Virginia TMDL Study Looking at Back Bay, Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Back Bay Wtaershed SignVirginia Beach is learning firsthand that TMDLs extend beyond the Chesapeake Bay.  Local creeks and rivers like the tributaries flowing into Back Bay and the North Landing River have reaches that are impaired.  The source(s) of the impairment will be determined during the assessment process and TMDLs will be calculated for the pollutants of concern.  Such pollutants could include bacteria, total dissolved solids and sediment.  The TMDLs will identify the amounts of the pollutants that can be discharged to the effected water-bodies while allowing the creeks and rivers to return to unimpacted status.

Many other water bodies both within and outside the Chesapeake Bay watershed have had TMDLs assigned.  The Chesapeake Bay TMDL may be the one that is most often heard about and will likely be the most costly to implement, but local governments and industries across the Commonwealth, indeed across the country, are dealing with the effects of TMDLs on permitted discharge limits.

A recent Viginian-Pilot article details how the Commonwealth is studying the waters that flow into Back Bay. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is studying the sources of bacteria flowing into Back Bay from its tributaries as well as causes of low oxygen levels that affect the health of the bay. August 31st is the deadline for DEQ to complete the TMDL study. Read more about the current study at

Learn more about Virginia’s TMDL program at the Department of Environmental Quality’s TMDL web site: