On July 6, 2012, Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell’s office released a statement documenting progress towards Virginia’s nutrient-reduction commitments under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) pollution-reduction plan, issued by the U.S. EPA in December 2010. The Bay TMDL and a directive in 2008 by the Chesapeake Executive Council—comprising governors from the Bay states, the mayor of Washington, D.C., and federal officials—calls for states to achieve two-year “milestones” in implementing actions to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment inputs to Bay waters; the milestones are interim levels towards achieving the TMDL’s larger overall pollutant reductions by 2025. According to the governor’s news release, Virginia exceeded by 2000 percent the 2009-2011 wastewater-treatment plant nitrogen-reduction milestone of 233,000 pounds annually, and exceeded by 450 percent the treatment-plant phosphorus-reduction milestone of 126,000 pounds annually. Three other developments highlighted in the governor’s news release are the following: 1)“The U.S. EPA’s Region 3 has awarded Virginia their ‘Biggest Loser’ for ranking first in the region and second in the nation for reducing nitrogen pollution as reported through the Clean Water Act nonpoint source program [as opposed to the point source reductions at wastewater treatment plants mentioned above]. In 2011, Virginia’s activities prevented 2.5 million pounds of nitrogen from entering streams and lakes. 2) “Virginia reported more phosphorus and bacteria load reductions than any other state in EPA’s Region 3, an area that includes Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Phosphorus loads were reduced by 216,000 pounds. 3) “Virginia’s [upcoming] state budget will allocate $92 million toward point and non-point water quality programs, the highest general fund appropriations to the Water Quality Improvement Fund in the past five fiscal years.”
Source: Governor McDonnell Announces Significant Progress in Chesapeake Bay Cleanup, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 7/6/12
Added 7/10/12: News accounts of this development included the following: Virginia leads Mid-Atlantic in cutting nitrogen pollution in bay, Newport News Daily Press, 7/7/12; Virginia rises to the top for curbing pollution in Bay, Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 7/7/12; and McDonnell: ‘Significant’ progress in Bay cleanup, Luray (Va.) Page Free Press, 7/6/12.