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Rule 57 Water Quality Values

Contact: Kevin Cox 517-388-6961

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Rule 57 Water Quality Values

On March 23, 1995, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) issued the Final Water Quality Guidance for the Great Lakes System (Guidance).  The Guidance instructs Great Lakes states and tribes to use the criteria, methods, policies, and procedures within to establish consistent, long-term protection for water quality in the Great Lakes and their tributaries.  While the Guidance contained specific water quality criteria for certain pollutants, importantly it also included detailed methods to develop criteria for additional pollutants.  The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (then the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality) updated the Part 4 Rules, Water Quality Standards, promulgated under Part 31, Water Resources Protection, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended (NREPA) to reflect this federal Guidance, including the narrative methods to develop water quality values protective of human health and aquatic life.  On August 2, 2000, the U.S. EPA approved the revisions to Michigan’s Part 4 Rules, including Rule 57 (R 323.1057), Toxic Substances.

Rule 57 gives narrative procedures for calculating water quality values for toxic substances to protect humans, wildlife, and aquatic life, in keeping with the federal Guidance.  These values apply to all surface waters in Michigan unless site specific values have been derived.

Michigan’s incorporation of a narrative process for developing water quality values within the Water Quality Standards, in keeping with the federal Guidance, allows the state to use a standardized, transparent process to develop and update water quality values when new toxicological data are available and to provide a timely response to contaminants of emerging concern.  The ability to routinely update water quality values when new toxicological data are available allows for final values to be developed using a more complete data set with reduced uncertainty in the values.

I.  Statewide Rule 57 Water Quality Values

General Information

The following are instructions for Interpreting the Rule 57 Water Quality Values Spreadsheet:

Using Rule 57, the following values are determined:

  • Human Noncancer Value (HNV):  “drink” and “non-drink”
  • Human Cancer Value (HCV):  “drink” and “non-drink”
  • Wildlife Value (WV):   (calculated only for Bioaccumulative Chemicals of Concern)
  • Final Chronic Value (FCV)
  • Aquatic Maximum Value (AMV)
  • Final Acute Value (FAV)

The above terms and their uses are defined in the Part 4 Rules.  The use of these values to assess point source discharges and venting groundwater is described in the Part 8 Rules, Water Quality-Based Effluent Limits for Toxic Substances of the NREPA.  Within the Rule 57 Water Quality Values spreadsheet, the identification of a value as “drink” or “non-drink” refers to whether or not a surface water body is designated and protected as a source for a public drinking water supply (See Rule 100 [R 323.1100] – Designated Uses, of the Part 4 Rules).

The following are links to statewide and site-specific Rule 57 water quality values that have been derived for the state of Michigan.  Due to the complexity of the equation used to derive aquatic life values for ammonia, a link is provided to tables showing what the ammonia aquatic life values would be at different temperatures and pHs.

Each chemical is identified by a Chemical Abstract Service number (CAS#) and each Rule 57 water quality value has a Tier status associated with it (Tier 1 or Tier 2) and the year the value was verified.  Tier 1 values are calculated using an optimal set of toxicological data while Tier 2 values are calculated using a lesser amount of data (see Rule 57 for further description of tier designation).  The verification date refers to the year the water quality value was approved for entry into the spreadsheet.

If a substance is not listed in the spreadsheet or if a value is identified with an “ID” (insufficient data) or “NLS” (no literature search), then final values have not been derived.

Download Rule 57 Water Quality Values spreadsheet

Download Rule 57 Water Quality Values spreadsheet (ADA screen reader friendly)

Download Routine Rule 57 Value Update List and Schedule


The toxicity of ammonia to aquatic life is pH- and temperature-dependent and therefore, the Rule 57 aquatic life values are equation-based. Equations for calculating the aquatic life values for total ammonia are provided below the Rule 57 table. Due to the complexity of these equations, the following tables are provided to facilitate the determination of aquatic life values at various pHs (6.5-9) and temperatures (0-30°C).

Download Ammonia Aquatic Life Value Tables

II.  Site-specific Rule 57 Water Quality Values

R 323.1057(2)(r) of the Part 4 Rules gives procedures for deriving site-specific aquatic life values that reflect local environmental conditions.  The following documents contain the site-specific aquatic life water quality values that have been derived for copper for select streams in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and supplemental information used in deriving criteria.    

Site-Specific Aquatic Life Values for Total Copper for Select Water Bodies in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

Development of Site-Specific Aquatic Life Values for Total Copper for Water Bodies in the Upper Peninsula Waters-Supplemental Information

Development of a Copper Criteria Adjustment Procedure for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Waters- Supplemental Information

III. Schedule for Updating Statewide Rule 57 Water Quality Values

Water quality values for substances on the “Routine Rule 57 Value Update List” are updated every five years.  These substances were selected for routine updates because they are frequently encountered in Michigan’s water quality-based permitting process.  Rule 57 water quality values for other substances are normally updated at the request of Water Resources Division staff, as identified during Water Quality Standards Triennial Review processes, or when the supervisor of the Water Toxics Unit becomes aware of additional studies that may influence the magnitude of the water quality values; these planned updates during the current fiscal year (FY) will take place as resources and staff timing allow (see below).  Due to limited resources, new values will only be derived as needs arise to support departmental programs that are designed to protect human health and the environment.

The Rule 57 Water Quality Values Spreadsheet will be updated by the supervisor of the Water Toxics Unit, as necessary, to include new or revised values.  All changes to the spreadsheet must be approved by the manager of the Surface Water Assessment Section.

FY 2022 Anticipated Water Quality Value Activities:

The following provides a list of Routine Rule 57 Value Updates scheduled for FY 2022.  In addition, lists of substances identified for Water Quality Value updating or development are also provided (these values will be updated/derived as staffing availability allow):

Routine Update FY 2022 (CAS#)

  • 1,1-Dichloroethylene (75-35-4)
  • 1,1,2-Trichloroethane (79-00-5)
  • Naphthalene (91-20-3)
  • 1,2-Dichloroethane (107-06-2)
  • Carbon tetrachloride (56-23-5)
  • 1,1,1-Trichloroethane (71-55-6)

Additional FY 2022 Updates (CAS#)

  • PFOA (335-67-1)

Reviews Planned for FY 2022 (CAS #)

  • 6 PPD (793-24-8)
  • Acetamaprid (135410-20-7)
  • Dinotefuran (165252-70-0)
  • Clothianidin (210880-92-5)
  • Imidacloprid (138261-41-3)
  • PFBS (375-73-5)
  • PFHxA (307-24-4)
  • PFHxS (355-46-4)
  • PFNA (375-95-1)
  • Thiacloprid (111988-49-9)
  • Thiamethoxam (153719-23-4)

What’s New?

A rolling list of the most recent Water Quality Values that have been updated or derived (see Rule 57 Water Quality Values spreadsheet for additional information)

New in FY 2020/21 (CAS #)

  • Piperonyl butoxide (51-03-6)
  • Pyrethrin (8003-34-7)

Updated in FY 2020 (CAS #)

  • Chloroform (67-66-3)
  • Methylene chloride (75-09-2)
  • Tetrachloroethylene (127-18-4)
  • Toluene (108-88-3)
  • Trichloroethylene (79-01-6)
  • Xylene (1330-20-7)

Updated in FY 2021 (CAS#)

  • Benzene (71-43-2)
  • Vinyl chloride (75-01-4)
  • Chlorobenzene (108-90-7)
  • 1, 1-Dichloroethane (75-34-3)
  • 1, 4-Dichlorobenzene (106-46-7)
  • Boron (7440-42-8)
  • Hexachlorocyclopentadiene (77-47-4)