Element 3 - Permit Review in 303(d) Waters

During the development of a TMDL, staff review all state operating permits that are within the watershed of the water body being addressed to allocate the appropriate loads. TMDL staff also meet with permit writers and review all draft permits for facilities whose discharge must satisfy the requirements of the TMDL that has already been written.

A 303(d) reopener clause exists in all permits for dischargers upstream of or within an impaired segment. Where a TMDL is completed without any pending permit application, all permits in that watershed are reviewed to make sure they are consistent with the TMDL. These actions may be accomplished by proposing all modifications needed within a given watershed simultaneously. Modifications to the permits can be made as they normally expire. If facility upgrades or new construction is required to meet more restrictive permit limits, compliance schedules will be developed to assist the facility in meeting those limits.

Effluent Limitation Requirements
Development of water quality based effluent limits for point sources must be consistent with the requirements of the waste load allocation in the TMDL for the particular pollutant. TMDLs are to be established at levels necessary to attain and maintain applicable water quality criteria. This evaluation requires a certain minimum level of information to ensure the allocation is both reasonable and protective of water quality standards within the acceptable level of uncertainty. EPA publishes numerous guidance documents to assist in the writing of TMDLs (https://www.epa.gov/tmdl).

EPA Region 7 works closely with department staff during TMDL development. A TMDL is considered final upon EPA approval.