Region Forward Blog

The Morning Measure: A pollution diet to help the Bay

Nov 8, 2010


The health of the Chesapeake Bay is an immediate regional concern. However as the country’s largest estuary – a fancy word for a partly enclosed water body connecting to the sea – it should also be a national concern. Nearly 17 million people live within the Bay’s 64000 square mile watershed over 1/3 of which live in the metro Washington region.

The region has made progress in updating wastewater treatment plants and managing stormwater runoff yet there’s still much work to be done to ensure this vital asset remains ecologically vibrant. While there is an explicit target in RF aimed at dramatically improving the Bay’s health almost everything proposed in RF from increased transit usage to more housing in activity centers to open space preservation will have a positive impact on the health of the Bay.

The EPA has proposed TDMLs (Total Daily Maximum Loads) for the Chesapeake Bay – think of the TDMLs as a pollution diet for the Bay – and they want public input. Think this diet is too lax? Too stringent? Fairly on point? Some business and farm groups think they’re unrealistic and will cost jobs whereas environmentalists want the standards upheld as written. In the current hyper-partisan environment the issue also has the potential to become embroiled in politics. Let the EPA know what you think – today’s the last day to comment.

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