Impaired Waters and TMDLs

Effectively Implementing TMDLs

The completion and Agency approval of a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) is one step in the water regulatory or restoration process. While the TMDL calculates numeric targets for attainment of water quality standards, a plan and subsequent actions are key to meeting these targets. TMDL implementation plans are not required by the CWA, but are often submitted as part of the TMDL report. In many states, TMDL implementation plans are part of a larger, more comprehensive watershed planning efforts.

In an overall management plan, distinct objectives are identified to determine which practices to use in critical areas to achieve needed reductions. Throughout the planning and implementing process the objectives may be refined and adjusted to meet specific needs. TMDL implementation plans can also invoke a wide array of monitoring, tracking and logistical measures. A comprehensive TMDL implementation plan outlines management goals, projects, partners, priorities, schedule and finding along with tracking, monitoring and reevaluation processes.

The following documents were developed by EPA Region 10 and may or may not be applicable to all states.

Other Resources