ALEC offers model TMDL legislation for states

Published July 1, 2000

The Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program has been part of the Clean Water Act since 1972. It directs states to take measures to improve the quality of water bodies that do not meet water quality standards. In 1985, EPA first adopted regulations providing states guidance on implementing the TMDL program, and states have been implementing the program since that time.

In August 1999, EPA proposed two rules that would significantly increase the emphasis on, and expand the scope of, the TMDL program. Those rules would dramatically expand states’ responsibilities under the program. If these rules are finalized in the form proposed, they will have a significant financial and human resource impact on states and on entities (some previously unregulated) that are determined to be contributing to water quality impairment in some fashion.

The purpose of this model ALEC legislation is to outline an approach for efficiently and effectively addressing state obligations under the TMDL program by focusing limited resources on those waters where more active management will result in the most significant and cost-effective improvements in water quality. The model legislation also requires the use of sound science in making regulatory decisions. Portions of the model legislation are based on TMDL legislation recently adopted by a few states (including Florida, Montana, and Idaho).

EPA has proposed that states submit lists of impaired waters for approval by October 2000.

For a copy of this model legislation, point your Web browser to