: News

EPA Sets Pollution Limit for Bay

Play associated audio

By Sabri Ben-Achour

187 million pounds. That's how much nitrogen can safely be allowed into the bay, say scientists at the EPA. Last year, the bay got about 50 million pounds too much. Nitrogen, along with other nutrients, most notably phosphorous - flow into the bay and create giant corridors of dead water, low in oxygen, where fish and other creatures struggle to breath.

"It can come from different sources, it can come from ag, it can come from wastewater treatment plants, stormwater runoff, air deposition. But there's only so much a bay can handle and still function as a safe water body meeting water quality standards," says Sean Garvin is the EPA administrator for our region.

Each state in the bay's watershed (Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York) and the District of Columbia now have individual pollution limits, and each will have to figure out how to stay under them.

Specifically, states will have to come up with "Watershed Implementation Plans" by September 1st.

These plans will include measures to reduce runoff from agriculture and stormwater, and may well mean a slate of new legislation affecting urban development and agriculture.

On Wednesday, a Senate committee released a bill sponsored by Maryland's Senator Bill Cardin to provide $2 billion in funding to help pay for runoff reduction, and to codify the EPA's Chesapeake goals into law. The bill is facing opposition from the American Farm Bureau, and it's not clear that it will pass.

By the end of September, EPA will announce the next step, something called the "Total Maximum Daily Load" for the Bay and each state. TMDLs, as they're known, are how much pollution can go into the bay on any given day, and waterways will be monitored to determine if states are meeting their goals.

The states will be expected to have most of their plans in place by 2017. The final deadline for Chesapeake Restoration is 2025.

NPR

When Caravaggio Plays Quevedo In Tennis, The Court Becomes A Sonnet

"It's a little space, well-measured and precise, in which you have to keep the ball bouncing," says Álvaro Enrigue. His book, Sudden Death, pits the Italian painter against the Spanish poet.
WAMU 88.5

Does "Made in DC" Matter?

D.C.'s first bean-to-bar chocolate maker, Undone Chocolate, got its start in local food incubator space Union Kitchen, part of a wave of interest in locally made products which includes a push for a "Made in DC" logo.

WAMU 88.5

Does "Made in DC" Matter?

D.C.'s first bean-to-bar chocolate maker, Undone Chocolate, got its start in local food incubator space Union Kitchen, part of a wave of interest in locally made products which includes a push for a "Made in DC" logo.

NPR

Password Security Is So Bad, President Obama Weighs In

In unveiling a sweeping plan to fund and revamp cybersecurity, the president asks citizens to consider using extra layers of security besides the password.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.