GAO Report Cites Need for TMDL Revisions to Improve Water Quality

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report of findings from its study to examine the EPA’s Clean Water Act Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program that is intended to help the nation meet the designated uses and water quality standards established for U.S. water bodies.  The study specifically looked at EPA and state responsibilities in developing and implementing TMDLs, knowledge about established TMDLs, key features needed to achieve water quality standards, and the ability to facilitate implementation.  GAO also asked water resource experts to review a random sample of 25 long-established TMDLs and surveyed state officials to develop its recommendations for Congress and EPA.

GAO’s recommendations included that EPA should issue new regulations for TMDL development, adding key features. Further, Congress should consider revising the Clean Water Act’s approach to addressing nonpoint source pollution. In response, EPA has agreed with the need to add key features to TMDLs but did not agree to issue new regulations.

For more information, visit the GAO web site.