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Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering >> 2008, Volume 2, Issue 3 doi: 10.1007/s11783-008-0058-0

Critical flow-storm approach to total maximum daily load (TMDL) development: an analytical conceptual model

1.CH2M HILL, 15010 Conference Center Drive; 2.Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Thornton Hall, University of Virginia

Available online:2008-09-05

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One of the key challenges in the total maximum daily load (TMDL) development process is how to define the critical condition for a receiving waterbody. The main concern in using a continuous simulation approach is the absence of any guarantee that the most critical condition will be captured during the selected representative hydrologic period, given the scarcity of long-term continuous data. The objectives of this paper are to clearly address the critical condition in the TMDL development process and to compare continuous and event-based approaches in defining critical condition during TMDL development for a waterbody impacted by both point and nonpoint source pollution. A practical, event-based critical flow-storm (CFS) approach was developed to explicitly addresses the critical condition as a combination of a low stream flow and a storm event of a selected magnitude, both having certain frequencies of occurrence. This paper illustrated the CFS concept and provided its theoretical basis using a derived analytical conceptual model. The CFS approach clearly defined a critical condition, obtained reasonable results and could be considered as an alternative method in TMDL development.

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