Fact Sheet
                            Chesapeake Bay
               Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)
Chesapeake Bay Program
 A Watershed Partnership
      Driving Actions to Clean Local Waters and the Chesapeake Bay

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is leading a major initiative to establish and
oversee achievement of a strict "pollution diet" to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its
network of local rivers, streams and creeks.

EPA is working with its state partners to set restrictions on nutrient and sediment
pollution through a Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL,  a regulatory tool of the
federal Clean Water Act that will be backed by a series of accountability measures to
ensure cleanup commitments are met.
The Bay TMDL will be the largest and most complex ever
developed, involving six states and the District of
Columbia and the impacts of pollution sources throughout
a 64,000-square-mile watershed.

Addressing the Challenges
Monitoring data continues to show that the Chesapeake
Bay has poor water quality, degraded habitats and low
populations of many species offish and shellfish.

The Chesapeake Bay and its rivers are overweight with
nitrogen,  phosphorus and sediment from agricultural
operations, urban and suburban runoff, wastewater,
airborne contaminants and other sources.
The excess nutrients and sediment lead to murky water and algae blooms, which block
sunlight from reaching underwater bay grasses and create low levels of oxygen for
aquatic life, such as fish, crabs and oysters.

The Bay TMDL - actually a combination of 92 smaller TMDLs for individual tidal
Chesapeake Bay segments - will include limits on nutrients and sediment sufficient to
achieve state clean water standards for dissolved oxygen, water clarity and algae.

Actions under the TMDL will complement significant and ongoing work by EPA and its
partners to restore the Bay and will have benefits far beyond the Chesapeake itself,
helping to clean local  rivers that support fishing and swimming and often  serve as a
source of local drinking water.

Sharing the Load
The pollution diet will be divided among all jurisdictions in the watershed by their major
river basins. The jurisdictions include Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New
York, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. The states and the District will further
divide the "loadings" among local sources, improving their ability to target and achieve

New scientific information about pollution sources, river flows and cleanup practices
indicates it will take considerably more effort than previously thought to restore water
quality in the Bay and its tidal rivers. Collectively, current state cleanup strategies will
fall far short of needed actions.

The six states and the District will prepare Clean Water Accountability Programs
indicating how they will accomplish their shares of the pollution diet. The programs will
identify pollution reduction targets by geographic location and source sector and will
include a description and schedule of actions to be taken to achieve the reductions.

States will  specify reductions they intend to get from "point sources" like sewage
treatment plants, urban stormwater systems and large animal feeding operations and
"non-point sources" such as polluted rainfall runoff from agricultural lands and hard
surfaces. The Bay Program's advanced computer models will offer the ability for states to
target actions to specific local areas and sources.

The accountability programs will be supported by a series of two-year milestones for
achieving specific near-term pollution reduction actions and  targets needed to keep pace
with commitments.

The states and EPA will monitor the effectiveness of the pollution reduction actions to
assess progress and water quality response. EPA would employ consequences if there are
insufficient commitments in a jurisdiction's accountability program or a failure to meet
the established two-year milestones.

EPA is working closely with the states and the District of Columbia, and with modeling
and water quality experts at the Chesapeake Bay Program in developing the TMDL.

While court-ordered consent decrees with Virginia and the District of Columbia require
the TMDL to be finalized by May 1, 2011, EPA has agreed to work toward  an
accelerated completion date of December 2010.

A final draft TMDL and accompanying draft implementation plans are scheduled to be
prepared by June 2010. The TMDL and the plans will be offered for public comment
during the summer of 2010. An initial round of public meetings will be held in 2009, part
of a robust plan for gathering public input.

                                                                    (Last Updated: 9/9/09)