The Maryland State Water Quality Advisory Committee (SWQAC) invites you to become involved in helping to provide input and guidance in the management of statewide water quality issues. Public participation in water quality matters is fundamental to achieving the Clean Water Act's "fishable and swimmable" goals. Under federal law, each State must have an active State-recognized public participation group in order for the State to be eligible to receive federal funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). SWQAC is Maryland's federally mandated public participation group. Federal EPA assisted agencies in Maryland that are primarily involved in water quality issues include the Department of the Environment and the Department of Natural Resources.
In accordance with federal guidelines:
SWQAC's broad statutory obligations include:
- SWQAC is a balanced, multi-disciplinary group comprised of 32 members representing private citizens, public officials, economic interests and public interests organizations from different geographic areas of the State.
- SWQAC's affirmed role is to regularly advise State agencies receiving EPA funding, on programs and activities that may have impacts on the improvement and protection of water quality.
- The emphasis of our work is directed to issues of statewide significance.
- The committee’s composition and structure ensures that our activities are representative of the perspectives of the multiple and divergent interests of all the groups represented, and our input and recommendations generated by consensus.
- fostering constructive interchange among the various interests represented on the group.
- assisting elected or appointed officials with final decision-making responsibility by making recommendations to such officials on important issues; and thereby enhancing the prospect of broader community acceptance of State agency action.
- SWQAC's overarching goal is to maintain an open dialogue with public officials on all matters related to all aspects of water quality.
- Examples of interest to SWQAC include, point and non-point source pollution, land use and growth as it affects water quality, preservation and conservation of the State's water resources, regulatory review and review of proposed planning documents such as water & sewer plans, continuing planning process and EPA actions.
All Maryland citizens are welcome to attend the regular meetings and to participate in subcommittee meetings. Read about how you may become involved!