Glossary for the Coal and Water section | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Glossary for the Coal and Water section


Clean Water Act

Clean Water Protection Act – 

Designated Uses – the Clean Water Act requires that the waters of the nation be fishable, swimmable and drinkable (called designated uses). For the state of Kentucky, the Division of Water (KDOW) has identified these possible designated uses of streams, rivers and lakes:

  • drinking water for humans
  • primary contact recreation (PCR), or swimming, for humans
  • secondary contact recreation (SCR), or boating, fishing and wading, for humans
  • aquatic habitat for plants and animals that live in water
  • outstanding state resource water


Impaired waters – a body of water not able to meet its designated use.

Kentucky Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (KPDES) – .....         You can find the state regulations governing KPDES permits here and the types of permits here.

Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) – a calculation of the amounts of pollutants allowable in a watershed so that the stream can meet its designated use(s). TMDLs are used to determine what pollutants must be removed or are allowable, distributed among the users of the land in that watershed.


Water Quality Standards – to support the fishable, swimmable and drinkable goals, the Clean Water Act requires states to set water quality standards to protect and manage their streams, lakes and rivers to minimize or eliminate pollution. In Kentucky, the standards include criteria for various water quality measurements like dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH and other measurable qualities and are part of our state regulations.

Watershed – the area of land where the runoff flows to a common stream is called a watershed.