News | August 11, 2014

EPA Approves Pollution Budget For Restoring Maryland Coastal Bays

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved the pollution budget developed by Maryland to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus in Maryland’s coastal bays and tributaries to levels that meet water quality standards.

The budget calls for pollution reductions in the coastal bays of up to 35 percent for nitrogen and up to 18 percent for phosphorus. Higher reductions are required in some of the bays tributaries.

The limits, designed to improve conditions for aquatic life and shellfish harvesting, are contained in a series of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) submitted for EPA approval by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). A TMDL is the calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a body of water can receive and still meet state water quality standards.

The TMDLs include Assawoman Bay, Isle of Wight Bay, Sinepuxent Bay, Newport Bay and Chincoteague Bay in the Coastal Bays watershed in Worcester County, Maryland. The bays are listed as impaired by nitrogen and phosphorus on Maryland’s list of impaired waters.

“The State of Maryland is showing real environmental leadership in restoring its coastal waters,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “Creating a solid plan of action opens the door to better water quality for aquatic life and shellfish harvesting.”

"The Maryland Department of the Environment appreciates the support of Worcester County and our other partners in the Maryland Coastal Bays Program and the members of the Coastal Bays Implementation Committee," said MDE Secretary Robert M. Summers. "Putting this blueprint to reduce pollution into place will continue to allow future generations of Marylanders to enjoy fishing, swimming and recreating in the waters of one of the State's greatest natural treasures."

SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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