The St. Joseph River Watershed is located in northeastern Indiana, draining approximately 137 square miles in St. Joseph and Elkhart counties. Major streams included in the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report are St. Joseph River, Auten Ditch, Eller Ditch and Willow Creek.
A comprehensive survey of the St. Joseph River Watershed was conducted by Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) from September 27, 2000 to October 26, 2000. In addition, the cities of Elkhart, Mishawaka and South Bend had extensively sampled the St. Joseph River for Escherichia coli bacteria (E. coli). The results of their E. coli sampling completed from 2000 through 2003 were included in developing the TMDL. Pollution sources in the watershed include nonpoint sources from agriculture and pastures, land application of manure and urban and rural run-off, as well as point sources from straight pipe discharges, home sewage treatment system disposal and combined sewer overflow outlets.
TMDLs for the St. Joseph River Watershed are established for E. coli and will address six impairments. Some of the recommended solutions to address the impairments include storm water controls, point source controls, manure management and habitat improvements.
A kickoff TMDL meeting was held on March 12, 2003 at the Mishawaka Utilities Building, 401 E. Jefferson Blvd., Mishawaka, Indiana starting at 10:00 a.m.
A draft TMDL meeting was held on October 2, 2003 at the Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library, 209 Lincoln Way East, Mishawaka, Indiana starting at 6:00 p.m.
The 30-day public comment period for the draft St. Joseph River Watershed TMDL began on September 22, 2003 and ended on October 22, 2003.
U.S. EPA under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act approved the St. Joseph River Watershed TMDL report on July 21, 2004 for six impairments. TMDL reports identify and evaluate water quality problems in impaired water bodies and propose solutions to bring those waters into attainment with water quality standards.