New MD trash pollution limits approved by EPA for Lower Patapsco waterways
The Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Maryland have announced a new set of trash pollution limits for portions of the Patapsco River.
PHILADEPLHIA, PA, Jan. 6, 2015 -- Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state of Maryland announced a new set of trash pollution limits for portions of the Patapsco River.
These limits, also known as a total maximum daily load (TMDL), require the control of trash entering the tidal shoreline of the Middle Branch and Northwest Branch of the Patapsco River, including Baltimore Harbor and the upstream watersheds of Jones Falls and Gwynns Falls.
Each year, hundreds of tons of trash and debris are washed or dumped into the Patapsco watershed from stormwater runoff, not only creating a nuisance and an eyesore, but endangering birds, fish and other wildlife that ingest or become entangled in the debris.
The federal Clean Water Act directs states to develop TMDLs for impaired waterbodies, such as the Patapsco River. A TMDL establishes the amount of a pollutant, in this case trash, which a waterbody can assimilate without exceeding water quality standards. TMDLs provide the basis for establishing water quality-based controls, reducing pollution from both point and non-point sources and restoring the quality of water resources.
In 2008, Maryland included portions of the tidal Patapsco River shorelines on its list of impaired waters due to excessive quantities of trash and debris. To complement this TMDL, the Maryland Department of the Environment is implementing the limits of these TMDLs through recently issued stormwater permits to local governments that will include trash collecting in the waterbody as well as reducing trash dumping at the source.
The Maryland Department of Environment, along with members of several non-governmental organizations, has worked collaboratively with EPA in the completion of this series of trash TMDLs.