Chesapeake Bay & Local Waters TMDL Action Plan
The Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load, commonly referred to as the Bay TMDL, is a comprehensive “pollution diet” to restore the health of the Bay and its local streams, creeks and rivers. The Chesapeake Bay TMDL — the largest such cleanup plan ever developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encompassing a 64,000-square-mile watershed — is a multi-state agreement that sets limits on nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution necessary to meet water quality standards in the Bay and its tidal rivers. The partners include Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
The Bay and its rivers are overweight with nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment. The excess nutrients and sediment lead to murky water and algae blooms, which block sunlight from reaching and sustaining underwater Bay grasses. Murky water and algae blooms also create low levels of oxygen for aquatic life such as fish, crabs and oysters.
Pollution limits from agricultural operations, urban and suburban runoff, wastewater, airborne contaminants and other sources were established and then further divided by jurisdiction and major river basin based on state-of-the-art modeling tools, extensive monitoring data, peer-reviewed science and coordination with jurisdiction partners. The final TMDL was shaped by an extensive two-year public involvement effort.
More information is available on EPA’s website.
The City is required to develop and implement a strategy to address the pollution limits assigned to urban and suburban runoff sources. A Phase I TMDL Action plan was developed in June of 2015, and a draft Phase II TMDL Action Plan will soon be available for public comment. Each Phase of the Action Plan correlates to the 5-year MS4 Permit. As we now are entering into a new 5-year permit cycle, the TMDL Action plan is being updated to reflect the progress from the previous permit cycle, and to lay out our strategy for the upcoming permit cycle.
The DRAFT Hopewell Phase II TMDL Action Plan is under development and will be posted here soon and also be advertised for public comment.
TMDLs are also developed for local streams and rivers. The Appomattox and James Rivers, like all the tributaries of the Bay, are included in the Chesapeake Bay TMDL for nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution. In addition, the Appomattox and James Rivers, as well as Bailey and Cattail Creeks are also listed as impaired for bacteria due to violations of the state’s water quality standard for fecal coliform bacteria, now expressed as E. coli.
The City’s Bacteria TMDL Action Plan, dated June 20, 2015, and Revised January 2016, can be found here.
Please note that based on the date the TMDL was developed, the City’s Action Plan is scheduled to be updated by May 1, 2020. Also, it is anticipated that the James and Appomattox Rivers as well as Bailey and Cattail Creeks, and Poythress Run will have a TMDL for PCBs developed in the coming years. The City will develop a PCB Action Plan for these rivers and creeks as well.