What's a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)?

  • TMDL is federal jargon for a "water pollution budget" for a particular water quality standard.
  • A TMDL is developed when that waterbody does not meet a specific water quality standard.
  • Results tell how much of each pollutant all of the contributors in a watershed can contribute and still ensure the waterbody meets water quality standards for that pollutant.
  • Each TMDL is specific to the waterbody / watershed of interest and a particular water quality standard.
  • Each TMDL is developed though both technical and scientific study and public participation.