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Providing Better Public Access and Use of Point Source Wastewater Pollutant Discharge Information

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Historically, EPA has used discharge monitoring data submitted by facilities as required by the Clean Water Act (CWA) and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) for compliance determinations. More recently, EPA has estimated the mass of pollutants discharged (the pollutant load) to help characterize industrial discharges. Regions, states, and localities have requested the resulting pollutant load data from EPA. As a result, EPA created the “Discharge Monitoring Report (DMR) Pollutant Loading Tool,” which estimates the pollutant load for every permitted facility with available DMR data. The new web tool provides contextualized data for the general public and technical experts who can use these data for their regulatory and scientific work (e.g., development of TMDLs). The Loading Tool allows users to better estimate point source pollution on who discharges pollutants, what pollutants are discharged and how much, and the receiving waterbodies. This paper provides details on this tool and potential applications.
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Keywords: Clean Water Act; Data transparency; Discharge Monitoring Reports; NPDES; Point source pollution; Pollutant loadings; Public access; TMDL; Watershed modeling

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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