A New Approach to Adaptive Implementation in the TMDL Program

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An expert panel was convened to explore the use of adaptive implementation in the TMDL program, following a 2001 National Research Council report recommendation. This paper summarizes the panel's report suggesting an adaptive implementation process for water quality management. In current practice, what the panel calls standard implementation, a plan for reducing pollutant loads to meet water quality standards, is established when a TMDL is completed, and that TMDL and plan are not intentionally revisited. Adaptive implementation (AI) by contrast means that the TMDL and the implementation plan are continually updated and revised based on an intentional and well-resourced process to secure new information to reduce technical uncertainties. This paper identifies situations warranting an adaptive implementation approach, describes in concept adaptive implementation, and identifies key regulatory and technical challenges.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/193317708X281406

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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  • Water Practice™ publishes peer-reviewed articles and reports focusing on applied water studies. Topics include monitoring, facility operations and maintenance, management, policy, and other issues of interest and concern to water practitioners. The Journal publishes on a monthly to bi-monthly basis and is available online only.
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