Bay Journal

Topics: Pollution

MDE taking fewer enforcement actions against water pollution

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Maryland regulators have been taking significantly fewer enforcement actions for water pollution violations lately, a drop that environmentalists call part of a worsening nationwide trend. State officials, though, say the decrease reflects an increased effort to work with violators and prevent minor infractions from becoming major ones.

In a report submitted earlier this year to lawmakers, the Maryland Department of the Environment said that in fiscal year 2017, its water and science administration took 771 enforcement actions. That’s a 46 percent decline from the number reported the previous year, and the fewest since fiscal year 2008.

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First sewage-storing tunnel comes online in DC

The Anacostia River, which has for decades functioned as the polluted washbasin of an urban watershed, may now have less bacteria than the Potomac River during rainfall. In mid-March, DC Water opened the floodgate on a 2.3-mile section...

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About Pollution

Nutrient pollution, the nitrogen and phosphorus that originates from farms, wastewater treatment plants, stormwater runoff and air pollution, is a major source of pollution to the Chesapeake. In the Bay, they spur growth of algae blooms which block sunlight needed by important underwater grass beds. When the algae dies, they are decomposed in a process that depletes the water of oxygen needed by other species.

Sediment eroded from the land and streambanks degrades stream health and reduces water clarity. Toxins and other chemical contaminants also pose a direct threat to fish throughout the Bay and its watershed.

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