Final TMDLs Approved by EPA: Lower Pocomoke River

The Pocomoke River is an interstate watershed; the boundary between Maryland (MD) and Virginia (VA) follows along the Pocomoke on the eastern shores of these jurisdictions.  This fecal coliform TMDL for the Pocomoke watershed was developed through a cooperative agreement between Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VA-DEQ) and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).  This document, upon approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), establishes Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for fecal coliform in MD’s portion of the Lower Pocomoke River and Pocomoke Sound (“the Pocomoke”) and VA’s portion of the Lower Pocomoke River and Pocomoke Sound.  Section 303(d) of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) implementing regulations direct each State to identify and list waters, known as water quality limited segments (WQLSs), in which current required controls of a specified substance are inadequate to achieve water quality standards.  For each WQLS, States are to either establish a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) of the specified substance that the waterbody can receive without violating water quality standards, or demonstrate that water quality standards are being met. 

In MD, the restricted shellfish harvesting area in the Pocomoke River is located in portions of two 8-digit basins: Pocomoke Sound (basin number 02130201) and Lower Pocomoke River (basin number 02130202).  MDE identified both basins on the MD 303(d) List as impaired by the following (listing years in parentheses):  Pocomoke Sound - fecal coliform in tidal portions of the basin (1998), and impacts to biological communities in the tidal portions (2004);   Lower Pocomoke River - fecal coliform in tidal portions of the basin (1996), sediments in the tidal and non-tidal portions (1996, 2002), nutrients in the tidal portions (1996), and impacts to biological communities in the non-tidal portions (2004).  The MD 2004 303(d) List clarified the fecal coliform listings by the identification of the Pocomoke River restricted shellfish harvesting area as the specific area of impairment for fecal coliform.  The assessment unit listing code for this area in Maryland’s 2008 303(d) List is MD-POCMH-OH-POCOMOKE_SOUND-RIVER.  In VA, Pocomoke Sound and Pocomoke River [VAT-C09E-10] condemnation zone 75 was also identified on the VA 303(d) List submitted to U.S. EPA in 1998.  The sediment, nutrient, and biological impairments within the Lower Pocomoke River Basin and Pocomoke Sound Basin listed on MD’s 303(d) lists will be addressed at a future date.  The document, available below, establishes a TMDL of fecal coliform for the restricted shellfish harvesting area/condemnation zone in the Pocomoke watershed in both MD and VA that will allow for attainment of their respective shellfish harvesting designated uses.

A calculation error was discovered in the wasteload allocation (WLA) table for the non-tidal Lower Pocomoke River fecal bacteria TMDL. The TMDL WLA has been adjusted appropriately. The WLA calculation correction necessitated in a corresponding decrease in the load allocation (LA), resulting in additional reduction of 0.01% from nonpoint source loads. The revised TMDL document is available below. 

Total Maximum Daily Loads of Fecal Coliform for the Restricted Shellfish Harvesting/Growing Areas of the Pocomoke River in the Lower Pocomoke River Basin and Pocomoke Sound Basin in Somerset and Worcester Counties, Maryland and Accomack County, Virginia

(Approved on April 15, 2009)

EPA's Decision Letter EPA's Decision Letter
Revised Final Report TMDL_Pocomoke_fc_revised_final.pdf (1330KB)
Final Report TMDL_Pocomoke_fc.pdf (1330KB)

Comment Response Document

CRD_Pocomoke_fc.pdf (22KB)


Contact Information

Please direct questions or comments concerning this project to Maryland's TMDL Program at (410) 537-3818.