The state Department of Environmental Protection submitted the final state Phase 3 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It includes new funding from the 2022-23 state budget to support the progress being made on water quality improvement.
The budget includes $320 million in state American Rescue Plan funds to help municipalities carry out water and sewage treatment projects and $220 million in ARP funding for a new Pennsylvania Clean Streams Fund. The new fund will be used to help farmers implement water quality best management practices and develop and implement nutrient management plans, provide stormwater planning grants to municipalities, and plant urban trees.
The final plan also quantifies nutrient and sediment pollution reductions attained by several state programs that, until now, have not been fully counted. This includes gains made through DEP Nutrient Credit Trading Program, Chapter 105 construction-related wetland improvements, industrial and construction stormwater management, the Act 537 Sewage Facilities Program, municipal waste landfills, and land recycling.
The final plan calls for EPA computer modeling of bay pollution levels to be updated to include BMPs that Pennsylvania landowners put in place over 10 years ago and that have been installed in Pennsylvania on a larger scale than what the model currently accommodates. Click here to learn more about the WIP.