EPA provided another piece of the TMDL puzzle on Aug. 3, 2001, when it released a report estimating costs of implementing the program to range from $900 million to $4.3 billion per year. The program, required by the 1977 Clean Water Act, requires states to set "total maximum daily loads" for pollution going into waterways too dirty for designated uses like fishing or swimming.
Most of the cost would be borne by polluters, according to EPA. The report estimates that states will need to spend $17 million per year to support the program, and $52,000 per waterway to make specific plans for each of the 20,000 waterways now considered impaired. EPA's report follows a June 19, 2001 report from the Natl. Academy of Sciences (TIPSHEET, June 13, 2001) recommending changes, as well as EPA Administrator Christie Whitman's July 16, 2001, action halting implementation of changes to the TMDL rule and convening a stakeholder group to revisit the changes. See TIPSHEET, July 18, 2001.
- The new EPA report: this site also features a clickable map with watershed-specific information about TMDLs, and links to USGS and state data. Deadline for comments on the report: December 7, 2001. EPA Press: Robin Woods, 202-564-7841.