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News Releases from Region 04

EPA Approves Water Quality Standards Adopted by Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

Contact Information: 
EPA Region 4 (
(404) 562-8421 (Direct)

ATLANTA (April 10, 2019) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it has approved the water quality standards (WQS) submitted to EPA by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians under Clean Water Act (CWA) section 303(c). The tribe’s WQS establish the regulatory and scientific foundation for protecting water quality and setting water quality goals and serve as the regulatory basis for establishing water quality-based treatment controls and strategies for the tribe’s surface water bodies within the reservation. This includes the preservation and protection of over 230 miles of waterways. 

“The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has demonstrated strong stewardship for its lands and resources,” said EPA Acting Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “Approval of the water quality standards will go far to ensure critical tribal surface waters are protected.”

“Having USEPA approve the Tribe’s WQS is a critically important step in protecting mostly pristine tribal natural resources and is an excellent example of the federal government fulfilling the trust responsibility to Sovereign Tribal Nations,” said Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Water Quality Section Supervisor Michael Bolt.