A Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) is a watershed cleanup plan required by the Clean Water Act and the State Water Control Law for all waters that do not meet water quality standards. These waters are polluted and called “impaired.” TMDLs determine the amount, or load, of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still meet water quality standards. TMDL alternatives are watershed cleanup plans typically developed when the cause of a water quality problem is clear and the analysis required to develop a TMDL is not necessary for restoration efforts.
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is implementing the national 303(d) Vision (https://www.epa.gov/tmdl/new-vision-implementing-cwa-section-303d-impaired-waters-program-responsibilities), which promotes the prioritization of impaired waters for TMDL or TMDL alternative development. DEQ is beginning the process of identifying types of water quality impairments and other strategic measures to develop a list of priority waters for TMDL or TMDL alternative development for the projected 2022-2028 cycle and would like to hear ideas from the public. To provide broad opportunities for public participation, DEQ is adding an initial public input process before developing a draft priorities list. During this initial public input process, DEQ seeks written or electronic input from interested persons on 1) impaired waters to prioritize for TMDL or TMDL alternative development (i.e., specific waterbodies) and 2) factors or other information DEQ should use to prioritize impaired waters for TMDL or TMDL alternative development.
The opportunity to provide input will extend from September 3, 2020, to October 5, 2020. Interested parties may request additional information or submit feedback to:
DEQ – Central Office
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
Telephone: (804) 698-4046
While DEQ will review and consider initial public feedback, this is not a formal public comment period and responses to comments will not be issued.
Finalizing the Priorities List
DEQ will draft a priorities list of impaired waters using this public input and other factors. The agency will then hold a public meeting to present and discuss the draft priorities list followed by a 30-day public comment period. DEQ will finalize the next cycle’s list of waters prioritized for TMDL and TMDL alternative development, and submit it to EPA once all substantive comments are addressed. The final list will be published in DEQ’s 2022 biennial Integrated Report (https://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterQualityInformationTMDLs/WaterQualityAssessments.aspx).
For more information on watershed cleanup plans, please visit the DEQ website at: https://www.deq.virginia.gov/programs/water/waterqualityinformationtmdls/tmdl.aspx.