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Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Documents

DDOE’s Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, program focuses on identifying and restoring polluted rivers, streams and other surface water bodies. TMDLs are prepared for waters identified as impaired on the 303(d) list in the District’s Integrated Report which lists the water bodies and pollutant pair with the current impairment status.

A TMDL is a written, quantitative assessment of water quality problems in a water body and contributing sources of pollution. TMDL specifies the maximum amount of pollutant a water body can receive and still meet water quality standards (WQS), and allocate pollutant load reductions. TMDLs are sometimes referred to as a pollution “diet” or “budget” for a water body.  A TMDL budget incorporates loads from point sources, non-point sources, natural background sources, and includes a margin of safety. 

The District has over 350 TMDLs for various water quality issues such as bacteria, organic toxics, metals, PCBs, nutrients, oil and grease, excess sediments, low oxygen, and trash. The District is within the Chesapeake Bay watershed and is an active partner working toward restoration of the Bay.  The District has also collaborated with regional partners to develop watershed-scale TMDLs for PCBs (2007), total suspended solids (2007), nutrients/biochemical oxygen demand (2008), and trash.  The chart below summarizes District TMDLs grouped by pollutant type.

District TMDLs by Pollutant Group
District TMDLs by Pollutant Group pie chart

  • Toxic organics (chlordane, DDE, DDD, DDT, Dieldrin, heptachlor epoxide, PAHs, Total PCBs) 58%
  • Trash 1%
  • Nutrients 4%
  • Bacteria 6%
  • Low oxygen 2%
  • Metals (arsenic, copper, lead, zinc) 16%
  • Oil and grease 1%
  • PCB 8%
  • Sediment 4%

Several of the District TMDLs were challenged in Friends of the Earth v. EPA 446 F.3d 140 (D.C. Cir. 2006) because the loads were not expressed in daily loads.  Following the case, a settlement agreement was reached between the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Anacostia Riverkeeper, Friends of the Earth, and Potomac Riverkeeper (Case No.: 1:09-cv-00098-JDB of January 15, 2009).  To meet the settlement requirements, EPA will revise the applicable TMDLs to express daily loads, with cooperation from the District. The tables below list TMDL studies for the District (Anacostia, Potomac, Rock Creek watersheds) and regional TMDLs in which the District is included.

TMDLs for the District's Water Bodies 

Anacostia Watershed

Bacteria (E. coli) TMDLs for the Anacostia River and Tributaries (2003, 2014)

Report includes: 

  • Anacostia River
  • Fort Stanton Tributary
  • Fort Davis Tributary
  • Fort Dupont Creek
  • Fort Chaplin Tributary
  • Hickey Run
  • Nash Run
  • Pope Branch
  • Texas Avenue Tributary
  • Watts Branch

Oil and Grease TMDL in Anacostia River (2003)

Bacteria (E. coli) TMDL for Kingman Lak (2003, 2014)

Organics and Metals TMDL in Kingman Lake (2003)

Oil and Grease TMDL in Kingman Lake (2003)

Total suspended solids (TSS) TMDL in Watts Branch(2003)


Potomac Watershed

Bacteria (E. coli) TMDLs for Potomac River and Tributaries (2004, 2014)

Report includes:

  • Potomac River
  • Battery Kemble Creek
  • Foundry Branch
  • Dalecarlia Tributary

Organics and Metals TMDLs in Battery Kemble Creek, Foundry Branch, and Dalecarlia Tributary (2004)

Bacteria (E. coli) TMDLs for Tidal Basin and Washington Ship Channel (2004, 2014)

Organics TMDLs for the Tidal Basin and Washington Ship Channel (2004)

Bacteria (E. coli) TMDLs for C & O Canal (2004, 2014)

Organics, Metals and Bacteria TMDLs for Oxon Run (2004, 2014)

pH TMDLs for the Washington Ship Channel (2004)

Rock Creek Watershed

Organics and Metals TMDLs for Rock Creek Tributaries (2004)

Report Includes:

  • Broad Branch
  • Dumbarton Oaks
  • Fenwick Branch
  • Klingle Valley Creek
  • Luzon Branch
  • Melvin Hazen
  • Valley Branch
  • Normanstone Creek
  • Pinehurst Branch
  • Piney Branch
  • Portal Branch
  • Soapstone Creek

Bacteria (E. coli) TMDLs for Rock Creek (2004, 2014)

Metals TMDLs for Rock Creek (2004)

Regional TMDLs

Chesapeake Bay TMDL (2010)

Report includes:

  • Anacostia River  watershed
  • Potomac River watershed
  • Rock Creek watershed


  • Total nitrogen (TN)
  • Total phosphorous (TP)
  • Total suspended solids (TSS)

Polychlorinated Buohebyls (PCBs) TMDLs for Tidal Portions of the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers (2007)


Sediment/TSS TMDLs for the Anacostia River Basin (2007)

Report includes:

  • Anacostia River
  • Watts Branch
  • Lower Beaverdam Creek

Nutrients/BOD for the Anacostia River Basin (2008)

Report includes:

  • Anacostia River
  • Watts Branch
  • Lower Beaverdam Creek


  • Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD)
  • Total nitrogen (TN)
  • Total phosphorous (TP)

Trash TMDLs for the Anacostia River Watershed (2010)

For more information, contact the Water Quality Division, Planning and Permitting Branch at (202) 671-3033.