Public Comment Invited to Help Develop State Plan to Improve Local Water Health in Chesapeake Bay Watershed Counties
[47 Pa.B. 3154]
[Saturday, June 3, 2017]
The Department of Environmental Protection (Department) is currently working with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, partners and stakeholders to develop the Commonwealth's Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) for the Chesapeake Bay.
In 2010, the EPA established a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) to address chlorophyll-A, dissolved oxygen and clarity impairments within the Chesapeake Bay. A TMDL is a regulatory term in the Federal Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C.A. §§ 1251—1388) describing a value of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a body of water can receive while still meeting water quality standards. Nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment are the main pollutants to the Chesapeake Bay that cause the previously listed issues. WIPs are the roadmaps for how the Chesapeake Bay states, in partnership with Federal and local governments, will achieve the Chesapeake Bay TMDL allocations.
The Commonwealth is mandated by the EPA to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment levels in waterways in the Chesapeake Bay watershed counties by 2025. The Commonwealth fell short of its Phase 1 goal, set in 2010, and Phase 2 goal, set in 2012. This year, the EPA is conducting a midpoint assessment of these levels, the results of which will define how the Commonwealth designs its Phase 3 WIP to achieve the desired reductions in pollutants.
Since the Commonwealth has not met the EPA's requirements to reduce water pollution under the requirements of Federal court orders and regulations, the Commonwealth is working to focus and increase resources and technical assistance, reinvigorate partnerships and create a culture of compliance in protecting the Commonwealth's water quality. The public is invited to share their views on how the Commonwealth can best achieve Federally- mandated water pollution reductions in counties in the Chesapeake Bay watershed during a 35-day public comment period.
Public input is specifically being sought to determine what initiatives are needed in agriculture, forestry, funding, local planning, stormwater and wastewater to improve the health of local streams, rivers and lakes. The public is encouraged to answer the following questions in their comments:
• What key elements need to be included for this effort to be a success? What priority issues must be addressed in the Phase 3 WIP for you to consider it a success?
• What measurable outcome does the Commonwealth need to achieve by 2025 that would make this effort successful?
• Is there a particular initiative, action, partnership or training that would aid this effort?
• Are there possibilities for continuing and enhancing current projects or initiatives?
More information on the Commonwealth's Phase 3 WIP planning process is available at www.dep.pa.gov (search: Chesapeake Bay).
Interested persons are invited to submit written comments regarding the Commonwealth's Phase 3 WIP through Friday, July 7, 2017. Comments submitted by facsimile will not be accepted. Comments, including comments submitted by e-mail, must include the originator's name and address. Commentators are encouraged to submit comments using the Department's online eComment system at www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/eComment. Written comments should be submitted by e-mail to email@example.com or by mail to the Department of Environmental Protection, Policy Office, Rachel Carson State Office Building, P.O. Box 2063, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2063.
Persons in need of accommodations as provided for in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 should contact Hayley Jeffords at (717) 772-3525 or through the Pennsylvania AT&T Relay Service at (800) 654-5984 (TTD) to discuss how the Department may accommodate their needs.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 17-936. Filed for public inspection June 2, 2017, 9:00 a.m.]
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