PORTLAND - Comments are due Friday, Oct. 3, regarding proposed revisions to state water quality standards, including criteria for water temperature and criteria for dissolved oxygen found between streambed gravels. DEQ uses these criteria to help provide protection for salmon and trout, and to help decide pollution load limits for sources that discharge pollution into state waters.

Comments may be sent to DEQ by mail, e-mail or fax by 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3. Written comments may be mailed to: Emily Smith, Oregon DEQ, Water Quality Division, 811 S.W. Sixth Ave., Portland, OR 97204-1390. Comments may be faxed to Smith at (503) 229-6037, or e-mailed to Emily.smith@deq.state.or.us.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is holding two public hearings in Portland to take comment and provide information about the proposals. The meetings are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18, at 1900 S.W. Fourth Ave.; and 6 to 9 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 18, at DEQ Headquarters at 811 S.W. Sixth Ave.

Each hearing will begin with a brief overview of the proposed rule changes, followed by the opportunity for the public to provide oral and written comment.

The proposed revised temperature standards are designed to:

• Establish numeric and narrative criteria based on the biological needs of salmon and the natural condition of rivers, lakes and streams within the state.

• Establish proposed temperature minimums for certain state waters, depending on species, habitat and location.

• Include new provisions for "mixing zones," defined areas in which it is acknowledged that state water quality standards cannot be met, such as the point where wastewater is released into a river from an outfall pipe.

• Define "anti-degradation" policies that ensure that those water bodies in the state that meet state water quality standards are not degraded.

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