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Since 2002, the department has awarded more than $117 million in TMDL grants, including $3.
The TMDL is the amount of pollutants from all sources that impaired water bodies can assimilate without violating water quality standards.
The American Farm Bureau Federation and other agricultural industry groups are challenging the legality of TMDL program.
The TMDL sets a watershed-wide annual limit on the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment that can be discharged.
All the affected municipalities, as well as OARS, participated on the Technical Advisory Committee for the TMDL study and are well aware that the 2005 limits were specified as "interim," pending a study of sediment and dam removal (now complete).
The Commonwealth of Virginia has decided to explore development of a TDS water quality standard because the TMDL studies have demonstrated that TDS is a significant pollutant in some geographic areas of the state.
In the December 27, 2002, Federal Register, EPA proposed to withdraw the July 2000 TMDL final rule because it was determined to be "unworkable.
26) Until EPA's recent regulatory initiatives, the TMDL process did not have a major impact on state water quality decisions.