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The federal Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 303(d)(1)(A) requires each state to conduct a biennial assessment of its waters, and identify those waters that are not achieving water quality standards. The result of this assessment is called the 303(d) list. The CWA also requires states to establish a priority ranking for waters on the 303(d) list of impaired waters and to develop and implement Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for these waters. Over 30,000 segments of waterways have been listed as impaired by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has requested local communities to submit plans to reduce discharges by specified dates or have them developed by the EPA. An investigation of this process found that plans to reduce discharges were being developed based on a wide range of site investigation methods. The Department of Energy requested Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to develop appropriate tools to assist in improving the TMDL process. The EPA has shown support and encouragement of this effort.

Our investigation found that given the resources available to the interested and responsible parties, developing a quantitative stakeholder input process could improve the acceptability of TMDL plans. The first model that we have developed is a stakeholder allocation model (SAM). The SAM uses multiattribute utility theory to quantitatively structure the preferences of the major stakeholder groups, and develop both individual stakeholder group utility functions and an overall stakeholder utility function for a watershed. The test site we selected was the Dominquez Channel watershed in Los Angeles, California. The major stakeholder groups interviewed were (1) non- profit organizations, (2) industry, (3) government agencies and (4) the city government. The decision-maker that will recommend a final TMDL plan is the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (LARWQCB). The preliminary results have shown that stakeholders can have different preferences, especially in the areas of scheduling and cost of the implementation plan. The SAM model gives the decision maker the ability to see how the different TMDL plans rank in order of preference from the perspective of each stakeholder and also to evaluate tradeoffs in selecting a plan that maximizes overall utility. We have included a preliminary example comparing two TMDL plans based on the decision makers' preferences but, final decisions are not disclosed in this paper due to ongoing negotiations by the stakeholders.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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