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Report: Pollution cleanup is falling short in Chesapeake Bay

With three years left to meet the goals of a “pollution diet,” the three major states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed have greatly improved their wastewater treatment, though they still lag in three other areas, including reducing agricultural runoff, said the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF).

The conservation group said that climate change, seen in extreme storms, hotter weather, and rising sea levels, was complicating the cleanup.

So far, practices put in place by the states have achieved an estimated 42% reduction in nitrogen pollution and a 64% reduction in phosphorus pollution, said the CBF. “Much of this progress is due to reducing pollution from wastewater treatment plants.

In fact, wastewater treatment upgrades are the key reason Maryland and Virginia, individually, may still meet their 2025 pollution-reduction commitments.” While Pennsylvania was also meeting its wastewater commitments, it was not on track to meet its 2025 goals overall.

The Chesapeake Executive Council should take action, at its meeting next week, to continue progress on pollution, said the CBF.

It advocated both a recommitment to bay restoration goals and a commitment to “developing a new plan with a specific timeline and accountability to permanently protect the bay.”

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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