A June 5, 2015, DelmarvaNow article reported that the controversial and oft-delayed phosphorus management tool (PMT) regulations will take effect on June 8. The regulations, which are designed to reduce phosphorus runoff into the Chesapeake Bay and local waterways, will limit the application of animal waste (such as poultry manure) and sewage sludge on agricultural lands that have a high phosphorus content. The PMT requirements will affect all areas of the State but will have a particular impact on the Eastern Shore. The article noted that former Governor Martin O’Malley tried to implement the PMT on three occasions and that Governor Larry Hogan finally adopted PMT regulations after working our a compromise with the Maryland General Assembly and agricultural community.
The article asks and answers a few common questions about the PMT:
How much will it cost? And can the benefits be quantified?
According to a Salisbury University study, It is expected to cost farmers $22.5 million. But other industries — trucking companies, for example — are projected to make $10 million off the regulation, and the public is expected to see $100 million in direct and indirect effects from having cleaner water. …
Does it go into effect right away?
For some, yes. Others, no.
Land that is saturated with phosphorus — classified as having a “fertility index value” of 500 or more — can no longer add the nutrient to their fields. They can’t put manure down because it contains both nitrogen and phosphorus.
About 21 percent of Eastern Shore farms are expected to fall into this category. …
What are the deadlines for farmers to implement the tool?
It depends on their phosphorus levels. Those with less must comply earlier; those with more get more time. The last deadline is 2022, but farmers can get up to two one-year extensions if problems crop up.