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Developing Effective TMDLs: An Evaluation of the TMDL Process

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As part of a larger suite of efforts underway to examine and strengthen the link between TMDLs and water quality restoration, EPA conducted an evaluation of non-point and stormwater source TMDLs. The Clean Water Act provides little regulatory authority over non-point sources of pollution, yet this type of pollution is ubiquitous and reductions in non-point source pollution are necessary for achieving water quality goals. This evaluation looked at whether various characteristics of data availability, funding resources, guidance materials, stakeholder involvement, scale of TMDLs, and implementation planning positively influence development of effective TMDLs. The methodology included a survey of TMDL program staff, a broader survey of staff from programs that implement TMDLs, and interviews with stakeholders in seven case study TMDLs. This expansive look at the TMDL development process yielded an array of recommendations including: improving data needed for setting specific non-point source allocations, brokering other federal funds, improving communications with stakeholders, developing watershed TMDLs, encouraging detailed TMDLs that can be used for implementation planning, and conducting outreach to agricultural and local government organizations. The conclusions from this evaluation can improve how EPA and states focus their resources to encourage implementation of non-point and stormwater source TMDLs.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-10-01

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