Scientists have known for decades that nitrogen and phosphorus pollution is dam-
aging to local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay. However, over 10 years ago,
limits on those pollutants from sewage treatment plants were completely inadequate.
In 2003, CBF launched a campaign to require sewage treatment plants to upgrade
technologies, which would significantly reduce pollution. In December 2004, the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency and the major Bay states agreed to impose new limits
on pollution from sewage treatment plants.
Twelve years later, EPA announced that sewage treatment plants across the water-
shed had met their pollution-reduction goals for 2025, nine years early. Nitrogen
and phosphorus pollution have been reduced by 57 and 75 percent, respectively.
3ways to reduce sewage treatment
Avoid sprawl. Plan
As population grows,
offset new pollution
with reductions from
• Maryland is on track to meet its 2017 goals for nitrogen,
phosphorus, and sediment;
• Virginia is also on track to meet its 2017 goals; but
•Pennsylvania will not meet its 2017 goals for nitrogen
and phosphorus, but will meet its goal for sediment.
The sad fact is that Pennsylvania is so far off course that its
lack of progress results in the entirety of the region being on
the cusp of falling short of the 2017 goals. In response, CBF
President Will Baker said,
“The progress made is mostly a result of reducing pol-
lution from sewage treatment plants. CBF applauds
“The region as a whole, however, is not on track to meet
its 2017 goals, largely as a result of Pennsylvania’s failure to reduce nitrogen pollution from agriculture. While
we acknowledge that some progress has been made in
Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth has consistently failed to
meet its goals, missing the mark in the last three two-year
“It is well past time for Pennsylvania to accelerate its pollution-reduction efforts and EPA must do more to ensure that
Pennsylvania obeys the law.”
In the lead-up to 2017, CBF will continue to assist, support, and
monitor Virginia and Maryland as they work to stay on track to
meet their interim and 2025 final goals. And, our staff, board,
volunteers, and members will do all we can to push Pennsylvania
to action and EPA to hold the Commonwealth accountable.
1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040
CHESAPEAKE BAY WATERSHED
Increased pollution from a bigger
population will need to be offset by new
technology or from other sources.
Who’s on track?
MD ✔ PA ✔ VA ✔