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Water Quality Control Commission general information

About us

The Water Quality Control Commission is the administrative agency responsible for developing specific water quality policy in Colorado, in a manner that implements the broader policies set forth by the Legislature in the Colorado Water Quality Control Act. We adopt water quality classifications and standards for surface and groundwaters, as well as various regulations aimed at achieving compliance with those classifications and standards.

We usually meet the second Monday (and Tuesday, if necessary) of each month, with some variations due to holidays or joint meetings with other bodies.

The meetings are held in the Sabin Cleere Conference Room of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 4300 Cherry Creek Drive South, in Denver unless otherwise noticed.

Current Commissioners:

      Jeni Arndt currently serves as the mayor of Fort Collins and has formerly served as a member of the Colorado House of Representatives for the 53rd District (Larimer County). While at the Colorado General Assembly, she held leadership positions as the chair of Agriculture, Livestock and Water Committee and chair of Water Resources Review Committee. Commissioner Arndt also serves on the boards of Platte River Power Authority, Fort Collins/Loveland Airport, Urban Renewal Authority, and Boxelder Basin Regional Stormwater Authority. She has focused on water, agriculture, small businesses, and public education, and is a life-long member of Colorado Water Congress. She has resided in Fort Collins since she was a child, but has also served in the Peace Corps in Morocco and has lived and worked in Mozambique, Africa. She has a PhD in Literacy and Language from Purdue University in Indiana, a Master of Arts degree in Geography from the University of Colorado, a Masters of Arts degree in Special Education from Purdue, and a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Colorado College. She and her husband of 32 years have three adult children and in her free time she enjoys running, biking, swimming, reading, and talking to people. Commissioner Arndt represents a community regulated by the Water Quality Control Division, and is employed by an entity that is subject to fees set pursuant to Article 8. First term, expires 2/25. Registered Democrat.

      Jennifer Bock serves as the Assistant City Attorney for the City of Steamboat Springs. She has over 14 years of experience working on water law issues including the Salton Sea, mining discharge, and water rights in California and Colorado, for government, tribal, and non-profit organizations. Prior to working for the City, Jennifer worked for High Country Conservation Advocates in Crested Butte and served as a Hearings Officer for the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. She has lived in India and South Africa, and took a year off to travel the globe with her husband before clerking for Justice Gregory J. Hobbs of the Colorado Supreme Court. Jennifer has a BA from Georgetown University, and a JD from UC Berkeley School of Law with a certificate in Environmental Law. Commissioner Bock represents a community regulated by the Water Quality Control Division, and is employed by an entity that is subject to fees set pursuant to Article 8. First term, expires 2/24.  Registered Democrat.

      Sonja Chavez received both her BA in Environmental Biology and an MA in Limnology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her areas of expertise are in water quality, water resources planning and management, funding acquisition, and environmental and natural resource sciences and policy.  Commissioner Chavez began her water career working as an intern for the Water Quality Control Division after which she went on to work in both the public and private sectors as a water quality and wetland specialist and environmental planner. In 2002, she moved to Gunnison where she started her own consulting firm, leading west slope water users to implement over $38M in water resource improvement projects as part of a federal selenium and salinity control program. In 2015, she joined the Colorado River Water Conservation District in Glenwood Springs as a Water Resource Specialist. Today, she is the General Manager of the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District in Gunnison.  Over the years, Commissioner Chavez has served the water community in various leadership and volunteer roles including Vice President of the Gunnison County Land Preservation Board, Gunnison Basin Round Table At-Large-Representative, Colorado Water Conservation Board Demand Management Economic and Local Government Work Group, Governor Polis’ Water Equity Task Force and Senator Bennet’s Colorado Climate Action Work Group. Second term (occasioned by passing of John Ott), expires 2/2026.  Registered Unaffiliated.

      Nicole Poncelet-Johnson is the Director of Water Quality and Treatment at Denver Water, leading four of Colorado's largest treatment plants as well as a water quality program that protects the health and livelihood of 1.5 million people in Denver. Commissioner Poncelet-Johnson is a 25+ year veteran of the water and wastewater industry. She operated water and wastewater treatment plants and systems, and managed construction of treatment plants, including Aurora Water's Prairie Waters treatment plant. She also served as a principal investigator and lead negotiator for Denver Water's Reduction Program Plan. She is a professional civil engineer who graduated from Purdue University and completed an MBA through Colorado State University. Commissioner Poncelet-Johnson represents a community regulated by the Water Quality Control Division, and is employed by an entity that is subject to fees set pursuant to Article 8. First term, expires 2/26. Registered Unaffiliated.

      April Long is a professional engineer with 17 years of experience in water resources management. For 11 years she served as the Stormwater Manager and Clean River Program Manager for the City of Aspen, focusing on water quality and river health improvements for the Roaring Fork River, a 303d listed stream. Her work ranges from writing policy, regulations, and technical design guidelines to master planning, design and construction of award-winning capital projects that use creative and natural approaches for removing pollutants from stormwater runoff. Commissioner Long serves as the Executive Director of the Ruedi Water and Power Authority, a quasi-governmental organization that works to preserve and protect the water resources of the Roaring Fork Valley. She is an alumnus of the Colorado Water Leaders program and is the legislative appointee to the Colorado River Basin Roundtable. Commissioner Long grew up in Alabama and has a degree in Biosystems Engineering from Auburn University. She lives in the Roaring Fork Valley and enjoys exploring western lands and waters with her family by foot, bike, or raft. Commissioner Long represents a community regulated by the Water Quality Control Division, and is employed by an entity that is subject to fees set pursuant to Article 8. Second term, expires 2/25. Registered Democrat.

      Jason Rogers has over 18 years of experience in land planning and development issues. Commissioner Rogers has worked on a wide variety of projects in various planning disciplines (regional, transportation, development review, environmental quality, sustainability, redevelopment, and strategic planning). Prior to his appointment as City Manager, Commissioner Rogers was the Community Development Director for Commerce City, he was the Deputy Community Development Director and the Urban Renewal Director for the Town of Parker. His progressive job experience includes employment outside of Colorado in a public and private capacity for communities between 100,000 to 1.1 million people. Commissioner Rogers represents a community regulated by the Water Quality Control Division, and is employed by an entity that is subject to fees set pursuant to Article 8. First term, expires 2/24. Registered Unaffiliated.

      Troy Waters owns and operates a row crop farm outside Fruita, Colorado. He graduated from Fruita Monument High School and received a degree in Diesel and Heavy Equipment Mechanics from Utah Valley University. As a fourth-generation farmer in the Fruita area, he has over 35 years of farming experience. Mindful of the imperative role water has in the West, Commissioner Waters has worked with Natural Resources Conservation Service in water salinity projects on his farm as well as with Colorado State University Fruita Research Station on other agricultural projects. He taught agricultural machinery classes at Western Colorado Community College. Commissioner Waters also served for 15 years on the Fruita Consumers Cooperative board as board Secretary/Treasurer. Currently, he is a board member of the Grand Valley Waters Users Association and serves on the Mesa County Agricultural Advisory Panel. Second term, expires 2/24. Registered Unaffiliated.

      Mike Weber is an employee of Bryant Consultants working as a water resource engineer with a focus on hydrologic connections between soil matrices and underground building envelopes. His focus is on hydrology in complex systems including best management practices, earthen dams/retention ponds, rivers/stream bank movements, and underground pipeline transmission lines. Commissioner Weber has an interest in the nexus between water quality and soil mechanics from infiltration and subsurface movement from naturally occurring events on projects across the United States. His background in agriculture and soil health have led him to work on various projects that have nonpoint source pollution remediation along with innovative technologies that help with increased productivity for agriculture. He has worked with lease-fallowing, irrigation improvement projects, soil health, and Colorado Water Plan Basin Implementation Plans. Commissioner Weber has a strong background in water rights for the Arkansas Basin and understanding water law in western United States. His degree is in civil engineering from Colorado State University and has served on the Arkansas Basin Roundtable, Fountain Creek Watershed, Flood Control, and Greenway District Boards and helps the USCID and Ditch and Reservoir Company Alliance non-profit organizations educate and promote water delivery in semi-arid climates. Commissioner Weber is an advocate for nonpoint source pollution reduction through water resources and preserving agricultural production. Second term expires 2/26. Registered Unaffiliated.

      Julie Zahringer is the Laboratory Director, owner, and certified chemist of SDC Laboratory in Alamosa, Colorado. She serves a wide variety of municipalities and water agencies throughout Southern Colorado, focusing on drinking water, wasterwater, ground water and surface water quality projects. Much of her work revolves around integrated water solutions to meet the needs of both water users and the environment. Commissioner Zahringer has 28 years experience in the analytical water industry and is focused on ensuring all Coloradans have access to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water. Commissioner Zahringer is proud to serve the Commission and being part of a team that builds increased equity, inclusivity, and diversity in the water decision-making. Commissioner Zahringer is a native of the San Luis Valley, a region which her ancestors on both maternal and paternal sides relocated from Spain in 1649 under the Spanish Land Grant. Her formative years were spent helping on the generational family farm and ranches near the first permanent settlement in Colorado, known as San Luis del la Culebra on the Sangre de Cristo Grant.  For Commissioner Zahringer, science and the life-giving force of water are inseparable. First term, expires 2/25. Registered Democrat.

      General Resources and Helpful Information


      State Water Agencies and External Water Quality Resources

      State Water Agencies and External Water Quality Resources

      • Determine who to contact with water-related issues

      General Resources and Helpful Information


      Colorado vs. Federal Water Acts

      • The major elements of the federal Clean Water Act and the Colorado Water Quality Control Act are very similar.
        • Each is based on a discharge permit program for "point source" discharges of pollutants, requiring that discharges meet both federally established, technology-based effluent limitations and state-adopted water quality standards.
        • The permit program is enforced through potential civil and criminal penalties.
        • The Colorado act says the state "shall maintain a program which does not conflict with the provisions of the federal act."
      • Areas in which the Colorado act differs from the federal act include:
        • The federal act regulates only surface water quality, while in Colorado "waters of the state" is defined to include groundwater.
        • The Colorado act includes a number of special provisions (particularly in Section 25-8-104) to ensure water quality control efforts in Colorado don’t interfere with Colorado's established water rights system.
        • The Colorado act includes a requirement for "site approval" of new or expanded domestic wastewater treatment plants, which doesn’t appear in the federal act.
      • Under the Colorado act, the state may adopt "control regulations" for a fairly broad set of water quality protection purposes, subject to specific limitations on adopting control regulations for agricultural nonpoint sources.
      • The Colorado act includes a program addressing potential groundwater quality impacts from agricultural chemicals, administered largely by the commissioner of agriculture, which has no parallel in the federal act.
      • Please note that the Colorado Water Quality Control Act doesn’t address drinking water quality management issues that are addressed by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.
      • Until 2006, Colorado's drinking water program was implemented under the general public health protection authority of the Colorado Board of Health.
        • In 2006, the Legislature transferred rulemaking authority to us from the Board of Health.