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Maryland State Government Maryland Department of the Environment

Baltimore Harbor Watershed in Baltimore City and Baltimore County, Maryland

Notice of Intent to Establish a TMDL of Trash/Debris

Section 303(d) of the federal Clean Water Act requires Maryland (MD) to: (1) identify waters, known as water quality limited segments (WQLSs), where technology-based effluent limitations and other required controls cannot achieve water quality standards; (2) for each listed water, establish Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for pollutants preventing the attainment of water quality standards; and (3) offer an opportunity for public review and comment on the proposed TMDLs.

Baltimore Harbor (basin code 02130903) was listed as impaired by sediments (1996), nutrients (1996), bacteria (1998), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs, 1998), various metals (1998), impacts to biological communities (2002) and debris/floatables/trash, specifically portions of Middle Branch and Northwest Harbor (2008).  The document establishes a TMDL for trash and debris for the Middle Branch and Northwest portions of the Baltimore Harbor. The impairments due to the additional contaminants have been or will be addressed in separate analyses conducted by MDE. 

The TMDLs set the maximum load limit for the impairing substance.  The TMDLs also reflect load allocations to point sources, nonpoint sources and a margin of safety that accounts for uncertainty in the procedures used to estimate the TMDLs.  Once established by the State, the TMDLs will be subject to approval by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The approved TMDLs will support measures needed to attain water quality standards in the Middle Branch and Northwest Branch portions of the Baltimore Harbor.


A public comment period for the draft document will take place from September 13, 2012 to October 29, 2012.  Copies of the draft document have been placed in Baltimore City Enoch Pratt Free Library - Light Street Branch, 1251 Light St., Baltimore, MD 21230 (410-396-1096) and in Baltimore County Public Library – Towson Branch, 320 York Road, Towson, Maryland 21204 (410-887-6166).  The draft document is also available on the Internet at web site or by contacting Ms. Melissa Chatham by mail at MDE/SSA, 1800 Washington Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21230, or by telephone at 410-537-3937 (outside the Baltimore area, dial 1-800-633-6101 x3937).  Anyone wishing to review the draft documents and supporting information or needing technical information may contact Ms. Chatham during normal business hours.

A request has been made to extend the public comment period for this document.  This request has been granted and the public comment period for the trash TMDL referenced now ends on October 29, 2012.
Written comments concerning the draft document may be submitted to the Department on or before October 29, 2012 and should be sent to Ms. Chatham at the above address or emailed to  If the Department determines there is sufficient interest, a public hearing on this matter may be held.  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.

An informational briefing on the draft TMDL will be held on Friday, September 21, 2012 from 1:00 PM-3:00 PM at the MDE’s offices at Montgomery Park, 1800 Washington Blvd., Baltimore MD 21230.


Draft Total Maximum Daily Loads of Trash and Debris for the Middle Branch and Northwest Branch Portions of the Patapsco River Mesohaline Tidal Chesapeake Bay Segment, Baltimore City and County, Maryland
Portable Document Format
Main Report  Baltimore_Harbor_Trash_PN.pdf (3,725 KB)
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