water quality standards web page at

Adoption of Rule Making

This rule making was adopted by the Commission on May 21, 2019.

Fiscal Impact

This rule making has no fiscal impact to the State of Iowa. This rule making will allow for the renewal of NPDES permits for approximately 78 facilities, which may result in a cost of $10 to $13 million for facility upgrades at these facilities. These costs have already been accounted for in the 2006 rule making. A copy of the impact statement is available from the Department upon request.

Jobs Impact

After analysis and review of this rule making, no impact on jobs has been found. A copy of the impact statement is available from the Department upon request.


This rule is subject to the waiver provisions of 561—Chapter 10, as adopted by reference at rule 567—13.1(17A), to the extent such waiver is consistent with federal water quality standards requirements. Any person who believes that the application of the discretionary provisions of this rule making would result in hardship or injustice to that person may petition the Department for a waiver of the discretionary provisions, if any.

Review by Administrative Rules Review Committee

The Administrative Rules Review Committee, a bipartisan legislative committee which oversees rule making by executive branch agencies, may, on its own motion or on written request by any individual or group, review this rule making at its regular monthly meeting or at a special meeting. The Committee's meetings are open to the public, and interested persons may be heard as provided in Iowa Code section 17A.8(6).

Effective Date

This rule making will become effective on July 24, 2019.

The following rule-making action is adopted:

Amend subrule 61.3(5) as follows:

61.3(5) Surface water classification. The department hereby incorporates by reference "Surface Water Classification," effective June 17, 2015 July 24, 2019. This document may be obtained on the department's website at

[Filed 5/28/19, effective 7/24/19]

[Published 6/19/19]

Editor's Note: For replacement pages for IAC, see IAC Supplement 6/19/19.

Environmental Protection Commission

This Organization is a part of the Natural Resources Department

Official Document

  • Surface water classification, 61.3(5)
  • Published on 6/19/2019
  • Adopted and Filed

The official published PDF of this document is available from the Iowa General Assembly’s Administrative Rules page.

View Official PDF

View the Iowa Administrative Bulletin for 6/19/2019.

View Bulletin

Related Notices

Administrative Rule References

The following administrative rule references were added to this document. You may click a reference to view related notices.

Rule 567-61.3(5)


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Surface water classification
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