Representatives from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) outlined the timeline and requirements for implementing total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) for the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries on December 11 at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills. Their presentation is part of a series of meetings and webinars they have been holding in the impacted bay states.
TMDLs will set strict loading caps for nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment runoff for both point and non-point sources in all six Bay watershed states, including Maryland. As part of their watershed implementation plans, the State and local government must set a series of 2-year milestones that will reach the final TMDL targets by 2025. Failure to reach the milestones will result in federal consequences, possibly including assignment of more stringent pollution reductions to regulated point sources, such as wastewater, stormwater, or agricultural confined animal feeding operations; objecting to state-issued National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits; limiting or prohibiting new or expanded discharges of nutrients and sediments; and withholding, conditioning, or reallocating federal grant funds.
TMDL requirements will impact local land use decisions, agriculture, and urban communities and may ultimately restrict growth from occuring in certain areas. Click here for a copy of the EPA’s December 11 slideshow. Click here for general information from MDE on Maryland TMDLs.