Total Maximum Daily Load Program: Communities Working Together to Improve Water Quality
The Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program brings communities together to take care of our streams, lakes, and bays. Working with stakeholders in watersheds where pollution is limiting the full beneficial use of surface waters, the TMDL program develops targets for reducing pollution and helps communities build plans to improve their waterways.
A TMDL is a scientifically-derived target that tells us the greatest amount of a particular substance that we can add to a waterway and still keep it healthy. These substances are not necessarily harmful in and of themselves. For example, phosporus is an essential nutrient, but too much phosphorus can lead to an overgrowth of algae, which in turn can make the water taste bad and reduce the amount of oxygen available to fish and other creatures that live in the water.
Another example is bacteria, which occur naturally in both human and animal waste. But too much bacteria can make it more hazardous to swim in a creek, lake, or bay—activities called “contact recreation” in the state’s standards for water quality.
The TMDL gives us an measurable way to target our efforts to protect and improve the quality of our streams, lakes, and bays.
About TMDLs, I-Plans, and water quality
For More Information
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