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Notice of Solicitation of Public Comment - Draft Revised TMDL for Organics and Metals in the Anacostia River Watershed

Friday, September 8, 2023

Notice of Solicitation of Public Comment - Draft Revised Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) for Organics and Metals in the Anacostia River Watershed

The Acting Director of the Department of DOEE is submitting the draft revised Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for organics and metals in the Anacostia River Watershed for a second public review and comment.


The Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for organics and metals in the Anacostia River Watershed (i.e., Anacostia River, Fort Chaplin Tributary, Fort Davis Tributary, Fort Dupont Creek, Fort Stanton Tributary, Hickey Run, Nash Run, Popes Branch, Texas Avenue Tributary, and Watts Branch) were first approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2003. The TMDLs for organics and metals in Kingman Lake were also approved in 2003.

On January 15, 2009, the Anacostia Riverkeeper, Friends of the Earth, and Potomac Riverkeeper filed a complaint (Case No.: 1:09-cv-00098-JDB) that certain District TMDLs did not include a daily load expression as required by Friends of the Earth v. the Environmental Protection Agency, 446 F3d 740, 744 (D.C. Cir. 2006). The District Court ultimately vacated the TMDLs, including the TMDLs for organics and metals in the Anacostia Watershed, but delayed vacatur to allow the District and the EPA sufficient time to establish and approve replacement TMDLs. The stay of vacatur remains through April 1, 2024.

TMDL Revisions and Public Comments

The District, with support from the EPA, revised the organics and metal TMDLs to include daily load expressions and made them available for public review and comment on July 9, 2021. In addition, DOEE held a public meeting on July 22, 2021.

The Department considered all comments received during that public review and comment period. To address certain public comments received, the TMDLs were revised again to include an analysis of the impacts of climate change and to disaggregate certain pollutant source categories being assigned load allocations. These revisions include a new section on climate change and updates to the TMDLs and Allocations section in the TMDLs document. The revisions also provide organics and metals daily loading expressions that attain the applicable water quality criteria in the District's water quality standards. To address all public comments received, a draft Response to Comments document is being developed. The Department appreciates all public comments that helped improve these TMDLs.

Responses to all comments received from both the first round of public comment and this second round of public comment will be provided in a single Response to Comments document that will be made available online when the TMDLs are submitted to the EPA for approval. Therefore, comments submitted during the first round of public comment do not need to be submitted again during this second round of public comment. For this public review and comment period, the Department suggests the public focus on reviewing and commenting on the substantially revised sections (e.g., modeling, climate change, allocations, and reasonable assurance) of the TMDLs document rather than the introductory and background information because these remain similar. 

The revised TMDLs, if approved by the EPA, will supersede the TMDLs adopted in 2003.

Public Comment Period

The 30-day public comment period will begin when this notice is published in the DC Register. During that period, a person may obtain a copy of the draft revised TMDLs by any of the following means:

  • Download from the attachments section below.
  • Email a request to George Onyullo at [email protected] with “Request copy of TMDLs for Organics and Metals” in the subject line.
  • Telephone DOEE’s Water Quality Division at 202-535-2600 to request a copy.

Person(s) may submit written comment(s) by email with a subject line of "Comments on TMDLs for Organics and Metals,” to George E. Onyullo at [email protected]. All comments received during the comment period will be considered and the draft document may be revised accordingly prior to its submittal to EPA for approval.

All comments will be treated as public documents and may be made available for public viewing in the attachments section below. If a comment is sent by email, the email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public record and made available.