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Bacteria TMDL Issues-A View From Both Sides Of The Aisle

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Watershed ManWatershed Management to Meet Water Quality Standards and TMDLS (Total Maximum Daily Load) Proceedings of the 10-14 March 2007, San Antonio, Texas  701P0207.(doi:10.13031/2013.22466)
Authors:   Paul A Jensen, Yu-Chun Su, Ka Leung Lee,
Keywords:   Wet weather, water quality criteria, indicator bacteria, contact recreation, TMDL

Failure to support the contact recreation (swimming) use due to elevated bacteria levels is a frequent cause of 303(d) listing. A substantial number of these listings are of smaller streams with limited ability to support the swimming use regardless of the levels of bacteria in the streams. Part of the reason for these inappropriate listings is that the criteria were originally developed to protect full-body swimming at designated beach areas in good weather, but they are being applied to smaller streams that frequently cannot support the swimming use because of insufficient water depth, dangerous water velocities, or turbulence from runoff events. The authors have experience in both developing bacteria TMDLs and in reviewing potential impacts of the TMDLs. The paper summarizes the issue and presents alternative methods of reducing inappropriate listings and avoiding unnecessary TMDL studies.

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