Michigan's Statewide E. coli Total Maximum Daily Load

Contact: Molly Rippke 517-284-5547

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View from a cane on the Au Sable RiverWhen a water quality standard is exceeded, the Federal Clean Water Act requires Michigan to address pollution issues with either a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) or by fixing the problem through other means.  For some issues, a remedy is already in progress to reduce pollution.  This is not the case for E. coli across the state.  This TMDL will provide a framework for restoration of water quality.

Routine testing has shown E. coli levels in many areas are above the standard.  These levels increase the risk of illness upon contact or incidental ingestion of the water. Given the extent of this problem, and the multitude of potential sources, a statewide approach will be more effective and more efficient at addressing this issue. To learn more, please visit the E. coli in Surface Waters website.

Long term solutions to bacterial problems can only be accomplished through a collaborative approach.  In addition to its work on effective National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements and corrective actions on illegal sources, the MDEQ is looking for assistance from landowners, local health departments, conservation districts, other state and local agencies, and environmental groups to focus voluntary improvements in areas where nonpoint sources are a problem.  Please see our Guide for Homeowners to find out how you can help reduce E. coli contamination of our rivers, lakes and beaches.

If your group is interested in a presentation on E. coli or TMDLs, please complete the TMDL presentation request form.

Michigan E. coli Pollution and Solution MapperInteractive Mapping Tool

To support the TMDL, a new statewide, interactive mapping tool is available to assist in identifying impacted areas as well as provide resources for getting involved in efforts to reduce the E. coli levels.  The purpose is to encourage and empower local communities to protect our waters.

Mapping Help

A map help document is available.

NEW VIDEOS AVAILABLE!  Videos will help you to perform the following tasks in the mapper:

Public Notice for the Draft Statewide E. coli TMDL

The comment period for the revised draft Statewide E. coli TMDL is closed, although the draft is still available. Comments that were received by May 19th will be considered and incorporated, as appropriate, into the TMDL document submitted to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) for approval.

Success Stories

The DEQ is providing success stories to inspire organizations and communities as they implement the E. coli TMDL.  These stories include situations where E. coli impairments have been remedied completely, but also where complex problems are being addressed to gradually reduce E. coli in surface waters.  As progress is made and new successes are documented, the DEQ will continue to add to this collection.

Webinars and Public Meeting Recording Available

Public Meeting Recording (May 9th)

The DEQ hosted a public meeting (in Lansing and via webinar) on May 9th to discuss the revised draft statewide E. coli TMDL. This presentation gave an overview of the TMDL with a focus on revisions that have been made based on public comments and frequently asked questions. 

Additional Resources:

Links to Other MDEQ Web Sites:

Implementation Guidance Documents:

NPDES Permit Holders:

This page can be accessed using www.mi.gov/ecolitmdl.