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Implementation of Clean Water Act programs to assess waters for impairment and develop cleanup plans (TMDLs) pose substantial administrative, technical, financial, and legal challenges for federal, state, and local agencies as well as stakeholders. Recognizing these challenges, an Interagency Team, comprised of stormwater professionals from local municipalities and WSDOT, formed in 2012 to discuss approaches and recommend improvements to Water Quality Assessment (WQA) and TMDL programs in Washington State.

Steve Britsch, Snohomish County
[email protected]

Elsa Pond, WSDOT
[email protected]

Water Quality Assessment and Total Maximum Daily Load Programs.

Beginning in 2013, the Team compared the WQA and TMDL programs in Washington State to five other states in order to identify potential improvements. The objectives of the project were to:

  1. Learn alternative approaches for CWA programs from other states,
  2. Utilize the research to develop recommendations for improving Washington State’s WQA, listing/de-listing, and TMDL procedures, and
  3. Work with EPA and Ecology to refine and implement recommended improvements.

A report, titled Recommendations for Improving Water Quality Assessment and Total Maximum Daily Load Programs in Washington State, was finalized in July 2014.  It summarizes methods used to “compare and contrast” Washington’s WQA and TMDL programs with five other states and highlights key findings and recommendations.

The report has served as a starting point for discussions with Ecology and EPA regarding improvements in the state’s WQA and TMDL programs.  The Team plans to continue discussions and effort toward program improvement.