© 2002-2005 Hart County Board of Commissioners 















The Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Program deals primarily with non-point source pollution pollution that doesn’t have a specific point of discharge. Non-point source
pollution comes from stormwater running off land and into streams – for example, runoff from agriculture, logging, lawns, roads, parking lots, and construction sites. A TMDL is the total amount of the pollutant that can be put into the waterway without making it exceed the state water quality standard. 

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) maintains a list of waterways that don’t comply with state water quality standards – the 303(d) list.  For each stream on the list, the state must define a TMDL for pollutants that exceed state water quality standards. Once a TMDL is set, a determination must be made as to how much of the TMDL can be contributed by each of the sources of the pollutant – including urban stormwater runoff, agriculture, and forestry activities.

How will this program affect local governments?

Whenever you apply for a new water withdrawal or wastewater discharge permit – or an expansion of an existing permit – you must submit a watershed protection plan to EPD. TMDL compliance must now be considered in that plan. 

How can you prepare for TMDLs? 

There are six key steps you can take now…

1.  Learn about the watersheds in your jurisdiction

    Watersheds are natural drainage areas, defined by ridges of land – like the edges of a bowl. Watersheds do not follow political boundaries.

2.  Check the quality of any stream monitoring programs in your area.

     EPD uses data from stream monitoring programs as the basis for developing the 303(d) list. If streams in your area are on the list, examine EPD’s data, decide whether you agree with it, and take steps to collect more data if needed. More representative data may indicate that your streams actually do meet water quality standards. If streams in your area are on the 303(d) list, EPD is likely to change your permit conditions, when permits are reissued, to include stricter controls. 

3.  Review your current land use plans and zoning regulations.

    You and your stakeholders need to understand how land uses affect water quality.  Also, make sure that erosion and sedimentation controls on new development are enforced.

4.   Plan for stormwater management

    Through careful land use planning and the use of best management practices, you can minimize the impacts of stormwater runoff on water quality. Stormwater runoff can be improved through methods like erosion control, and by establishing and protecting green spaces, park lands, and stream buffers. These methods can enhance quality of life – without extensive costs.

5.  Educate and involve the public

    For effective TMDL compliance, you must educate everyone in your community about water quality. Because we all contribute to the water pollution problem, we must all be involved in the solutions.

6.  Partner with other local governments in your watersheds

    It is critical to work with other communities as you discuss how to distribute TMDLs among the pollution sources in your waterways.