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Watershed-Based NPDES Permits as a Tool for TMDL Implementation

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Currently, EPA is developing a Watershed-based Permit Framework to further the objectives of the 1994 NPDES Watershed Strategy and produce a plan to promote watershed-based NPDES permits. EPA believes that aggressive promotion of watershed-based permits can:



Lead to better watershed based decisions;


Emphasize measurable improvements in water quality;


Provide greater opportunities for trading and other market based approaches;


Reduce the cost of improving the quality of the nation=s waters;


Foster more effective implementation of watershed plans, including TMDLs; and


Realize other ancillary benefits beyond those that have been achieved under the Clean Water Act (CWA).


The framework will address the need to provide greater incentives and mechanisms necessary to foster comprehensive assessment of watershed goals and current status, promotion of an agreed-upon watershed monitoring strategy, and participation and buy in by all major watershed stakeholders.

It is anticipated that future TMDLs will be developed on a watershed basis; and watershed-based NPDES permits will be an important implementation tool. The process for developing and implementing watershed-based permits will also provide data that will help inform the TMDL process.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2002

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