Pennsylvania's Chesapeake Bay Plan
Half of the land area of Pennsylvania drains to the Chesapeake Bay from four major river basins, and Pennsylvania comprises 35 percent of the entire Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
The Susquehanna River is the largest tributary to the bay, providing 90 percent of the freshwater flow to the upper bay and half of the total freshwater flow to the bay. Simply stated, the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay cannot be restored without Pennsylvania's support. But even more important, water quality in Pennsylvania must be restored.
In 2010, EPA established a Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, to address chlorophyll-A, dissolved oxygen and clarity impairments within the bay. A TMDL is a regulatory term in the U.S. Clean Water Act, describing a value of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a body of water can receive while still meeting water quality standards.
The mandatory pollutant reductions necessary to meet EPA's TMDL goals must be achieved by the year 2025.
Knowing that Pennsylvania has not met EPA's requirements to reduce water pollution under the requirements of federal court orders and regulations, the Wolf administration is working to focus and increase resources and technical assistance, reinvigorate partnerships, and create a culture of compliance in protecting Pennsylvania's water quality.
Pennsylvania must change its approach for the Chesapeake Bay.
Pennsylvania's Local Water Quality
We recognize that for any strategy to succeed that we have to focus on local water quality as our primary concern. Local water quality improvements directly translate into cleaning the Bay and meeting the federal TMDL requirements.
Pennsylvania's obligation not only stems from federal court decrees, but also from the Pennsylvania's Clean Streams Law and the Pennsylvania Constitution, which declares that clean water is a right for all Pennsylvanians.
Restoring and maintaining local water quality is a shared responsibility.