Current Issues in Water Quality
These pages provide information and links to sites suggested
by Purdue specialists related to current water quality issues.
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.
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,
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