Chesapeake Bay Watershed quality: EPA reaffirms pollution standard deadlines

Environmental lawyer alert: EPA reaffirms December 2010 deadline for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed pollution regulations.

06/21/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Tara Monks // Tara Monks

Philadelphia, PA – The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a press release Friday, June 18, 2010, reaffirming its commitment to establishing the currently-under-construction Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), or “pollution diet,” for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The EPA announced that it plans to uphold its December 2010 deadline for the plans.

The Bay TMDL will set pollution limits for the 64,000-square-mile watershed by setting thresholds for the amounts nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment that can be dumped into the area.

The plan is backed by accountability measures and includes state action plans, a series of two-year commitments, monitoring and, if deemed necessary, federal accountability measures to generate progress.

The Chesapeake Bay Watershed consists of six states: Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia; and the District of Columbia.

On June 11, EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin informed the six watershed states and the District of Columbia of the schedule ahead.

The press release also stated, “While in the process of refining the computer simulation models, EPA has adjusted the process to allow the jurisdictions to meet the end-of-year deadline and have all control measures in place to restore the Bay and its tidal waters by 2025, with 60 percent of the work completed by 2017.”

The EPA expects to allocate the pollution limits for nitrogen and phosphorous among the six watershed states and the DC by July 1. By August 15, the allocations for sediment will be assigned.

The new plans extend the deadline for preliminary drafts of each state’s Watershed Implementation Plans from June to September 1.

By 2011, EPA plans to have all states and DC submit draft Phase II Watershed Implementation Plans, which will allocate the pollutant loads to a finer-tuned geographic scale.

By 2017, EPA plans to review all models and determine if “further upgrades are needed.” This is when all parties will submit Phase III plans to “ensure that all the control measures needed to meet Bay water quality standards will be in place in 2025.”

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