Agency Targets Stormwater, CAFOs for Chesapeake Bay Watershed
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is initiating new federal rulemaking on stormwater and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to reduce water pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, according to a recent press release.
The action complements ongoing work by EPA and the states to strengthen regulatory controls on major sources of pollutants consistent with shared commitments to implement the Chesapeake Bay total maximum daily load (TMDL), the limit on the amount of pollution that can flow into the Bay and its tidal creeks and rivers.
EPA is taking this action to improve performance standards for controlling pollutant runoff from urban, suburban and agricultural lands. The agency prefers to work closely with the six states in the Bay watershed and the District of Columbia to establish stronger state programs for stormwater and CAFOs to meet the pollutant reductions necessary to achieve the objectives of the TMDL being developed for the Chesapeake Bay. To assist the states with permitting, enforcement and other key regulatory activities, EPA will provide an additional $11.2 million for 2010, which more than doubles 2009 funding levels.
EPA’s regulatory initiatives for the Chesapeake Bay watershed include three major components, each of which include mechanisms to encourage and support alternative state regulatory actions:
- Stormwater: EPA will initiate national rulemaking to control pollution from newly developed and redeveloped sites, while considering options for going beyond national requirements in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. EPA will consider more stringent elements such as more extensively redefining municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4), establishing more stringent stormwater retention requirements for newly developed and redeveloped sites, and applying these requirements to smaller sites. EPA intends to propose the rule and to take final action no later than November 2012.
- Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations: EPA will propose regulations for CAFOs to more effectively address pollutant reductions necessary to achieve the objectives of the TMDL for the Chesapeake Bay. The rulemaking will consider expanding the universe of CAFOs and requiring more stringent permit standards to control nutrients. Options for streamlining the designation process and improving off-site manure management may also be considered for the Chesapeake Bay or nationally. EPA intends to propose its rule in 2012 and to take final action by late 2013.
- Offsets: EPA will initiate rule-making to support implementation of an offsets program for the bay. The program will provide options for offsetting pollution loads from new or expanding sources under the TMDL which will be adopted by December 2010.
EPA is committed to working with the states, local governments, the public and those in the regulated community when developing these new requirements and will use the time afforded by the public process to reach out and engage these and other stakeholders.