Pa. sites within the Chesapeake Bay face stiffer water quality monitoring

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HARRISBURG, Pa. – New monitoring requirements for significant sewage and industrial dischargers are part of Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy.
“This is an important step toward restoring impaired waters in Pennsylvania and the Chesapeake Bay – requiring 190 significant sewage and industrial dischargers to reduce their nutrient loads,” said Kathleen McGinty, the state’s environmental protection secretary.
With more than half of Pennsylvania within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, monitoring nutrient loads is critical to documenting the progress in the Bay restoration effort.
It helps to identify steps each discharger may need to undertake to achieve any future nutrient load reductions, she said.
The watersheds of the Susquehanna and Potomac rivers in Pennsylvania suffer from nutrient and sediment pollution, McGinty said.
Reduce nitrogen. As part of the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement among states and partners in the restoration effort, Pennsylvania agreed to develop a tributary strategy to reduce total nitrogen and phosphorus to the bay by about 40 percent from both point and nonpoint sources by 2010.
As part of the point source part of Pennsylvania’s strategy, Department of Environmental Protection is amending National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits for 190 facilities identified to be significant contributors of nutrients.
Permits will be amended to require the monitoring and reporting of total nitrogen and phosphorus.
This is the first component of the point source implementation strategy.
Chesapeake Bay. Point source discharges contribute about 11 percent of the total nitrogen and about 18 percent of the total phosphorus to the Chesapeake Bay from Pennsylvania waters based on 2002 estimates.
Full implementation of the point source control program will achieve an estimated reduction of 3.1 million pounds of nitrogen and 745,000 pounds of phosphorus per year.
The tributary strategy will improve water quality in the 13 sub-basins making up the Susquehanna and Potomac river watersheds.
The strategy embraces a suite of best management practices for nonpoint and point sources – agriculture, wastewater treatment plants, urban storm-water and septic systems – to meet Pennsylvania’s nutrient and sediment reduction goals.

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