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TMDL/Watershed Liaison 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 Intergrated Section 305(b) Water Quality Report and Section 303(d) List of Waters Needing TMDLs
 2) TMDL DevelopmentLink to Integrated Reports

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 integrated report.

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 area.

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.