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Regional Membership

208 Water Quality Program History

The Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 and 1977, commonly referred to as the Clean Water Act, established the nation's goals and responsibilities for cleaning up our waters and included language which provided for water quality management planning on a regional basis. Section 208 of the Act specifies that the planning will be done in all regions of the country, either by the responsible State or a designated regional planning agency. Consequently, the affected local governments in the Larimer-Weld Region entered into agreements for the coordinated water quality management planning and implementation effort to be conducted by NFRWQPA. NFRWQPA requested designation as an areawide water quality planning agency and was so approved by the Governor on October 20, 1987, and the U.S. EPA approved that designation on November 13, 1987.


With the 208 areawide planning designation comes the responsibility of preparing a regional plan and managing its implementation. This includes assigning management and operational functions, determining facility needs, projecting population, defining service areas, and establishing priorities, among other duties. The development and recommendation of water quality classifications and standards and the coordination of a regional monitoring effort are important aspects of the program. The NFRWQPA reviews and makes recommendations on new and expanded facility site applications and on proposed legislation and regulations dealing with water quality. The Association can also assist with special studies to solve specific problems.

As the area grows and development increases, there will be more impact on our waters. A regional perspective needs to be maintained to look at the cumulative effect of these discharges on our natural resources and the interrelationship of the discharges and their effect on each other. Drainage basins need to be looked at as a complete unit; water quality planning cannot stop at local boundaries that divide a river basin into parts. Other areawide programs such as coordinating regional water quality monitoring and providing a united or consensus regional position to the State in standards hearings or other matters of concern to us could not be done by any single entity, and those programs would not be as effective if done piecemeal. Larimer and Weld Counties have the best Regional cooperating group in Colorado with the most influence and strongest input. Our efforts are the best organized and coordinated and therefore most listened to by the regulatory agencies. The NFRWQPA is presently made up of 35 members (29 voting members) representing the local governments, business interests, and community action groups in the Region.


The importance of the 208 Water Quality program should not be underestimated. Because the NFRWQPA is the designated water quality planning agency for the region, we in the region have a very strong say in the determination of own destiny. If there were not a regional 208 planning program, the State would do the planning for us instead. This means they would determine what was consistent with their adopted plan, what additional facilities could be allowed, and what amendments to the plan should be prepared. This would have a significant impact on what development could be approved and would have major effects on the economy of the region, affecting employment, housing, industry, tax base levels, and other economic parameters. Also, if the water quality is not maintained, it could cause all dischargers substantial costs to upgrade their treatment facilities and discourage new facilities from locating in our area.

If we do our own regional planning, we can set our own goals and objectives and have a coordinated program that will serve all the entities in the area while keeping the cost to a minimum. This allows much more local control. Each entity is allowed to provide input about its own concerns and is thus benefited by having a regional plan which can address those problems and be of assistance to that jurisdiction. With our local control, we can develop, propose, and support appropriate water quality classifications and standards to protect the uses of our waters without resulting in unnecessary treatment costs and unreasonable limits in permits. The monetary value of this benefit can be very large if the result is to eliminate the need for expensive tertiary treatment for our communities or industries or to make the difference in the decision to locate an industry here. The program has significant input and cooperation from some of the major industries in the area because it is valuable to them and to any potential new industries that might be attracted here.

Maintaining an active technical water resources program can assist local entities by providing them with data and advice about changing conditions that will affect their operations. This can be through a review of proposed new legislation and regulations, recommendations on new sewage facility site applications, coordinating a regional monitoring program, or assisting in special studies dealing with issues such as groundwater impacts and non-point source pollution.