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Watershed Monitoring     Central District Highlights

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Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)



What is a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)?

In the past water bodies were protected by technology based effluent limitations and other pollution control requirements that were thought to be sufficient to meet or maintain water quality standards. It has become evident that the source of water pollution is a complicated issue. Every water body is impacted differently by both point and non-point sources. In order to address the specific impairment of a water body, a TMDL is established. TMDLs are the maximum amount of a specific pollutant that can be assimilated by a water body without degrading the quality of the water such that it does not meet current water quality standards.


What does impaired mean?

"Impaired water" refers to a water body or water body segment that does not meet its applicable water quality standards as set forth in Chapters 62-302 and 62-4, F.A.C, due in whole or in part to discharges of pollutants from point or nonpoint sources.


What is the 303(d) List?

The 303(d) List is required by Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act (CWA). Each state must develop a list of waters that do not meet water quality standards or do not support their designated uses.


How is the 303(d) List related to TMDLs?

The Clean Water Act and the Watershed Restoration Act of 1999, section 403.067, Florida Statutes, require that TMDLs are established for the impaired water bodies listed on the 303(d) List.


How are TMDLs established?

TMDLs are established through a tiered watershed monitoring approach.  Based on water quality sample results along with biological assessments the TMDLs are calculated by the TMDL Development Section,  DEP Tallahassee office.


What happens after TMDLs are established?

Once TMDLs have been established for a water body, the Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) development begins. BMAP development is designed to implement practices that will reduce pollutant loads into a water body. Wherever possible, the BMAP process uses scientifically based determinations of pollutant load allocations that government agencies, businesses, organizations, and individuals will be responsible for reducing. Determinations of load allocations vary by water body depending on available data, groundwater contributions, etc. The BMAP represents a set of strategies that these entities will use to reduce their pollutant contributions. 


Who will be affected by TMDLs and how?

Government agencies, businesses, organizations, and individuals who contribute to the pollution in a water body will be asked to participate in the pollutant reduction process. Some examples of practices these entities will be responsible for are reducing discharges from permitted facilities, implementing Best Management Practices, public education, and restoration projects.


Can I get involved with the TMDL decision making process?

All revisions to the F.A.C., Chapter 62.304, Total Maximum Daily Load, and subsequent BMAPs are open to the public for comments before they are finalized. The schedule of upcoming public meetings related to rule revisions, can be found on the Surface Water Draft Rules .

More information on how to get involved with the TMDL process, is on our Get Involved page.


Additional information



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Contact List- Watershed Management and Monitoring


Central District Office

Watershed Management and Monitoring Section

3319 Maguire Blvd, Suite 232

Orlando, Florida 32803-3767

phone: 407-897-4100

fax: 850 412-0472


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Central District Watershed Management & Monitoring Site Map

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Watershed Management Monitoring information from the Division of Water



Last updated: May 21, 2012

  Contact DEP's Central District at: DEP_CD@dep.state.fl.us 
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