Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) for Pathogens
North Coastal Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) for Pathogens has been in effect since 2012, but not too many people know about it. SSCW with the MassBays program held an informational workshop in January 2015. Thank you to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and EPA TMDL staff who made presentations, which are available below.
The Pathogen TMDL ("total maximum daily load") is a regulatory tool to protect public health and restore critical water uses from bacterial pollution. This TMDL establishes the maximum amount of bacteria that can be discharged to a waterbody from both point and non-point sources with the goal of improving water quality for a water body on the list of impaired waters (303d list) based on its desired use.
The integrated list of impaired water bodies is updated every 2 years. Currently, the 2014 list is in draft form and will be available soon. In the 2014 list, the north shore will be moved to category 4a, i.e. impaired waters with a TMDL. Segment that have other problems such as solids, nutrients, DO will remain at category 5, which will include Salem Harbor and the North River.
Under this TMDL, municipalities are responsible for improving water quality. Thus, it is in a municipality's best interest to establish stormwater bylaws and have regulations in place to control discharge of pollutants from new development of private property. Otherwise, the burden becomes the town/city to “clean up” rather than the developer.
Understanding and Implementing the Pathogen Plan (TMDL) for the North Coastal Basin 1.5MB-Christine Duerring, MassDEP TMDL Section Chief
Stormwater Permitting and Implementation of Best Management Practices 1.3MB - Andrea Traviglia, EPA, Massachusetts TMDL and 303d Coordinator
Local Case Studies for the Reduction of Bacteria 2.1MB - Barbara Warren, MassBays Lower North Shore Regional Coordinator & Salem Sound Coastwatch Executive Director
Salem Sound is not the only area that has this problem, but SSCW is working with its watershed cities and towns to improve water on the lower north shore.