The Division of Water Quality Control is responsible for monitoring and reporting on the quality of state waters to prevent water pollution, protect, restore and improve quality. Surface water temperature monitoring is used to determine the quality and health of environmental water, develop and review water quality standards, and identify trends to ensure standards are being met (CDPHE, n.d.). Wastewater can be captured, purified and reused for outdoor irrigation, groundwater recharge, river restoration or even for drinking water. The results of these efforts are reported to the Water Quality Control Division, which uses the data to determine if the dischargers meet permit requirements or if legal action is necessary to ensure compliance.
The EPA has established both mandatory maximum contaminant levels (MCL) and voluntary maximum contaminant level (MCLG) targets for contaminants that may cause adverse public health effects. This means that cities, farms and businesses can agree to reduce their water usage in order to more evenly distribute the difficult task of stabilizing the system.
Preventing water pollutionis much less expensive than trying to clean up contaminants once they have been produced. Every two years, the Division collects all information received on water quality monitoring into a report on the state of water quality in Colorado (CDPHE, n.d.).
These restoration and protection projects are collaborative efforts that reflect the ongoing efforts of many entities to improve water quality in the state. The Colorado Geological Survey's water quality web page contains general information on water quality in Colorado, with links to documents related to its current water quality projects. Domestic wastewater usually receives substantial treatment before it is discharged into Colorado streams, but these discharges still have the potential to increase concentrations of ammonia, nutrients and pathogens and reduce oxygen levels in the receiving water source. Diffuse pollution is another issue; runoff from impervious surfaces such as roads and parking lots transports contaminants to nearby waterways.
Colorado federal and state laws broadly define water contaminants as any substance that adversely affects water quality or impairs the intended uses of that water. The EPA was required to develop guidelines for the use and disposal of sewage sludge or biosolids, so it created an inter-agency working group on sludge to assist with this task (Water Quality Act of 1987, 33 U. S. C.
§ 1251 et seq.).