Image of the words "Knowledge to Go" Image of the Purdue seal
Four pictures of people drinking water from water fountains, wells and glasses.
  > Water Quality > Current Issues



Current Issues in Water Quality

These pages provide information and links to sites suggested by Purdue specialists related to current water quality issues.

TMDLs Confined Feeding Operations Water System Security in the Face of Terrorism

Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDLs)

Despite years of pollution control based on point source discharge limits, many water bodies in Indiana and the U.S. are still not clean enough to be considered "fishable and swimmable" according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, are a way of dealing with those water bodies that remain polluted even after the application of regulations to industries and sewage treatment plants located in the watershed. A TMDL is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a water body can receive and still meet water quality standards, and an allocation of that amount to the pollutant's sources.

Most states, including Indiana, are currently monitoring their lakes and streams and developing programs to implement TMDL programs in those that do not meet water quality standards.


Purdue Specialists:

Confined Feeding Operations

Indiana law defines a confined feeding operation as any livestock operation engaged in the confined feeding of at least 300 cattle, or 600 swine or sheep, or 30,000 fowl, such as chickens, ducks and other poultry. The Indiana Department of  Environmental Management (IDEM) regulates these confined  feeding operations, as well as smaller livestock operations which have violated water pollution rules or laws, under IC 13-18-10,  the Confined Feeding Control Law. Draft rules regulating confined feeding are currently under discussion by a workgroup consisting of members from government, agriculture, citizen groups, and environmental groups.

At the federal level, EPA is also working on a new Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) rule and will take action by December 15, 2002.

IDEM forms and books online as well as the new regulations:


Water System Security in the Face of Terrorism

Some Americans are concerned about possible terrorist threats to public water systems. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has stated that the nation's drinking water is safe and highly unlikely to be compromised in the event of a terrorist attack. Water supplies are likely to remain safe for at least two reasons. First, very large amounts of water are pumped daily, most used for industrial and other purposes. Anything deliberately put into the water supply would be greatly diluted. Second, water treatment facilities routinely filter the water supply and add chlorine to kill germs.

As for anthrax, specifically, filtration is effective at removing it from drinking water, making water an especially poor delivery system for anthrax.

The American Water Works Association, representing public water systems, says that water utilities have long taken precautions to prevent against a threat to the security of public drinking water, and have added more since Sept. 11. These measures include limiting access within and throughout utility treatment and storage facilities, meeting shipments at gates and escorting them with security personnel to the plant, and reassessing procedures and systems that are in place to detect security incursions.



Drinking Water
Onsite Wastewater
Field Assessment
Home Assessment
Wellhead Protection
Watershed Management
Volunteer Monitoring
(Hoosier Riverwatch)
Teacher Education
(Project WET)
Nutrient Management
Manure Solutions

  Updated December 2, 2004    
  Purdue Extension    

EEO Statement

For more information regarding the content of this site:
Jane Frankenberger, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Purdue University
Image of the words "Purdue Extension"