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The process of addressing impaired waters in California is conducted by the State Water Resources Control Board and Regional Water Quality Control Boards through actions that are consistent with both national regulations and guidance as well as state technical, regulatory, and legislative requirements. The State of California has developed a comprehensive guidance document to facilitate the process of addressing the complex programmatic and technical needs of managing impaired waters. This guidance takes a broad view and considers how to address all impaired waters irrespective of the regulatory action required. This guidance was also designed to facilitate a greater understanding of expectations of the TMDL process, which will result in improved coordination, consistency, and information exchange among state agencies and the public.

California's process for responding to an impairment listing recognizes a series of project phases. The phases range from defining and planning the project to data collection and analyses to regulatory action and implementation. The guidance document provides a description of these phases along with decision-making tools and examples needed to identify actions that will lead to improvement of waterbody conditions and ultimate removal of the impaired water designation. The iterative decision process presented in this document provides opportunity at each phase to consider the most appropriate response to the impairment listing, such as review and revision of applicable water quality standards, establishing a TMDL, or other regulatory action. This guidance also reaffirms that most if not all of the process for addressing waters that do not meet applicable standards can be accomplished through existing regulatory tools and mechanisms.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2003

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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