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What are TMDLs? and What Might They Mean to MS4 Permittees?

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Presentation on theme: "What are TMDLs? and What Might They Mean to MS4 Permittees?"— Presentation transcript:

1 What are TMDLs? and What Might They Mean to MS4 Permittees?
Larry Koenig, P.E. Total Maximum Daily Load Program Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

2 Texas TMDL Program Texas is required under the federal Clean Water Act to list impaired waters and to take action to restore them. A surface water body is considered impaired if it does not meet the criteria for support of one or more of its beneficial uses, as defined in the Texas Surface Water Quality Standards. Impaired waters are identified every two years on the Texas Water Quality Inventory and 303(d) List. Two part process is used for restoration: 1) establish a total maximum daily load, and 2) develop an implementation plan.

3 How Are Waters Assessed?
Waters are assessed against uses defined in the Texas Surface Water Quality Standards Numeric and narrative criteria are evaluated Four general categories of use are defined: Aquatic life use Contact recreation Public Water Supply Fish Consumption/Oyster Waters

4 How Are the Results Reported?
The results of the assessment are reported in the Water Quality Inventory and 303(d) List Report includes: Assessment of surface waters to determine if they meet standards [CWA §305(b) report] Identification of those waters that do not meet standards [CWA §303(d) List] New assessments occur every 2 years (even-numbered years). EPA approval may lag behind list compilation, so latest list is not always the current list for regulatory purposes.

5 Restoring Impaired Waters
Appropriate scientific methods are used to evaluate the water body. A separate load allocation must be prepared for each pollutant affecting each water body. One project may develop many TMDLs for a single water body. Projects may also address similar impairments in multiple water bodies. Not all projects result in TMDLs; some analyze use attainability, some determine extent of impairment to determine if a TMDL is needed.

6 Key Elements of the Program
TMDL – Total Maximum Daily Load Determines the maximum amount (load) of a pollutant that a water body can receive and still maintain uses, and allocates this load to sources in the watershed. Implementation Plan A detailed description of the regulatory and voluntary management measures necessary to achieve the pollutant reductions identified in a TMDL. Allocating the effort to reduce loading is often of most concern to stakeholders. That is addressed implicitly during the TMDL phase and explicitly during the Implementation Plan phase.

7 What Is a TMDL? A TMDL is a scientific analysis (often based on a computer simulation model) that: determines the maximum amount (or load) of a particular pollutant that a water body can receive and attain and maintain its standards “allocates” this allowable load to point and nonpoint sources of pollution in the watershed TMDL = WLA + LA + MOS A TMDL is also a document submitted to the EPA. It identifies the pollutant of concern and its sources, and allocates the allowable load. What do “maximum” and “daily” mean? One court decision recently said “daily means daily”, but application to stormwater seems to require a longer perspective because of flow variability. In many situations, maximum allowable depends on temporal flow conditions, and is related to time scale. There may be changes to regulations to address court decision. Who or what receives “allocations” ? May be areas (subwatersheds); land uses; specific regulated sectors; etc. Where is loading described or allocated? May be on land at source (produced load); or when first reaches water body (gross load); or at defined stream monitoring point (net load). Each is case specific, depends on how analyses and modeling were done. Important but difficult details – pay attention!

8 TMDL Development Process
Public Comment TCEQ Approval EPA Approval 303(d) List Category 5a Initiate TMDL Projects for Impaired Waters TMDL Allocation Report Develop Implementation Plan Stakeholders Implement The Plan Best to participate as stakeholder during development, rather than waiting to comment on proposals. More time available to think and comment, more chance to influence course of action. Stakeholder involvement

9 Two Kinds of Restoration Plans
TMDL Implementation Plans (IPs) Watershed Restoration Plans (WRPs) Both have the same goal — improving water quality in rivers, lakes, or bays. IPs are remedial actions for impaired waters; WRPs may be either remedial or preventive. IPs are based on total maximum daily loads; WRPs use other measurable goals for water quality. (Sometimes WRPs are called Watershed Protection Plans or WPPs.) Both: - define actions needed to reduce pollution and restore water quality; - include regulatory and voluntary actions; - are developed in cooperation with regional and local stakeholders; - are based on sound scientific methods and tools. When to use which is still to be determined.

10 Implementing TMDLs Implementation plans (IPs) are collaborative and involve a wide variety of stakeholders. Citizens, watershed interest groups State, local, and federal agencies Regulated organizations Control actions for point source discharges; management measures for nonpoint source discharges Often, plans are phased in based on progress in achieving water quality improvement. Water quality improvement may take years. Follow-up monitoring is crucial. If you may need to reduce loading, you really should participate in IP development.

11 Is Stormwater Point Source (WLA) or Nonpoint Source (LA)?
It may be either or both, depending on point of view: For technical analyses and modeling, usually considered a nonpoint source. Legally, a point source if someone has a permit for it, a nonpoint source if there is no permit. For TMDLs, often included with nonpoint sources in load allocation, but implementation may include ‘control actions’ via permits that require ‘management measures’. Both permitted and unpermitted stormwater must be included in a TMDL.

12 Control Actions Point source TMDL allocations affect permits:
New, amended, or renewed permitted loads must be consistent with the TMDL allocation. TCEQ may initiate amendments to impose new limits, or may impose them with routine renewals or amendments. Permitted loading from existing facilities may be substantially reduced. New facilities may be required to meet more stringent effluent limits than expected.

13 Control Actions, Continued
Point source TMDL allocations affect permits: In some cases or areas, stormwater permits may receive new or more stringent limits consistent with TMDL allocations. Permittees may no longer be eligible for general permits. Additional monitoring and reporting requirements may be needed. Permittees may have the opportunity to negotiate effluent trading agreements in order to meet net load limit for watershed. Blue lines most pertinent to MS4 permittees now or soon. Trading could be possible in future.

14 Management Measures Nonpoint source TMDL allocations may result in implementation of best management practices (BMPs): Management of runoff Detention basins, filter strips, infiltration basins, porous pavement, retention ponds, swales Management of operations to decrease or eliminate pollutants in runoff Spill prevention and control, source controls, education Managing nonpoint sources is an iterative process.

15 Types of TMDL Pollutants or Stressors
Bacteria Nutrients Oxygen Demand Total Dissolved Solids, Chloride, Sulfate Organic or Metal Toxics and someday, maybe  Sediment  Aquatic Habitat Quality ? Flow Regime ? Sediment attached pollutants may be most effectively addressed by MS4 permittees.

16 Some things MS4s may do differently or in addition because of TMDLs
Monitoring Search for pollutant sources Manage loading Public education Support or encourage Low Impact Development Blue items are major tasks. Other items fit within as subtasks or purposes.

17 Additional Monitoring
New parameters More sites More frequently or different schedule Purposes: Characterize loading (initially) – quantity, timing, spatial distribution Locate specific sources Track reductions and BMP effectiveness (later)

18 Managing Stormwater Loading
Select effective BMPs appropriate for pollutants and site factors Are pollutants dissolved or particulate? Can detention basins, conveyance facilities, etc. be retrofitted, rebuilt, or designed differently in the future? Can dry-weather flows be disinfected? Street or parking lot sweeping? Public education? Low Impact Development? Work with sanitary sewer entities to correct storm runoff surcharges/emissions? Effectiveness of stormwater BMPs is not well defined. Relatively few studies, highly variable results. Site-specific factors very much influence BMP functionality.

19 For More Information On TMDLs
TCEQ TMDL Program Website: Larry Koenig (512)

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