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Colorado Regulation 85: A Leap Forward in Ensuring Clean Water


Clean water is essential for human health, the environment, and the economy. It's a finite resource that requires careful management and protection. In Colorado, Regulation 85 plays a pivotal role in safeguarding the state's water quality. This regulation, administered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), focuses on controlling and preventing water pollution to ensure clean and safe water for all Coloradans. In this blog post, we'll explore Colorado Regulation 85 and its significance in maintaining clean water.

Understanding Colorado Regulation 85

Colorado Regulation 85, also known as the Basic Standards and Methodologies for Surface Water, is a set of rules and standards that govern water quality in the state. Adopted in 1984, it was designed to meet the federal Clean Water Act's requirements, which aim to protect and improve the quality of water resources across the United States.

Key Components of Regulation 85

  1. Water Quality Standards: Regulation 85 sets forth specific water quality standards for various types of water bodies, including rivers, lakes, and streams. These standards define the maximum allowable levels of various pollutants in the water to ensure it remains safe for both human consumption and aquatic life.

  2. Point Source Discharge Control: The regulation establishes a permitting system for facilities that discharge pollutants into Colorado's waters. Entities such as industrial facilities, wastewater treatment plants, and stormwater systems must obtain permits that outline pollutant limits and monitoring requirements to prevent contamination.

  3. Non-Point Source Pollution Control: Regulation 85 also addresses non-point source pollution, which arises from diffuse sources like agriculture, construction, and urban runoff. To mitigate non-point source pollution, the regulation promotes best management practices (BMPs) to minimize pollution from these sources.

  4. Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs): Under Regulation 85, the CDPHE identifies impaired water bodies and develops TMDLs, which are pollution budgets specifying the maximum amount of a particular pollutant a water body can tolerate while still meeting water quality standards. TMDLs guide pollution reduction efforts.

  5. Monitoring and Reporting: The regulation includes requirements for monitoring water quality and reporting data to track progress in reducing pollution and ensuring compliance with water quality standards.

The Clean Water Aspect of Regulation 85

Colorado Regulation 85 plays a crucial role in protecting and improving the quality of the state's water resources. Here are some key aspects highlighting its contribution to clean water:

  1. Protection of Human Health: Regulation 85's water quality standards help safeguard the health of Colorado residents who rely on these waters for drinking, cooking, and recreation. By setting strict limits on pollutants, it reduces the risk of exposure to harmful contaminants.

  2. Preservation of Aquatic Ecosystems: Clean water is vital for the survival of aquatic life. Regulation 85's standards and controls ensure that Colorado's rivers and streams can support diverse and healthy ecosystems, including fish, insects, and plants.

  3. Economic Benefits: Clean water is essential for a thriving economy. Industries like tourism, agriculture, and outdoor recreation depend on clean water resources. By preventing pollution, Regulation 85 helps sustain these industries and the jobs they create.

  4. Environmental Stewardship: Colorado Regulation 85 reflects the state's commitment to environmental stewardship. It acknowledges that water is a finite and valuable resource that must be protected for future generations.


Colorado Regulation 85 represents a significant step forward in ensuring clean water for the state's residents, environment, and economy. By establishing clear standards, regulating point and non-point source pollution, and promoting monitoring and reporting, this regulation plays a vital role in maintaining and improving the quality of Colorado's water resources. As the state continues to face water quality challenges, Regulation 85 remains a cornerstone in the ongoing effort to protect and preserve this precious resource.

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