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Impaired Waters and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) Resources Website

Website to help with stormwater runoff and TMDL water pollution management

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TMDL, is the maximum amount of a pollutant a waterbody can handle

EPA recently released a new "Impaired Waters and Total Maximum Daily Loads" (TMDLs) homepage at www.epa.gov/owow/tmdl.

A Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still safely meet water quality standards. Under section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, states, territories, and authorized tribes are required to develop lists of impaired waters. These are waters that are too polluted or otherwise degraded to meet the water quality standards set by states, territories, or authorized tribes.

The website includes a map and national summary of impaired waters; laws and regulations; technical resources and example TMDLs.

The new Web page features an overview of the Clean Water Act section 303(d) program activities, highlights new resources, and provides easier access to program resources, such as EPA's new Water Quality Assessment and TMDL Information (ATTAINS) Web site.

The Web site revamping was prompted by the desire to improve navigation for a variety of audiences and to distinguish two key activities, e.g., 303(d) listing of impaired waters and development of TMDLs.

The site also features a new "TMDL Stormwater Resources" page that hosts several stormwater-source TMDLs and case studies highlighting the innovative approaches states are using to address stormwater (see www.epa.gov/owow/tmdl/stormwater).

The most common pollutants coming from stormwater sources include sediment, pathogens, nutrients, and metals. These impaired waters need a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), which identifies the total pollutant loading that a waterbody can receive and still meet water quality standards, and specifies a pollutant allocation to specific point and nonpoint sources.

Additional pages that are coming soon include

  • "TMDLs at Work" page, which will highlight successful restoration efforts where TMDL/303(d) activities were an important part of the process
  • "TMDL Mercury Air Deposition" page that will host a variety of resources and examples for developing TMDLs for waters impaired by mercury.



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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