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EPA Reaffirms December 2010 Deadline for Bay TMDL

Release Date: 06/18/2010
Contact Information: David Sternberg 215-814-5548

(PHILADELPHIA – June 18, 2010) As part of the process for restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, EPA has reaffirmed the federal-state commitment to establish the Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) - or pollution diet - by the end of this year.

The Bay TMDL will set limits on nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment throughout the 64,000-square-mile watershed. Backed by a strong accountability framework, the Bay TMDL includes state action plans, a series of two-year commitments, close monitoring and, if necessary, federal accountability measures to spur progress.

On June 11, EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin reaffirmed to the six watershed states, the District of Columbia and others, the schedule ahead.

EPA has adjusted the schedule based on conversations with the States and DC. EPA is also providing additional financial and technical assistance, and offering detailed guidance to help jurisdictions develop strong implementation plans and accelerate on-the-ground action.

While in the process of refining the computer simulation models, EPA has adjusted the process to allow the jurisdictions to meet the end-of-year deadline and have all control measures in place to restore the Bay and its tidal waters by 2025, with 60 percent of the work completed by 2017.

By July 1, EPA will allocate the pollution limits for nitrogen and phosphorus among the six watershed states and the District of Columbia, allowing for potential load changes from model updates. By August 15, EPA will assign allocations for sediment.

The new schedule eliminates a previous requirement for jurisdictions to submit preliminary draft Watershed Implementation Plans by early June. The states and the District will now complete their draft Phase I Watershed Implementation Plans - outlining how they will meet the pollution limits - by September 1.

EPA will issue a draft TMDL for a 45-day public comment period on September 24.The final Phase 1 implementation plans are due November 29, and EPA will establish the Bay TMDL by December 31.

In 2011, EPA will revise its modeling, utilizing the results of updates on nutrient management effectiveness and suburban land characteristics. The states and the District will then submit draft Phase II Watershed Implementation Plans, allocating the pollutant loads to a much finer geographic scale, and reflecting any potential revised load distributions and other updates resulting from the revised model.

Before 2017, EPA will review its models and determine if further upgrades are needed. In 2017 the states and the District will submit Phase III implementation plans to ensure that all the control measures needed to meet Bay water quality standards will be in place by 2025.