Maryland Achieved 2012-2013 Pollution Reduction Targets for Bay Restoration

Media Contacts:

MDE: Jay Apperson 410-537-3172/ jay.apperson@maryland.gov
DNR: Karis King 410-260-8001 / karis.king@maryland.gov
MDA: Julie Oberg 410-841-5889 / julie.oberg@maryland.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Maryland Achieved 2012-2013 Pollution Reduction Targets for Bay Restoration
Sets 2014 –2015 targets; on target to reach 2017 goals

BALTIMORE, MD (June 26, 2014) – The Chesapeake Bay Program announced today that Maryland achieved its 2013pollution reduction milestones for nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment.  Maryland met its targets, in large part due to conservation practices such as record cover crops planted, wastewater treatment plant upgrades completed on schedule and implementation of the Fertilizer Use Act of 2011.  In 2008, Governor Martin O’Malley led the Chesapeake Executive Council to adopt two-year milestones to focus Chesapeake Bay Watershed states on short-term achievable restoration goals, bringing an unprecedented level of focus, transparency and accountability to the Bay Program model.

PollutionMilestonesImageFinal-01“We’ve made significant progress in restoring the Chesapeake Bay. Here in Maryland, we have set goals and gotten results reducing pollution from all sources. And by establishing BayStat, we’re holding ourselves accountable and making our progress more visible for Maryland residents,” said Governor Martin O’Malley“With our signing of the new Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, which includes emerging issues like toxic contamination, climate change and environmental literacy and stewardship, we are working together, as a region, to achieve our two-year milestones and ultimately reach our 2025 Chesapeake Bay restoration goals.”

The milestones are part of the landmark Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2010. The Chesapeake Bay TMDL is a federal “pollution diet” that sets limits on the amount of nutrient pollution and sediments that can enter the Bay and its tidal rivers to meet water quality goals. 

In response, the seven Bay jurisdictions created individualWatershed Implementation Plans (WIP), or restoration blueprints, that detailed specific steps each would take to meet the pollution reduction goals by 2025. The blueprints guide local and state Bay restoration efforts through the next decade and beyond.  The Bay jurisdictions use their two-year pollution reduction milestones to track and assess progress toward completing their WIP restoration actions; EPA regularly reviews each jurisdiction’s milestones.

“According to our Maryland progress data, we achieved our 2013 milestone reduction targets for nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution,” said Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Robert M. Summers. “In fact, Maryland finished this 2012-2013 period more than 3.5 million pounds reduced ahead of schedule for nitrogen, nearly 147,000 pounds reduced ahead of schedule for phosphorus and nearly 90 million pounds reduced ahead of schedule for sediment which places us on the right trajectory to reach our 2017 and 2025 goals.”

EPA requires that the six states and the District of Columbia each reach 60 percent of their 2025 WIP restoration targets for nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution reduction by the year 2017. This progress is measured from the baseline established in the TMDL (2009) and compared to full WIP implementation, which is required by the year 2025. Our 2013 progress data indicates that Maryland is nearly 41 percent toward its 2025 nitrogen target and 61 percent  toward its 2025 phosphorus target.

EPA Evaluation of 2012-2013 Milestones

2012-2013 Milestone Achievements Agriculture

  • Revised nutrient management regulations became effective October 15, 2012.
  • Finalized regulations to implement Maryland’s Fertilizer Act; homeowner publications were produced to reflect the new requirements and a training manual made available and certification training classes held since spring 2013. 
  • Continued to exceed Cover crop Program WIP goals achieving 114 percent of 2013 milestone.
  • Transported excess manure to farms and alternatives where it could be safely utilized and process, achieving 142 percent of the 2013 milestone.
  • Continued to exceed the implementation milestones for streamside forest buffers achieving 148 percent of the 2013 milestone and streamside grass buffers achieving 296 percent of the 2013 milestone.
  • Working with stakeholders to modify regulations updating the Phosphorus Management Tool, which assesses risk of phosphorus movement in fields high in soil phosphorus.  Regulations are expected to be final in the winter of 2014 with phased-in implementation beginning in 2016. 

“Maryland agriculture has exceeded its nutrient and sediment reduction goals for 2013. Our farmers have a long, proud tradition of environmental stewardship,” said Maryland Department of Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance. “The agricultural sector looks forward to the Bay Model being updated to reflect current USDA census data and to recognize and begin receiving credit for many innovative practices that farmers are already implementing.”
 

2012-2013 Milestone Achievements Urban/Suburban Stormwater

  • Submitted all draft Phase I MS4 permits to EPA by July 12, 2012.
  • Made tentative determinations to issue Baltimore City an MS4 permit by November 1, 2012 and Baltimore, Anne Arundel, and Prince George’s counties by April 2013. 
  • Made final determinations to issue Baltimore County an MS4 permit on December 23, 2013, Baltimore City on December 27, 2013, Prince George’s County on January 2, 2014, and Anne Arundel County on February 12, 2014.
  • Issued the final General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Industrial Activity, which became effective January 1, 2014.
  • Secured a Chesapeake Bay Trust grant to help establish a training program and develop a database to track urban progress under the Fertilizer Use Act.

2012-2013 Milestone Achievements – Natural Filters and Non-Point Source Pollution Funding

  • Achieved the Natural Filters on Public Lands milestone through implementation of wetlands, tree buffers and tree plantings on more than 282 acres of state and public lands; installing cover crops on 100 percent of state-owned agriculturally leased lands and through citizen planting of 111,000 trees.
  • DNR completed a GIS analysis to determine opportunity for a rural reforestation program (Lawn to Woodland); worked with existing local government programs on opportunities for transferring their concepts to other jurisdictions; choose a pilot area and cluster potential planting areas in high priority watersheds and began implementation.
  • Provided more than $84 million, via the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund, to State and local partners and leveraged more than $53 million for more than 240 nonpoint sources pollution projects that reduce harmful nutrient and sediment pollution runoff into the Bay. 
  • Leveraged more than $2.1 million in federal and private funds via The Watershed Assistance Collaborative to assist 41 communities in the identification, design and engineering of shovel-ready Bay restoration projects. 
  • Invested $2.9 million into 17 technologies developed by 16 Maryland-based companies via Maryland’s Innovative Technology Fund; projects focused on developing technologies that reduce nutrient and sediment pollution into the Chesapeake Bay. 

“Through these two-year milestones, we continue to be accountable to the citizens of today and tomorrow for Chesapeake Bay restoration,” said Department of Natural Resources Secretary Joe Gill.  “The Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund and our other unique funding initiatives are providing essential support for State and local partners to undertake innovative, cost-effective approaches to meet our Bay restoration goals.”  ​

2012-2013 Milestone Achievements Wastewater Treatment Plants & Septic Systems

  • Doubled the Bay Restoration Fund (BRF) fund starting July 1, 2012.  With the increased fee, sufficient grant funds are available to complete Enhanced Nutrient Removal (ENR) upgrades at the 67 major Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTPs) and 5 to 10 minor WWTPs by 2017.
  • Prioritized minor plants for ENR upgrades.
  • Completed a draft survey of the nature and quantity of the nutrient loads from all individually permitted industrial facilities.  The survey led to a strategy to refine the results, including identification of new or expanding loads needing to be offset and increased monitoring in the next permit cycle.
  • Adopted COMAR effective January 1, 2013 requiring all septic systems installed on new construction in the Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Bay watersheds to include Best Available Technology.
  • Required BAT for all repair or replacement of septic systems in either the Chesapeake Bay critical area or the Atlantic Coastal Bays critical area.
  • Required BAT inspection for necessary operation and maintenance performed by a certified service provider at a minimum of once per year for the life of the system. 
  • Expanded the uses of the Septics Account of the BRF to include (1) providing grants or loans for connecting a property served by a septic system to an existing biological nutrient removal (BNR) facility; (2) covering the cost of the principal on debt issued by a local government for specified sewer connection projects; and (3) providing assistance for specified sewer connection projects located outside of a priority funding area (PFA).  The Bill, HB 11, was approved by the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor O’Malley.

2012-2013 Milestone Achievements Offsets & Trading

  • Completed research and developed more detailed approaches for offsets in fall 2012.
  • Completed stakeholder review of draft growth offset policy and implementation strategy in fall 2013.
  • Secured a grant in 2012 to develop a tracking and accounting system for growth and offsets.
  • Received recognition for the Maryland Agricultural Nutrient Trading Program as a 2013 finalist by the National Growing Blue Award committee for program innovation.
  • Committed to reevaluate sector growth periodically and submitted an initial sector growth demonstration in February 2013 and August 2013 in response to EPA’s trading and offset 2012 program assessment findings.  

2014-2015 Milestones

EPA also approved Maryland’s anticipated pollution reductions targets for nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment for the 2014-2015 milestone period. These targets should keep Maryland on track to meet its 2017 goals. 

“In the years since the signing of the Clean Water Act and the first Chesapeake Bay Agreement, Maryland has made tremendous progress in restoring our local waterways and the Bay; however, there is still important work to be done. Under the leadership of the O’Malley-Brown Administration, we have set and achieved all of our aggressive and measurable pollution reduction milestones and we are on track to meet our 2017 and 2025 goals,” said Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Robert M. Summers. “These 2014-2015 milestones improve the quality of our local streams, lakes, rivers, drinking water reservoirs and the Chesapeake Bay. In addition to our efforts at the local and State levels, there are also actions that every Marylander can take to improve our water quality and protect our aquatic life.”       

Meeting the 2025 goal in a cost-effective manner will likely require the continued adoption of innovative practices including nutrient trading and stormwater management. Maryland also continues to focus on practical conservation solutions, such as wastewater treatment plant upgrades and the planting of cover crops. In addition, the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s advancement of smart growth efforts further reduces pollutants from multiple sectors. Pollution generators from all sectors must contribute to the solution in order for Maryland to meet the 2025 pollution reduction goals.

Learn more about Maryland’s Bay restoration effort at Baystat.Maryland.Gov or follow @MDEnvironment and @EyesontheBay on Twitter.

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