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DEM Issues Draft TMDL and Opens Public Comment Period

PROVIDENCE – The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is soliciting comments on a draft total maximum daily load (TMDL) study. Buckeye Brook and Tributaries to Warwick Pond were the subject of a focused study to determine the factors impairing the biodiversity, specifically the benthic macroinvertebrate assemblage.

DEM's Office of Water Resources undertook a study beginning in 2008 to characterize the geographic extent and severity of impacts to the benthic macroinvertebrate community and to identify potential causes or stressors contributing to the impairment. A combination of stressors was found:

- Dry and wet weather violations of ambient water quality criteria for various metals (total iron and dissolved copper, lead, and cadmium) and dissolved oxygen;

- Extensive growth of iron fixing bacteria on stream substrates downstream of the TF Green Airport outfalls and the Truk-Away Landfill;

- Discharges of propylene glycol from TF Green Airport– since addressed with construction of a propylene glycol treatment and diversion system at the airport, and;

- Uncontrolled discharge of stormwater and related hydrologic and stream habitat alterations associated with the highly urbanized watersheds.

A TMDL is a federally mandated water quality restoration study. Waterbodies not meeting their goals as described in the state's water quality regulations are placed on the Impaired Waters List under Section 303(d) of the federal Clean Water Act to have a TMDL completed. TMDLs identify the maximum amount of pollutant a waterbody can receive while still meeting water quality standards.

This is the second public comment period for the Buckeye Brook and Tributaries to Warwick Pond biodiversity TMDL. The first public comment period ended May 10, 2018. After review of the 2018 comments, it was determined that significant revisions to the TMDL document were necessary. Revisions have been evaluated and incorporated as needed into a new draft of the TMDL document.

All interested parties are invited to submit written comments on the draft TMDL by September 1, 2021 to Skip Viator at or via mail to Skip Viator, DEM, Office of Water Resources, 235 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02908. The public comment period opens on August 2, 2021.

The draft TMDL is available on-line on DEM's website at:

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Related links

  • Department or agency: Department of Environmental Management
  • Online:
  • Release date: 08-02-2021

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