Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDLs) Program
The TMDL/Watershed Liaison Program was created to develop TMDLs and make support easier to access for
groups interested in sponsoring TMDLs and those currently involved with a watershed project.
There are two basic and intertwined parts to the TMDL/Watershed program:
1) The Integrated Section 305(b)
Water Quality Report and Section 303(d) List of Waters Needing TMDLs
2) TMDL Report Development
The Integrated Report
The Clean Water Act (CWA) contains several sections which require states to report on the quality of their waters. Section 305(b) (State Water Quality Assessment Report) requires a comprehensive biennial report, and Section 303(d) requires a list of a state's water quality-limited waters needing total maximum daily loads
(TMDLs) by April 1 of every even-numbered year. EPA suggests that states combine these two reports into one
What is a TMDL?
Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) is the amount of a particular pollutant that a particular stream, lake,
estuary or other waterbody can "handle" without violating state water quality standards. Of course, this is
a greatly simplified explanation!
So what's the big deal?
Once a TMDL is established, responsibility for reducing pollution among both point sources (pipes) and
diffuse sources is assigned. Diffuse sources include, but are not limited to, run-off (urban, agricultural,
forestry, etc.), leaking underground storage tanks, unconfined aquifers, septic systems, stream channel
alteration and damage to a riparian areas.
Who's responsible for writing TMDLs?
Ultimately, the state of North Dakota. However, according to the Clean Water Act, EPA is responsible ... if
the states forgo their responsibility