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Applications of Microbial Source Tracking in the TMDL Process

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

Citation:  21st Century Watershed Technology: Improving Water Quality and Environment Conference Proceedings, 21-24 February 2010, Universidad EARTH, Costa Rica  701P0210cd.(doi:10.13031/2013.29403)
Authors:   Brian Benham, Leigh-Anne Krometis,Gene Yagow, Karen Kline, Theo Dillaha
Keywords:   TMDL microbial source tracking, pathogen, water quality, watershed management

The United States Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program was developed to address ambient water quality impairments. Approximately 14% of the impaired waterbodies in the United States are impaired due to violations of water quality standards for pathogens, the most common cause of water quality impairment. Pathogen TMDL development is frequently cited as a primary driver in the development of microbial source tracking (MST) techniques however, most published literature consists of descriptions of watershed-scale case studies with no attempt at a broader examination of the application of MST analyses to the TMDL process. As MST techniques continue to mature, it is prudent to identify those areas where further research is most likely to contribute to the efficient development and implementation of TMDLs. This paper reviews the phases of the TMDL process, describes current applications of MST within those phases, identifies research needed to increase MST use, and discusses opportunities for the expanded use of MST within the TMDL process. An expanded version of this paper has been submitted for publication as part of an upcoming book Microbial Source Tracking: Methods, Applications, and Case Studies.

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