delware environmental institute

Delaware submits the final Phase I Watershed Implementation Plan to EPA for cleaner streams and the Chesapeake Bay

NEWS FROM THE DELAWARE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIONMENTAL CONTROL

Contact: Melanie Rapp or Joanna Wilson, Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.

Delaware submits the final Phase I Watershed Implementation Plan to EPA  for cleaner streams and the Chesapeake Bay

DOVER (Nov. 30, 2010) – Delaware’s final long-range plan for reducing pollutants from entering local waterways that lie within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed was submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, meeting the EPA’s Nov. 29 deadline for Delaware’s final Phase I of the Chesapeake Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP). The plan was also posted on the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s website, http://www.wr.dnrec.delaware.gov/Information/Pages/Chesapeake_WIP.aspx.

Delaware is among six Chesapeake Bay Watershed states – Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York – and the District of Columbia required to develop a pollution “diet” that will help restore water quality of the Bay and its tidal waters by 2025, with 60 percent of the work to be completed by 2017.

Approximately one-third of Delaware’s land area drains to the Chesapeake. Many of these waters are prized such as the Nanticoke and Broad Creek, Marshyhope, Chester and Choptank Rivers. The primary land use in the watersheds is agriculture.

In July and August, the EPA released nutrient and sediment allocations that each Chesapeake Bay Watershed state must meet in order achieve water quality. Delaware designed a draft Phase I WIP detailing how the state will reduce excess pollutants, achieve EPA’s nutrient and sediment allocations, and implement Delaware’s portion of the pollution “diet.”

In September, EPA announced the draft Chesapeake Bay Watershed’s Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment, which was based on the draft WIP’s from each state. A TMDL is the calculation of the maximum amount of pollution a body of water can receive and still meet federal and state water quality standards. The Bay TMDL will require Delaware and all watershed states to significantly reduce pollutants from entering Chesapeake waterways.

Since releasing Delaware’s draft plan on Sept.1, DNREC, the Delaware Department of Agriculture and other state agency representatives met with 17 organizations and communities to explain and review the draft TMDL and WIP.

“We have worked closely with Secretary Kee of the Delaware Department of Agriculture to develop what I believe is a plan that meets our reduction targets in a responsible manner,” said Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin P. O’Mara. “We look forward to EPA’s feedback.”

“Delaware has made significant strides in reducing nutrients through the innovation of the agriculture industry in Delaware and the leadership of the state’s Nutrient Management Commission,” said Secretary Ed Kee. “We recognize there is more to be done, and we will do our part in achieving the TMDL and implementing all phases of the WIP.”

The final Phase I Plan includes pollution reduction targets by geographic area and source – agriculture, urban runoff, septic systems, wastewater treatment facilities and others and additional details to address comments from both EPA and the public. The final WIP demonstrates accountability in meeting the TMDL and improving water quality by achieving 2-year milestone goals.

EPA expects to establish the final Chesapeake Bay TMDL by December 31, 2010.

In addition to the Delaware’s final Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP), the following documents are posted at http://www.wr.dnrec.delaware.gov/Information/Pages/Chesapeake_WIP.aspx: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs); Delaware’s 2009-2011 Milestone Goals; Accomplishments, Initiatives and Funding to meet Delaware’s Milestone Goals; and University of Delaware Water Resources Agency’s 2010 Report on the Socioeconomic Value of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed in Delaware.

For information on EPA’s TMDL, visit http://www.epa.gov/chesapeakebaytmdl/.

Almost 35 percent of Delaware lies within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and includes land in all three counties. Approximately one-half of Sussex County, about one-third of Kent County and about 10 percent of New Castle County drain into the rivers, creeks and agricultural ditches that eventually drain into the Chesapeake Bay.

The Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries are being polluted when excess nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment enter our groundwater and drain to waterways. Sources of pollution include: residential and agricultural fertilizers; stormwater runoff, which includes gas and oil from roads and parking lots; erosion and sediment; wastewater treatment plants; and manure from poultry and livestock.

The Phase I WIP was developed by a workgroup comprised of representatives from: the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control; Delaware Department of Agriculture; Delaware Nutrient Management Commission; the Delaware Farm Bureau; the Delaware Home Builders Association; Department of Transportation; Office of State Planning Coordination; County Conservation Districts; University of Delaware; U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies; U.S. Geological Survey; and other stakeholders. Eight subcommittees were formed to address: agriculture; stormwater; wastewater; land use and comprehensive plans; restoration; public lands; funding and information technology.

Vol. 40, No. 395