Maryland and Virginia are making progress in reducing industrial pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, but one neighbor to the north may not be doing quite as well.
Twenty percent of the nitrogen pollution in the bay comes from industrial and municipal sources such as wastewater treatment plants and power plants. Virginia and Maryland reduced nitrogen pollution from those sources by 25 percent and 19 percent, respectively. But Pennsylvania hasn't shown such results, according to the Environmental Integrity Project, a group that was started by former Environmental Protection Agency attorneys.
"Pennsylvania is moving in the wrong direction when it comes to these most significant industrial and municipal plants," says Tara Heinzen who works with the group. "And part of the reason is that illegal discharges from these sources added almost 800,000 pounds of nitrogen and phosphorous to the bay watershed in 2011 alone."
Of polluters in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, 20 percent don't even have nitrogen limits in their permits, according to Heinzen — something she blames on both the states and the EPA.