CONAMA Resolution 274/00 – Coastal bathing water criteria for Brazilian Waters

CONAMA RESOLUTION 274, November 29, 2000
Published in Official Gazette 18 on Jan. 25, 2001, Section 1, pages 70-71
· Revokes articles 26 to 34 of CONAMA Resolution 20/86 (revoked by CONAMA Resolution 357/05)
Defines coastal bathing water criteria for Brazilian Waters.

THE NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT COUNCIL – CONAMA, in accordance with the power bestowed upon the Council by article 8, item VII of Law 6.938 from August 31, 1981, regulated by Decree 99.274 from June 6, 1990 and in light of the provisions of CONAMA Resolution 20 from June 18, 1986 and its Internal Regulations, and

Considering that human health and wellbeing may be affected by beach water quality;

Considering that the classification of fresh, brackish and salt waters is essential to the upholding of quality levels and indicators in order to safeguard water quality;
Considering the need to create tools in order to evaluate the evolution of water quality in relation to levels that have been established for swimming in Brazilian waters and thereby create the necessary conditions for primary contact leisure activities;

Considering that the National Environment Policy, the National Water Resources Policy and the National Plan for Coastal Management (PNGC) recommend the adoption of systematic evaluation of the environmental quality of water, decides:

Art. 1 o The following definitions are adopted for all purposes of this Resolution:

a) fresh water: water with salt quantities that are equal to or under 0.5%;
b) brackish water: water with salt quantities between 5.50% and 30%;
c) salt water: water with salt quantities above 30%;
d) fecal coliforms (thermotolerant): bacteria belonging to the coliform group characterized by the presence of enzyme ß-galactosidase and by the capacity to ferment lactose and produce gases at temperatures of 44-45 Degrees Celsius in environments that contain biliary salts or other surface-active agents with similar inhibiting properties. They can be found is soils, plants or any effluent that contains organic matter apart from being present in human and animal feces;
e) Escherichia coli: bacteria belonging to the Enterobacteriaceae family characterized by the presence of ß-galactosidase and ß-glucuronidase. Breeds in complex environments at 44-45 degrees Celsius, ferments lactose and manitol and produces acid and gases and also produces indol through amino acid tryptophan. Escherichia coli is abundant in human and animal feces, natural water and soils that have recently been contaminated by feces;
f) Enterococci: bacteria belonging to the streptococci fecal group belonging to the Enterococcus genre (previously considered group B streptococci), characterized by high tolerance to adverse growth conditions such as: capacity to grow in the presence of 6.5% sodium Chloride, at pH 9,6 and at temperatures between 10 and 45 degrees Celsius. The majority of Enterococcus species are from human origin even if they also can be isolated in animal feces;
g) blooming: excessive proliferation of aquatic micro-organisms, mainly algae, predominated by one species and as the product of favorable environmental conditions and which can change the color of the water and/or form a thick layer on its surface;
h) isobaths: line that connects two points at equal depth;
i) primary contact leisure: when the human enters into direct contact with water bodies such as swimming, aquatic skiing and diving.

Art. 2 Fresh, brackish and salt waters that are used for bathing purposes (primary contact recreation) will be assessed as either proper or improper.

§ 1 Waters considered proper may be divided according to the following categories:

a) Excellent: when 80% or more of the taken samples obtained during the previous five weeks , collected at the same location, contain a maximum of 250 fecal coliforms (thermotolerant) or 200 Escherichia coli or 25 enterococci by l00 milliliters;
b) Very good: when 80% or more of the taken samples obtained during the previous five weeks , collected at the same location, contain a maximum of 500 fecal coliforms (thermotolerant) or 400 Escherichia coli or 50 enterococci per 100 milliliters;
c) Satisfactory: When 80% or more of the taken samples obtained during the previous five weeks, collected at the same location, contain a maximum of 1.000 fecal coliforms (thermotolerant) or 800 Escherichia coli or 100 enterococci by 100 milliliters.

§ 2 When more than one microbiological indicator is used the condition of waters will be assessed according to the most restrictive indicator.

§ 3 Standards related to enterococci are only applicable to sea waters.

§ 4 Waters will be considered improper when one of the following occurrences has been found in the assessed body:

a) non-compliance with the criteria established for proper water;
b) the rate obtained in the last sample is superior to 2500 fecal coliforms (thermotolerant) or 2000 Escherichia coli or 400 enterococci per 100 milliliters;
c) elevated or abnormal incidence of regional illnesses transmitted by water bodies according to sanitation authorities;
d) presence of wastes or dumping, solid or liquid, greases and other substances that are capable of becoming a health hazard or to make recreation an unpleasant activity;
e) pH < 6,0 or pH > 9,0 (fresh water), except in natural conditions;
f) blooming of algae or other organisms until it is proved that they do not pose any risks to human health;
g) other factors that contraindicate, temporarily or permanently, primary contact leisure activities;

§ 5 Beaches and bathing locations that are deemed systematically improper should be the object of pathogenic organism research.

Art. 3 Beach stretches and bathing locations will be interdicted if the environmental control organ, in any of its instances (municipal, state or federal) verifies the improper quality of primary contact leisure waters and presents duly justification for the measure.

§ 1 Stretches are considered 56 the object of interdiction when they have been the location of serious or medium accidents such as: oil spills and sewer spilling, contain toxic elements or present creamy formations caused by the blooming of algae or other organisms and, in relation to fresh waters, contain the presence of mollusks that are potential contaminators of schistosomiasis and other illnesses transmitted by water.

§ 2 The interdiction and its respective signalization caused by any of the motives mentioned in the heading and in § 1 of this article must be carried out by the competent environmental control organ.

Art. 4 When the deterioration of beach or resort quality is caused by the washing of public roads by rain water or in consequence of any other cause, these circumstances must be mentioned in the bulletin on beach and resort conditions as well as any other cause deemed as relevant by the environmental control organ.

Art. 5 The collection of samples should, preferentially, by done during days of great affluence of people to beaches and bathing locations and at the criteria of the competent environmental control organ.

Single paragraph. Samples must be taken from locations of one meter isobaths and with the largest concentration of bathing humans.

Art. 6 Sample results may comprise periods that are under five weeks as long as each of the periods has been specified and at least five samples have been collected and examined during that period and with a minimum interval of 24 hours between sample collections.

Art. 7 The sample methodology and sample analysis must be done according to the standards established and approved by the National Meteorology, Standardization and Industrial Quality Institute (INMETRO) or, in their absence according to Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater-APHA-AWWA-WPCF, latest edition.

Art. 8 Environmental organs are hereby recommended to undertake an assessment of parasitological and microbiological condition of sand in order to establish future standards.

Art. 9 It is the duty of environmental control organs to implement the provisions set by this Resolution and to release information regarding the water quality of beaches and bathing locations and to inspect the enforcement of pertinent legislation.

Art. 10. In the absence or omission of an environmental control organ its duties will be passed on to the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources with will act as a substitute.

Art. 11. Environmental control organs will keep IBAMA informed on the water quality of water bodies.

Art. 12. The Union, States, Federal District and Municipalities will interact with each other and with society in general in order to define and implement the provisions set by this Resolution.

Art. 13. The lack of compliance with the provisions set by this Resolution will subject offenders to sanction foreseen by Laws 6.938 from Aug. 31, 1981; 9.605 from Feb. 12, 1998 and by Decree 3.179 from Sept. 21, 1999.

Art. 14. This Resolution shall enter into effect on the date of its publication.

Art. 15. Articles 26 to 34 of CONAMA Resolution 20 from June 18, 1986 are hereby revoked.

JOSÉ SARNEY FILHO – Conama President
JOSÉ CARLOS CARVALHO – Executive Secretary

NOTE: Re-published due to errors (original version published in Official Gazette 5 from Jan. 8, 2001, page 23).

This text does not substitute the text published in the Official Gazette on Jan. 25, 2001.