BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Tough love for the bay. After years of sitting back, the federal EPA is forcing states in the Chesapeake watershed to clean up what flows into the bay. Alex DeMetrick reports Maryland’s plan is now out.
It’s all about what’s in the water and removing it.
“We’re removing the nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment that’s flowing into the Chesapeake Bay,” said Robert Summers, acting secretary for MDE.
States in the bay’s watershed no longer have a choice. Under a presidential order, they must submit cleanup plans to the EPA. Here’s Maryland’s: better control of storm water runoff that carries pollutants, continued upgrades to sewage treatment plants and septic systems, both of which control nutrient pollution, and better control of animal waste and fertilizers, all of which feed algae blooms that trigger dead zones in the bay.
“It has some holes in agriculture in terms of where we’re going to get our reductions,” said Roy Hoagland, vice president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation sued the EPA to get action.
“The revised plan shows some significant improvements. It’s better but it’s not good enough yet,” Hoagland said.
Maryland’s plan will cost at least $10 billion over the next seven years.
“Federal, state, local and private sources are all going to need to contribute,” Summers said.
To sell that to Maryland, more than the bay’s health is being pressed into service.
“We absolutely have to keep the water clean. Our life depends upon it,” Summers said.
With their plans submitted, Maryland and the other bay states will learn how much pollution they will have to cut by the end of the month. The EPA will set those numbers.