Recent Judicial Decisions on TMDL Implementations: What Every Discharger Should Know

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The Clean Water Act requires that wastewater discharges achieve instream water quality objectives that are “necessary to protect public health and the environment.” See, Leather Industries of America v. EPA 40 F. 3d 392 (D.C. Cir 1994). Such water quality objectives may be expressed as either numeric or narrative standards. For TMDL purposes, the implementation of numeric standards should be rather straightforward as the precise level of acceptable water quality is known. Narrative criteria, however, provide no objective basis for determining compliance and are required to be converted into a numeric value for TMDL calculation purposes.

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