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What is the TMDL Process? A Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) is a written plan specific to a pollutant and a body of water that incorporates water quality monitoring data, exceedence frequency, sample time flow conditions, and the sources that may be contributing to the water quality problem. Its purpose is to identify pollution sources and propose a plan that will help achieve water quality standards for the body of water. The Clean Water Act calls for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work with state agencies which in turn work with interested parties in an effort to develop TMDLs to clean up the polluted body of water. Water quality standards are set by states, territories and tribes. They identify the uses for each body of water, such as drinking water supply, contact recreation (swimming) and aquatic life support, and the water quality criteria to support that use.