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Rules and Regulations

The following is a list of federal and state (Oregon and Washington) rules and regulations that are pertinent to golf courses and golf course maintenance practices.


4(d) Rules

Section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) directs NOAA Fisheries to issue regulations to conserve species listed as threatened. This applies particularly to “take," which can include any act that kills or injures fish, and may include habitat modification. The ESA prohibits ANY take of species listed as endangered, but some take of threatened species that does not interfere with salmon survival and recovery can be allowed.
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)


The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) FIFRA FIFRA (109 pp, 288k, About PDF)] provides the basis for regulation, sale, distribution and use of pesticides in the U.S. FIFRA authorizes EPA to review and register pesticides for specified uses. EPA also has the authority to suspend or cancel the registration of a pesticide if subsequent information shows that continued use would pose unreasonable risks. Some key elements of FIFRA include:
  • is a product licensing statute; pesticide products must obtain an EPA registration before manufacture, transport, and sale
  • registration based on a risk/benefit standard
  • strong authority to require data--authority to issue Data Call-ins
  • ability to regulate pesticide use through labeling, packaging, composition, and disposal
  • emergency exemption authority--permits approval of unregistered uses of registered products on a time limited basis
  • ability to suspend or cancel a product's registration: appeals process, adjudicatory functions, etc.
The Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA) of 2003 establishes pesticide registration service fees for registration actions in three pesticide program divisions: Antimicrobials, Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention, and the Registration Divisions.

Endangered Species Act

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 prohibits any action that can adversely affect an endangered or threatened species or its habitat. In compliance with this law, EPA must ensure that use of the pesticides it registers will not harm these species.
  • Endangered Species Protection Program Under the Endangered Species Act, EPA must ensure that use of pesticides it registers will not result in harm to the species listed as endangered or threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or to habitat critical to those species' survival. Find our more on the Endangered Species Protection Program

Clean Water Act

The objective of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, commonly referred to as the Clean Water Act (CWA), is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation's waters by preventing point and nonpoint pollution sources, providing assistance to publicly owned treatment works for the improvement of wastewater treatment, and maintaining the integrity of wetlands.
Pollutants regulated under the CWA include "priority" pollutants, including various toxic pollutants; "conventional" pollutants, such as biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), total suspended solids (TSS), fecal coliform, oil and grease, and pH; and "non-conventional" pollutants, including any pollutant not identified as either conventional or priority. The CWA regulates both direct and indirect discharges.

Safe Drinking Water Act

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is the main federal law that ensures the quality of Americans' drinking water. Under SDWA, EPA sets standards for drinking water quality and oversees the states, localities, and water suppliers who implement those standards.


Water Quality

The Oregon Administrative Rules, Department of Environmental Quality, Water Pollution, Division 41, Water Quality Standards: Beneficial Uses, Policies, and criteria for Oregon.
These rules set forth Oregon's plans for management of the quality of public waters within the State of Oregon.

303(d) and TMDL

CWA Section 303(d) requires identifying waters that do not meet water quality standards where a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) needs to be developed.
This site contains links to Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP) documents prepared for waterbodies in Oregon designated as water quality limited on the 303(d) list. A TMDL is the calculated pollutant amount that a water body can receive and still meet Oregon water quality standards.

Storm Water

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits are required for storm water discharges to surface waters from construction and industrial activities and municipalities if stormwater from rain or snow melt leaves your site through a "point source" and reaches surface waters either directly or through storm drainage. A point source is a natural or human-made conveyance of water through such things as pipes, culverts, ditches, catch basins, or any other type of channel.

Ground-Water Quality

The Oregon Administrative Rules, Department of Environmental Quality, Division 40, Ground-Water Quality Protection
The Rules within this Division establish the mandatory minimum groundwater quality protection requirements for federal and state agencies, cities, counties, industries, and citizens. Other federal, state, and local programs may contain additional or more stringent ground-water quality protection requirements. Unless specifically exempted by statute, groundwater quality protection requirements must meet or be equivalent to these rules.

Water Rights

Under Oregon law, all water is publicly owned. With some exceptions, cities, farmers, factory owners and other users must obtain a permit or water right from the Water Resources Department to use water from any source— whether it is underground, or from lakes or streams. Landowners with water flowing past, through, or under their property do not automatically have the right to use that water without a permit from the Department.


Oregon´s Removal-Fill Law (ORS 196.795-990) requires people who plan to remove or fill material in waters of the state to obtain a permit from the Department of State Lands.

The purpose of the law, enacted in 1967, is to protect public navigation, fishery and recreational uses of the waters. "Waters of the state" are defined as "natural waterways including all tidal and nontidal bays, intermittent streams, constantly flowing streams, lakes, wetlands and other bodies of water in this state, navigable and nonnavigable, including that portion of the Pacific Ocean that is in the boundaries of this state." The law applies to all landowners, whether private individuals or public agencies.

Waste Pesticide Management

Environmentally sound management of pesticide wastes and empty pesticide containers is in everyone's best interest. Accidental release or indiscriminate discharge of pesticide waste into the environment can harm people and contaminate surface and groundwater. Pesticide-contaminated water poses a hazard to non-target organisms such as plants, beneficial insects, fish and other aquatic life.
For detailed information on the management of waste pesticides, refer to the Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) Chapter 340, Division 109. Universal waste rules are found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 40, Part 273 and (OAR) Chapter 340, Division 113.

The rules that apply to managing pesticide waste can be found in Oregon Administrative Rules, Chapter 340 in the following Divisions:

  • Division 109 - Management of Pesticide Wastes

The Oregon Administrative Rules, Department of Environmental Quality, Division 109, Hazardous Waste Management, Management of Pesticide Waste, General

Underground Storage Tanks

The purpose of these rules is to provide for the regulation of underground storage tanks (USTs) (a) to protect the public health, safety, welfare and the environment from the potential harmful effects of spills and releases from underground tanks used to store regulated substances; (b) To prevent releases due to structural failure, system leaks, corrosion, spills and overfills for as long as an UST system is used to store regulated substances; (c) To promote the proper operation and maintenance of UST systems through training of UST facility personnel and expedited enforcement of violations; and (d) To obtain state program approval to manage underground storage tanks in Oregon in lieu of the federal program, as required by ORS 466.720.

Drywells/Underground Injection Systems

Injection systems are any man-made design, structure or activity, which discharges below the ground or subsurface. Common uses include: stormwater discharge, industrial/commercial and process waste water disposal, large domestic onsite systems and cesspools, sewage drill holes, aquifer remediation systems, motor vehicle waste disposal, agricultural drainage, geothermal systems and aquifer storage and recovery (ASR). Common designs include drywells, trench drains, sumps, perforated piping, floor drains, drainfields and drill holes.
The intent of the program is to protect groundwater resources, primarily used for drinking water, from contamination. All groundwater aquifers in Oregon are considered suitable as drinking water. The program is implemented from headquarters and serves the entire state. There are numerous federal classes and types of injection systems. All classes and types are required to be registered with DEQ and approved either through rule authorization (in lieu of a permit), under a state permit or closed.

Hazardous Substance Remedial Action

Any removal or remedial action shall address a release or threat of release of hazardous substances in a manner that assures protection of present and future public health, safety, and welfare, and the environment. In the event of a release of a hazardous substance, remedial actions shall be implemented to achieve:
Acceptable risk levels defined in OAR 340-122-0115, as demonstrated by a residual risk assessment; or numeric cleanup standards developed as part of an approved generic remedy identified or developed by DEQ under OAR 340-122-0047, if applicable; or in the event of a release of methane from a historic solid waste landfill, removal or remedial actions shall be implemented to prevent concentrations of methane exceeding or likely to exceed 1.25% by volume in confined spaces and structures, other than in equipment, piping, wells, or other structures designed for the collection and management of methane and approved by DEQ.
In the event of a release of hazardous substances to groundwater or surface water constituting a hot spot of contamination, treatment shall be required in accordance with OAR 340-122-0085(5) and 340-122-0090.
A removal or remedial action shall prevent or minimize future releases and migration of hazardous substances in the environment. A removal or remedial action and related activities shall not result in greater environmental degradation than that existing when the removal or remedial action commenced, unless short-term degradation is approved by the Director under OAR 340-122-0050(4).
A removal or remedial action shall provide long-term care or management, as necessary and appropriate, including but not limited to monitoring, operation, maintenance, and periodic review.


Water Quality

Washington State's Water Quality Assessment lists the water quality status for a particular location in one of 5 categories recommended by EPA. This Assessment represents the Integrated Report for Sections 303(d) and 305(b) of the Clean Water Act.

Storm Water Quality Standards

Storm water is rain and snow melt that runs off surfaces such as rooftops, paved streets, highways, and parking lots. As water runs off these surfaces, it can pick up pollution such as: oil, fertilizers, pesticides, soil, trash, and animal waste. From here, the water might flow directly into a local stream, bay, or lake. Or, it may go into a storm drain and continue through storm pipes until it is released untreated into a local waterway.

Ground Water Quality Standards
  • Chapter 173-200 WAC: Water Quality Standards for Ground Waters of the State of Washington
  • Implementation Guidance for Ground Water Quality Standards
  • Ecology Publication 96-02, revised October 2005
  • Explains and interprets the standards providing clear direction to promote consistent statewide implementation for all activities which have a potential to degrade ground water quality.
  • Other Ground Water-Related Links
  • Critical Aquifer Recharge Area (CARA)
This ordinance provides local governments with a mechanism to protect the functions and values of a community’s drinking water by preventing pollution and maintaining supply.

Water Quality Standards

The Water Quality Standards are the basis for protecting and regulating the quality of surface waters in Washington. The standards implement portions of the federal Clean Water Act by specifying the designated and potential uses of waterbodies in Washington State. They set water quality criteria to protect those uses and acknowledge limitations. The standards also contain policies to protect high quality waters (antidegradation) and in many cases specify how criteria are to be implemented, for example in permits.
The water quality standards are established to sustain public health and public enjoyment of the waters and the propagation and protection of fish, shellfish, and wildlife. This three-part approach was designed to set limits on pollution in our lakes, rivers and marine waters in order to protect beneficial uses such as aquatic life, swimming and fishing. They also support other water protection processes (such as total maximum daily loads, also known as TMDLs, and the biannual water quality assessment), and guide Washington citizens, businesses and other government agencies to the goal of sustaining clean water for current and future use. The three-part approach covers:
  • Designated uses, such as fishing, swimming, and aquatic life habitat.
  • Numeric and narrative water quality criteria limits to protect the uses.
  • Policies, such as antidegradation, to protect higher quality waters from being further degraded.

Underground Injection Control Program

The Underground Injection Control Program (UIC) protects groundwater quality by regulating discharges to UIC wells. In other words, this program protects groundwater quality by regulating the disposal of fluids into the subsurface. UIC wells are used to manage storm water (i.e., drywells) and sanitary waste (large on-site systems), return water to the ground, and help clean up contaminated sites. The potential for groundwater contamination from injection wells depends upon well construction and location; quality of the fluids injected; and the geographic and hydrologic settings in which the injection occurs.
UIC Regulation (Washington State Legislature website)
Information on the UIC Program

Model Toxics Control Act

The Washington State Model Toxics Control Act, Chapter 70.105D RCW ("MTCA" or the "Act") creates a comprehensive regulatory scheme to identify, investigate, and clean up contaminated properties that are, or may be, a threat to human health or the environment.
The Washington State Department of Ecology ("Ecology") is the lead agency responsible for the implementation and enforcement of MTCA. Ecology has promulgated detailed regulations that supplement the Act. These regulations are found at Chapter 173-340 WAC. Ecology has also published various policy documents and technical memoranda that help explain how Ecology interprets and applies MTCA. These documents are available online at
Two other useful websites related to MTCA are:

Underground Storage Tanks

Page last modified on Tuesday 19 of January, 2010 14:05:27 PST
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