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WIP Phase II & NPDES Permits

Phase II WIP (Watershed Implementation Plan)

The Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) is part of a required 3-phased planning process to achieve nutrient and sediment clean-up goals for the Chesapeake Bay. This initiative is important because it will create the road map and accountability framework that steer us toward clean local streams a healthy Chesapeake Bay.

During 2010 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set limits on the amount of nutrients and sediments that can enter the Chesapeake Bay. In addition to setting these limits, known as Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), EPA required the Bay states to developed statewide "Phase I" WIPs. The Phase I WIP allocates the allowable load among different sources and identifies statewide strategies for reducing nutrients and sediments that impair the Chesapeake Bay. The Executive Summary of Maryland's Phase I WIP further explains the rationale for the plan. Maryland’s Phase I Plan provides a series of proposed strategies that will collectively meet the 2017 target (70% of the total nutrient and sediment reductions needed to meet final 2020 goals). After more than a year of cooperative work, MDE and the Departments of Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Planning released a Draft Phase I Plan for public review in October 2010 and, following extensive consideration of hundreds of public comments, submitted Maryland’s Final Phase I Watershed Implementation Plan to EPA on December 3, 2010.

Maryland’s Phase II Plan provides a series of proposed strategies that will collectively meet the 2017 target (60% of the total nutrient and sediment reductions needed to meet final 2025 goals). This was changed from Phase I due to concerns that the implementation was not achievable with that timeframe. Maryland worked many partners in local jurisdictions to develop Phase II Watershed Implementation Plans with more detailed reduction targets and specific strategies to further ensure that the water quality goals of the Bay TMDL will be met. The Phase II WIP refines the Phase I plan to include more local details about where and how nutrient and sediment loads will be reduced to clean up the Bay. See the St. Mary’s County Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan.

NPDES Permit

Future projects will address Federal requirements when the County population grows to 100,000 - 249,999 persons, based on the most current Census projections. St. Mary's County may receive a draft MDE permit for compliance by March 2011. This mandate will require mapping, retro-fitting of existing stormwater management facilities and/or stream restoration to provide various forms of water quality / pollutant load reduction within a specific watershed(s). For medium sized jurisdictions, the fiscal impacts required to comply with the State's NPDES permitting could result in the need to fund millions of dollars in watershed restoration projects based on a total budget of between $3,200 (Charles County) and $4,700 (Montgomery County) per resident. For more information on NPDES permits Click Here.

Based on the Charles County Model - the following can be anticipated for St. Mary's County:

1. Source Identification - Demonstrate GIS capabilities with data layers (topo, endangered species, storm drains, sewers, discharge points, flood prone areas, wetlands, soils, impervious areas, estimated pollutant loads etc.). A schedule to complete same within the development districts.

2. Discharge Characterization - Storm sewer, in-stream and watershed monitoring with chemical, biological and physical techniques. This will include lab & stability analyses and annual reporting for twelve (12) storm events per year as selected by MDE.

3. Management Programs - I & M inspection reviews, analysis of 100 outfalls, County facility inventory, quarterly reporting, public education program, road maintenance program requirements (drain cleaning, reduction in use of; harmful weed killers, fertilizers, deicing agents, etc.)

4. Watershed Restoration - 12-24-30 month watershed analysis and completion of a detailed assessment with a 3 year capital restoration schedule.

Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs)

Introduction

Since 1972, Section 303(d) of the federal Clean Water Act has required states to identify waters that do not meet water quality standards and publicly report them on a list published every two years. For each of the listed waters, states are to determine the maximum amount of pollution that the waters can withstand and still meet standards. This maximum amount of pollution is called a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). The Clean Water Act requires that Maryland:

Established Water Quality Standards (WQS) for its waters.

Monitor the conditions of its waters

List water-bodies that do not meet WQSs with technology-based controls alone

Set priority rankings for the waterbodies listed.

Establish TMDLs that meet WQS for each listed waterbody.

Solicit public comment.

Submit 303(d) list and TMDLs to EPA for approval.

Incorporate TMDLs into the State's Continuing Planning Process.

In 1996, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) listed certain sections of the Virginia portion of the Chesapeake Bay as "impaired". That is, water quality, most notably dissolved oxygen, was insufficient to fully support aquatic life. Recognizing the low dissolved oxygen in portions of the upper Bay, Maryland listed all of the upper Chesapeake Bay tidal water segments as not meeting standards for phosphorus, nitrogen (nutrients) and sediments.
In 2000, the Bay watershed partners signed the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement to clearly identify the actions needed to achieve water quality standards. With his agreement came the understanding that i the voluntary actions taken were not successful in reaching the water quality goals, EPA would complete a TMDL by the end of 2010. Although much progress has been accomplished, it has not been enough to reach the pollution reduction goals. The pollutants that are largely responsible for impairment of the Bay are nutrients, into he form of nitrogen and phosphorus, and sediment. For the past several years, EPA h as led a process to develop TMDLs for the Chesapeake Bay.

What is a TMDL?

Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) are a requirement, found in §303(d), of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) that became law in 1972. A TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) is an estimate of the maximum amount of an impairing substance or stressor (pollutant) that a waterbody can assimilate without violating Water Quality Standards. This total load includes pollutants that come from the end of a pipe (point sources), stormwater runoff and groundwater flow (nonpoint sources), and a " margin of safety" that provides a cushion needed because of uncertainties associated with estimates. A TMDL also may include an allowance for future increases in pollutant loads due to changes in land use, population growth, and the expansion of business activity.

The mathematical definition of a TMDL is written as the sum of the individual Wasteload Allocations (WLAs) for point sources, the Load Allocations (LAs) for nonpoint sources and natural background, and a Margin of Safety (MOS) where, TMDL=ΣWLA + ΣLA + MOS.

What are the benefits of TMDLs?

Maryland’s cultural heritage is closely tied to its rivers, coastal waters and the Chesapeake Bay. The seafood industry, recreational activities and the quality of life for Maryland’s citizens depend on the quality of our waters. Maryland’s waters are currently managed through the use of “water-quality-based permits", which place limits on the discharge of wastewater to ensure receiving waters will remain “fishable and swimmable”. As part of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement, Maryland also has defined upper limits on the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that may go into the Bay. TMDLs formalize these procedures for setting upper limits on pollutants and will create a lasting framework to ensure clean waters for generations to come.

Why is Maryland developing TMDLs?

All states are required by the federal Clean Water Act to consider the development of TMDLs. Every two years, states must submit a prioritized list of waterbodies that do not meet water quality standards or will not meet the standards after all technology-based pollution controls are in place. Technology-based controls, defined under the Code of Federal Regulations, 40 CFR 130.7(b)(1)(i-iii), are the basic pollution controls for point sources and nonpoint sources that are uniformly required by federal, state or local law.

What waterbodies are currently on the TMDL list?

In accordance with Section 303(d) of the Federal Clean Water Act, the State develops a list of impaired waterbodies, commonly referred to as the "303(d) List," which is part of its "Integrated Report (IR) of Surface Water Quality." The 303(d) List identifies the impaired waterbodies and the impairing substances (e.g., nutrients, sediments, fecal coliform bacteria) for which TMDLs should be developed. Across the State, there are approximately 134 watersheds impaired by one or more of substances. Maryland’s most recent IR was approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on September 8, 2008.

The Draft Plan

A draft Plan was submitted by the State of Maryland to the Environmental Protection Agency in December 2010. The Watershed implementation Plan for the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) provides a series of proposed strategies that will collectively exceed our 2017 target (70% of the total reductions needed to meet Maryland’s accelerated deadline of 2020). To help meet its goal, Maryland has posted the full documentation for its draft plan so that the public can review the draft.

The Plan identifies 75 strategy options to reduce nitrogen, phosphorous and sediments from the wastewater, urban run-off, septic's, agriculture and air pollution sectors. Maryland estimates that these strategies will provide a total reduction of 9.48 M pounds of nitrogen, which is approximately 31% more than is needed to meet Maryland’s 70% reduction goal by 2017.

Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Maryland was the first State in the watershed to require environmental site design to reduce stormwater runoff on all new development approved after May of 2010. Maryland has also implemented one of the most progressive sets of stormwater requirements for a MS4 permit in the Country. For more information on Maryland's Phase I Watershed Implementation Plan for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed as submitted to the EPA Click Here

How The Plan Accounts for Growth

Maryland is a State that continues to grow. By 2020, Maryland’s population is expected to increase by 560,000 people.

EPA requires the States reduce nutrient and sediment pollution from all source sectors, point and non-point, and “account for growth” in loads from all of them. EPA’s guidance provides two basic means to account for growth: providing load allocations for new development or offsetting pollution from new development. In developing this approach, it was critical that the State support existing towns and cities to the extent possible and not, inadvertently, push growth out into farm fields and forested lands.

Maryland’s offset strategy will encourage growth in designated growth areas rather than in farmland and woodland areas. Target loads for new and increased sources will be designated for new development and redevelopment. In less polluting geographies per capita, such as priority funding areas, served by state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plants that accommodate relatively high densities of residents and jobs, little or no offsets will be required. In areas with higher per-capita pollution rates, greater offsets will be needed. Implementation of this growth strategy is planned for 2013 with additional research, public discussion and strategy development to precede implementation.

Funding

As Maryland plans to take its next steps to significantly improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay, the fiscal environment in which we will operate in order to achieve the improvements that are needed by 2017 and 2020 must be recognized.