A Comparative Study of the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Program and Process in Virginia and Kansas: Possible Outcomes and Effects upon Stakeholders

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Virginia Tech


As population increases, the number of water bodies meeting water quality standards tends to decrease. The 1972 Clean Water Act (CWA) addresses the issues of point and nonpoint source pollution by requiring states to compose lists of waters that do not meet water quality standards and develop Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) for those waters. This requirement of the CWA remained inactive until EPA and states suffered lawsuits from environmental groups and concerned citizens. The result prompted a flurry to develop TMDLs in compliance with consent decrees.

A variety of methods and models serve as tools to calculate existing loads, load reductions and allocations. The purpose of this study is threefold 1) to examine two methods of TMDL development, Flow Duration (FD) used in Kansas and Hydrologic Simulation Program-Fortran (HSPF) used in Virginia; 2) to compare results of both methods in the same watershed of Virginia; and, 3) to evaluate stakeholder involvement in the TMDL process. A variety of stakeholders such as agencies, towns and industry, agribusiness, and concerned citizen/environmentalists are faced with meeting TMDL reductions and allocations. It is important that the TMDL process and implications are understood by all stakeholders.



Total Maximum Daily Load, public participation, Water quality