Government British Columbia: Ministry of Environment: Water Quality Guidelines for Copper
Water Quality Criteria for Copper
Prepared pursuant to Section 2(e) of the
Environment Management Act, 1981
Original signed by T. R. Johnson
Environment and Parks
July 22, 1987
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Table 1: Summary of Water Quality Criteria for Copper
Application of Guidelines for Aquatic Life
This report is one in a series which establishes water quality criteria for British Columbia. The report sets criteria for copper to protect a number of uses. These include drinking water, freshwater and marine aquatic life, wildlife, livestock watering, irrigation, and recreation. For aquatic life, the criteria are expressed in terms of a maximum and a 30-day average concentration to address the short-term and long-term effects of copper separately. These criteria vary according to the hardness of the water. For other water uses, the criteria are set only as maximum concentrations. Actual values are summarized in the Tables.
The criteria are consistent with the Canadian Water Quality Guidelines published by the CCREM in March, 1987, except for drinking water and aquatic life.
For drinking water, our receiving water criterion is lower than the CCREM guideline in order to allow for internal contributions from copper piping systems.
For freshwater aquatic life, the CCREM offers only maximum values more restrictive than ours. The criteria in this report are more flexible and suitable to provincial background conditions. We also recommend that copper not be used as a pesticide in waters where fisheries are an important resource. The CCREM did not set criteria for marine and estuarine aquatic life.
The two major uses of the criteria are:
- as a guideline for assessments of water quality conditions
- as one of the factors considered in setting water quality objectives for a specific body of water
If a form of copper other than total copper is to be used for an objective, then this form (e.g., dissolved, extractable, etc.) will need to be determined by site-specific studies.