Total maximum daily loads for Sanibel Slough discussed
A public workshop was held at the Sanibel Public Library to discuss the proposed total maximum daily loads for the Sanibel Slough, the central river system that flows through the island by J.N. "Ding" Darling National Refuge.
The Sanibel Slough has three weir structures that control the outflow into San Carlos Bay. There is a weir control structure in Sanibel Slough West at Sanibel Captiva Road that discharges into Tarpon Bay, and then eventually into San Carlos Bay. The Sanibel Slough East has a weir control system at Beach Road that drains into canals and then eventually San Carlos Bay. According to DEP, there were less than 45 days of recorded discharges in seven years.
The TMDL stemmed from the Clean Water Act to set water quality standards.
According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection a TMDL is "a scientific determination of the maximum amount of a given pollutant that surface water can absorb and still meet the water quality standards that protect human health and aquatic life." When water bodies do not meet the quality standards, a specific TMDL is developed.
Ansel Bubel, with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, said they are always checking to make sure they are on the right path to return bodies of water to a healthy state again. Computer models are used for TMDLs by calculating the pattern of where the water is going and being released.