Monday, August 13, 2018

Prevent Sewage Backups-Don’t Pour Grease Down the Drain


Do not pour cooking fats, oils and grease (FOG) down any drains or toilets in your home. In septic and sewer lines FOG catches on the pipe surface and clings to the walls of the sewer system anywhere there is a disruption, like a tree root in a joint, or sag under your yard or along a roadway, or something that might give the FOG a place to catch. All pipes have some friction points. The FOG builds up one layer at a time making a smaller, narrower path for the water and waste to travel through, ultimately causing a backup or pipe to burst. The FOG will clog sewer pipes, septic lines and can then cause sewer overflows and basement backups in your home.

FOG comes primarily from food such as cooking oil, lard, shortening, meat fats, sauces, gravy, mayonnaise, butter, ice cream and soups. Sinks, dishwashers, and food scraps put down garbage disposals deliver the FOG to the sewer system or septic system, it can be liquid when you put it down the drain, but turns viscous or solid as it cools in underground pipes. As the FOG builds up, it restricts the flow in the pipe and can cause the sewage to back up into homes or premature failure of the sewer pipes and septic systems. Generally speaking, the worst maintained pipes are the laterals and septic pipes owned by individual property owners. In most of Virginia, the laterals pipes are are owned by the properties that connect to them.

Maintaining the sewer and septic pipes, clearing tree roots and keeping grease out of the system and keeping grease out of the drains (and toilets) can prevent most sewage backups and extend the life of your drain field or peat media. When I was growing up in the middle of the last century, it seemed that everyone poured their cooking grease into and old coffee can and scrapped their plates into the trash. In our home we always had a Chock full o'Nuts coffee can under the kitchen sink because Jackie Robinson yes, The. Jackie. Robinson. was Chock full o'Nuts vice president and my Uncle, a baseball fan, insisted Chock full o'Nuts was the best coffee. When did we become a nation of people who put everything down the drain? Now counties and cities have developed education and outreach campaigns to get you to stop pouring grease down the drain.

Fats can often be reused. There are a number of fats, like bacon grease, chicken fat and duck fat that can be used for imparting their flavor into other foods. Bacon grease can be used in making corn bread or adding a little flavor to hash browns. Schmaltz is clarified chicken, duck or goose fat used for frying, cooking or as a spread on bread in Central European cuisine, particularly Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine. The whipped fat has a fluffy, rich essence of fried chicken that adds a richness of flavor when incorporated into veggies, breads and meat dishes. I am more experienced with poultry fat than bacon fat, but it’s the same idea. These fats should be stored in a sealed container in the freezer or refrigerator. Cooking oil like vegetable, canola, and peanut oil, can all be used again. Store in a tightly sealed container, in a cool, dark place. That old coffee can under the sink or refrigerator .

Once you have gotten as much use as you can out of your grease and fat, dispose of the FOG in your trash in a solid form. I line an old plastic container with aluminum foil and refrigerate it until it is hard. Pull the solid grease out and put it in a zip lock bag with my trash.

To dispose of FOG in your trash, first make sure it is in solid form:
  • For small amounts in a pan, let the grease cool and solidify and then wipe with paper towels, wiping thoroughly before washing. 
  • Pour the grease into a lidded container with wood shavings or cat litter to throw in the trash. 
  • Place the grease in a strong container (tin can, coffee can or bottle) and freeze until solid. Then dispose in the trash. 

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Wildfires and Summer Can Impact Air Quality



Sixteen forest fires are burning across California with no end in sight. The state’s largest fire on record was last year’s Ventura County fire which burned 282,000 acres. In California they name fires- it was called the Thomas Fire. This year’s Mendocino Complex fire had already burned 283,000 acres and only hopes that firefighters will manage to control those fires this week. Air quality in California north of Yuba City is “Unhealthy” due to all the smoket and particulates in the air. Air quality in the Rogue Valley of southwestern Oregon has worsened to “Hazardous” after a change in wind direction pushed more wildfire smoke from California into the area. The wind is blowing northwest.

Poor air quality can hurt the very young, the elderly and the sick. When particulate pollution is high it is best to stay indoors. On hot summer days even in areas without wildfires, air quality can be impacted. Before you drive your kids out to soccer practice or a game, check the air quality. Long term exposure to particulate pollution can cause premature death in people with pre-existing cardiac or respiratory disease, but it is simply not healthy to send the kids out to exert themselves on poor air quality days.

Air pollution in the form of fine particles with diameters smaller than 2.5 microns, called PM 2.5, lodge in the lungs which can aggravate other conditions both immediately and long term –cutting months off of lives. This fine particulate matter can have immediate health impacts: itchy, watery eyes, increased respiratory symptoms such as irritation of the airways, coughing or difficulty breathing and aggravated asthma. Long term health effects can result from both short-term and long-term exposure to particulate pollution. Two major studies pne called the "Harvard Six Cities" and the other the American Cancer Society study, both outlined the connections between human health and exposure to fine particles.

PM 2.5 is either directly emitted or formed in the atmosphere. Directly-emitted particles come from a variety of sources such as cars, trucks, buses, industrial facilities, power plants, construction sites, tilled fields, unpaved roads, stone crushing, and burning of wood and the vast fires burning California now. Other particles are formed indirectly when gases produced by fossil fuel combustion react with sunlight and water vapor. Combustion from motor vehicles, power plants, and refineries emit particles directly and emit precursor pollutants that form secondary particulates. Ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate are the principal components of secondary particulates.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, requires states to monitor air quality and ensure that it meets minimum air quality standards. The US EPA has established both annual and 24-hour PM2.5 air quality standards (as well as standards for other pollutants). The annual standard is now 12 ug/m3 (an AQI of 39). The 24-hr standard is 35 ug/m3 (an AQI of 99.

The reason I had been thinking about air quality was the fires burning in California. This will be the second year in a row that that California has recorded the state’s “largest fire in recorded history.” California’s expanding development into the chaparral and sagebrush, lack of proper management of their forested areas combined with longer droughts seems to have brought more fires. We need to plan for the future that is coming.

Just as I keep an eye on my water quality I also spot check the local air quality. The developing world is expanding their air pollution, the United States and most of the western developed world continues to reduce air pollution. Environmental and weather events like wildfires and inversion layers can impact our air quality. If you want to take a look at real time particulate pollution levels you can see what the monitors nearest your home are reporting. Recall that the levels are reported in AQI (0-50 AQI is good air quality and 51-99 is moderate air quality). Long Park in Haymarket Virginia was reporting an AQI level of 31 as I was finishing this article. Long Park is about 3 miles from my house down route 15.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Climate Change and Cape Town

Cape Town is South Africa’s second largest city. This past spring after three years of persistent drought, the city was almost out of water. The government was forced to limit water use to 50 liters per person per day (that's 13 gallons a day) in hopes of preserving water supply until the rains or be forced to turn off most of its taps to preserve water for hospitals and other essential and urgent needs.

In fear of what the South Africans called "Day Zero” – when the city will no longer have running water, the citizens cut back. The rainy season this winter (recall that Cape Town is in the Southern Hemisphere) started early in their winter and fell at rates closer to the long term average than in the previous three years. The city’s dams are reported to be half full. Cape Town officials hope to relax water restrictions in the next few months. Residents of the Washington DC metropolitan area use about 300 liters of water per day per person- personally it is hard to imagine going months using one sixth of my usual amount of water.

The early winter rains easing the drought have given local officials and politicians the time they need to review the water augmentation schemes launched at the height of the drought crisis to establish the best mix. City of Cape Town Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson said in the South African “News24”: "Now that we have navigated our way through the immediate drought crisis, it is necessary that we review our water supply strategy and augmentation plans to ensure that what was devised in a time of crisis is appropriate for longer-term sustainability and resilience."

According to the city government the water crisis appears to have been caused by a combination of climate change- shifting weather patterns and city mismanagement. Municipal water comes primarily from surface reservoirs that rely entirely on rainwater, and were designed to withstand up to three years of lower-than-average rainfall. But with the growing population and a reported increased likelihood of drought, the city needs to have major backup or augmentation resources.

World Weather Attribution (WWA) says that their computer model using proxy data found that changing climate has made the recent drought three times more likely than in the past. WWA is a four year old international effort designed to sharpen and accelerate the scientific community’s ability to analyze and communicate the possible influence of climate change on extreme-weather events such as storms, floods, heat waves and droughts. WWA seeks to identify the human fingerprint on individual extreme-weather events. This has been the goal of the scientific community for more than a decade. Right now, studies of the attribution of extreme events such as those in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) take months to complete and are published long after the event.

A team brought together by WWA used the available southern Africa rainfall records to run several climate models. Rainfall records from Cape Town do not go back very far. The oldest rainfall records in the western cape region of Africa go back to 1930, but most are not that old. The WWA team used the data they had to run their climate models without the 1 degree C increase in temperature the earth has experienced since 1900 and then with the 1 degree C increase. The team concluded that changing climate tripled the risk of such a severe drought and if the planet warms a further degree it will triple again.

Cape Town needs to make its water supply sustainable and resilient to survive more frequent and longer droughts. With the increased demand from a growing population and economy, and with climate change models predicting a drier Cape Town, the City has realized that it cannot rely only on rainfall for future water supply.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Space X Launches new GRACE for NASA


Near the end of May, SpaceX conducted its tenth launch of the year using the flight-proven Falcon 9 rocket . In that launch, Space X’s Falcon 9 deployed five commercial Iridium communications satellites and the GRACE Follow-On Earth science mission for NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences.

The dual-satellite GRACE Follow-On mission, a partnership between NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), is a successor to the GRACE satellites that ceased operations last year after fifteen years of service. In January, NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences announced that a SpaceX Falcon 9 would carry the two GRACE-FO satellites as well as five Iridium Next communications satellites into low earth orbit. Originally, it was expected to launch in early 2018, according to NASA’s fiscal year 2018 budget proposal.

The Grace Follow-On satellites had been booked to fly aboard Dnepr, while Iridium had contracted for launches of the Russian vehicle to carry pairs of its spacecraft into orbit for testing. This was not possible due in part to the political situation with Russia . Iridium and the GFZ – who are responsible for arranging GRACE’s ride to orbit – agreed to share a launch on SpaceX’s more powerful Falcon 9 rocket, splitting the costs.

While similar in design to GRACE, GRACE-FO incorporates lessons learned from 15 years of GRACE operations. The changes made will improve the new mission’s satellite performance and reliability, as well as mission operations. GRACE-FO will also fly a technology demonstration of a new, more precise inter-satellite laser ranging interferometer, developed by a German/U.S. instrument team, for use in future generations of GRACE-like missions.GRACE maps Earth's gravity field by making accurate measurements of the distance between the two satellites, using GPS and a microwave ranging system. This allows scientists all over the world an efficient and accurate way to map Earth's gravity field.

GRACE data has provided a global picture of water storage trends for over a decade and could be an invaluable tool for understanding water resource availability. The GRACE mission is able to monitor monthly water storage changes on the planet. Regardless of whether water is solid, liquid or vapor, visible or invisible, it has mass, which exerts a gravitational pull. By tracking the changing pull of gravity very precisely around Earth, the U.S./German Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE, mission observed the movement of water around our planet from 2002 to 2017 -- from the top of the Himalayas to the depths of the ocean to deep underground. GRACE Follow-On will continue GRACE’s critical mission of tracking the evolution of Earth’s water cycle by monitoring changes in the distribution of mass on Earth.

Maintaining a consistent, continuous climate data record of water and mass transport in the Earth system over decades is essential to understand and differentiate short-term climate variability from long-term climate change. Because some climate patterns take several decades to unfold, the only way to determine whether a multi-year trend is representative of a long-term change is to extend the length of the observational record. Monitoring changes in ice sheets and glaciers, underground water storage, the amount of water in large lakes and rivers, and changes in sea level provides a unique view of Earth’s evolving climate and its water and energy cycles, with far-reaching societal benefits.

  • Tracking mass changes of Earth's polar ice sheets. 
  • Estimating global groundwater storage changes. 
  • Measuring mass changes caused by large earthquakes. 
  • Inferring changes in deep ocean currents, a driving force in climate. 



Monday, July 30, 2018

Oyster Farmers Helping to Restore the Chesapeake Bay

Though I volunteer with the local conservation district, I don’t often think of aquaculture as part of the Virginia farming or the Chesapeake Bay restoration TMDL. Karen Hudson Shellfish Aquaculture Specialist from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science spoke to the Potomac Watershed Round Table this month and showed me how much shellfish aquaculture is part of our environment and our plans to restore the Bay. The article below is based on Karen’s talk and her published work.

Today, watermen harvest both hard clams and oysters from the Commonwealth’s waters, though volumes of clams and oyster are diminished from historic levels. In 2017 the total number of shellfish from Virginia was 53.4 million: 37.5 million Hard Clams and 15.9 million Oysters. In the 1850s, more than 150 million oysters were harvested from the Bay each year; three decades later, this number jumped to 2,000 million. At the turn of the twentieth century, the Bay’s oyster fishery was one of the most important in the United States.

However over-harvesting removed huge volumes of oysters from the Bay and led to the demise of the Bay’s healthy reefs. Over the decades the reefs were scraped away by dredging, oyster beds are now often limited to flat, thin layers of dead shell and live oysters spread over the Bay’s bottom. These damaged habitats offer less surface area for reef-dwelling oysters to inhabit, and can be easily buried by sediment.

Disease also befell the oysters. In 2010 it was estimated that by age three, 80% of the oyster po[ulation in the Virginia portion of the Bay would die due to disease. But in the past few years, research from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) has found that oysters are developing disease resistance, and now VIM is actively breeding greater distance resistance in native oyster strains and working with Virginia’s watermen-farmers to provide additional quantities of shellfish. VIMS created different strains by crossbreeding disease-resistant oysters from Louisiana and the Delaware Bay, then from five Virginia rivers (Rappahannock River, Great Wicomico River, Mobjack Bay, York River, and James River).

Clam and oyster farming, also known as aquaculture, is a booming, multi-million dollar industry in Virginia. Restoration is focused on oyster aquaculture and  the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the Commonwealth and Chesapeake Bay Foundation are encouraging oyster farming and gardening. Oyster gardening under private piers and along the shoreline of privately owned waterfront property is becoming increasingly popular among environmentally concerned citizens. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation holds training sessions in oyster gardening.

Oysters are the Chesapeake Bay's best natural filters. A single adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day. Oysters also provide essential habitat for fish and other Bay creatures. The eastern oyster is one of the most iconic species in the Chesapeake Bay. For more than a century, oysters  made up one of the region’s most valuable commercial fisheries, and the oysters which are filter-feeders continues to clean our waters and offer food and habitat to other animals.

However, over-harvesting, disease and habitat loss have led to a severe drop in oyster populations. Scientists are working to manage harvests, establish sanctuaries, overcome the effects of disease and restore reefs with hatchery-raised seed in an effort to bring back the oyster. In 2010, Maryland and Virginia embarked on a tributary-based restoration strategy that will build, seed and monitor reefs in several Maryland and Virginia waterways. This commitment was incorporated into the Chesapeake Bay TMDL restoration plan. By 2015, six Chesapeake Ba tributaries had been selected for oyster restoration: Harris Creek and the Little Choptank and Tred Avon rivers in Maryland, and the Lafayette, Lynnhaven and Piankatank rivers in Virginia.

According to a January 2018 update from Virginia Institute of Marine Science, 445 acres of oyster reefs are considered complete in the Lafayette River. Restoration targets are being developed for the Great Wicomico, York, Lynnhaven and Piankatank rivers. Historically, the only method of oyster “culture” was transplanting wild harvested oyster seed to leased growing grounds. In the 21st century that has changed. There are now two primary methods of hatchery based oyster aquaculture production in Virginia, intensive culture (containerized) and extensive culture (spat-on-shell). Both typically use the selectively breed genetically improved stocks and triploid, or “spawnless” oysters from Virginia Institute of Marine Science. VIMS developed the procedures to maintain adult brood-stock, manage their life cycle by altering temperature and the amount of algae provided as food, and to manage the oysters through their planktonic stage until they settle on a hard surface (becoming "spat") and begin to grow into adult oysters. It takes two years for VIMS to grow oysters before they are sold.

Intensive culture methods use cultchless, or single seed, containerized for predator protection. Containerization varies but generally consists of off-bottom cages, racks and in some cases, floats. Intensive oyster culture requires more labor in gear and product maintenance and is generally considered more expensive. However, the end result is a consistent and high quality product that has the ability to obtain a higher price in the boxed and half shell markets.

Extensive culture is also referred to as remote setting or spat-on-shell. The primary advantage of spat-on-shell cultivation is that it requires less labor and fewer materials than single oyster cultivation. Therefore, this method is a more economically feasible option for producing large quantities of local oysters for use by Virginia’s oyster processors. Oyster eyed larvae purchased from the hatchery (often owned by the watermen farmers) are transported to setting sites, struck on containerized oyster shells and ultimately planted directly on the bottom.

Because spat-on-shell cultivation produces oysters grown in clusters (similar to wild-caught oysters), the primary product is mostly oysters for shucking rather than single oysters for half-shell consumption. The spat-on-shell process has been enhanced since its start in 2008. Improvements in the quality of eyed larvae coming out of the hatcheries and optimized remote setting methods have cut in half the number of eyed larvae required per bushel of shell. In 2017, growers reported planting 34,000 bushels (or 3,400,000) a 31% decrease from 2016, but that is forecast to increase in 2018. The industry’s expansion depends on a consistent production of large quantities of eyed larvae, which can be problematic with poor water quality. The oysters themselves and all the activities to achieve the Chesapeake Bay TMDL goals will help with that.

Over the past century, the watershed has experienced a change in land use, as urban, suburban and agricultural areas have replaced forested lands and then urban and suburban replaced agriculture. This has increased the amount of nutrients and sediment entering our rivers and streams and contributed to the poor water quality that affects the oysters and all aquatic life. Excess nutrients of nitrogen and phosphorus fuel the growth of algae blooms that create low-oxygen “dead zones” that hinder the development of oyster larvae; sediment that washes off of roads and fields can suffocate oysters and other shellfish. Stress related to poor water quality can make oysters more susceptible to disease, and yet oysters filter water and contribute to the health of the Bay

To restore the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia needs to restore the oysters. Homeowners with access to a pier or dock can become oyster gardeners and raise oyster larvae at home, through oyster gardening programs, but the essential work is being coordinated by Shellfish Aquaculture programs at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

WSSC New Rate Structure is Approved

Following year long outreach effort to engage their customers and other stakeholders, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) has adopted a new tiered rater structure. Under the new rate structure the price for water increases as customers use more water and enter higher tiers (see chart below). This complies with the Maryland Water Conservation Act of 2002 and the Maryland Department of the Environment’s regulatory guidance that specifically identifies a tiered rate structure as a pricing strategy that encourages water conservation.

Though WSSC held or participated in more than 30 public meetings or hearings in the past year, there were only approximately 1,500 customers who attended the meetings and additional 2,500 who viewed the meetings online. WSSC serves 1.8 million residents through approximately 475,000 customer accounts. Less than 1% of the customer base participated in the process.

The reason for the new rate structure: The Maryland PSC directed WSSC to develop a new rate structure after ruling the current 16-tier structure was unreasonable because it was unduly preferential to low-usage customers. Under the newly approved rate structure, customers will be charged only for the water used in each tier. Currently, customers are charged at the highest tier of water used, back to the first drop of water.

Approximately 93% of all WSSC bills are for residential customers. The typical residential household size in the WSSC service area is reported to be three people. The new rate structure is expected to lower quarterly bills for a three-person household using 55 gallons of water per person per day. WSSC reports that 55 gallons is the average per person consumption for WSSC customers.

“The new rate structure sends a clear conservation message to our customers,” said WSSC General Manager and CEO Carla A. Reid. “This will allow us to comply with state law that requires public water systems to improve water conservation. The new rate structure also addresses affordability and significantly simplifies the rate structure for our customers.”

According to the WSSC, under the new rate structure, the average three member household will pay slightly less-$4.83 per quarter based on the FY18 revenue requirements. The rate structure was originally put in place to meet their pressing financial needs. The final rates adopted next year will probably be higher .


The new rate structure is intended to better align costs with rates, and to provide a more predictable revenue stream to pay for infrastructure improvements and debt service while being fair to all water users. At the end of fiscal year 2017, bonds and notes outstanding totaled $3,006.8 million, a $355.6 million increase in comparison to the previous fiscal year. During fiscal year 2017  WSSC needed to issue $382.0 million of Consolidated Public Improvement Bonds to fund new construction, rehabilitation and replacement of water and sewer infrastructure, and had to redeem $12.4 million in Notes as part of the debt service amortization. Funds from WSSC operations supplied $26.4 million as debt for repairs and improvements continues to grow.

For fiscal year 2018 WSSC has to pay $347,899,000 in principal maturities and $106,158,000 in interest less $ 3,279,000 in "Build America Debt Subsidies." The total debt service for fiscal year 2018 is $450.1 million. To meet the fiscal year 2018 debt service WSSC has sold it’s $459,250,000 Consolidated Public Improvement Bonds and it’s $299,255 Consolidated Public Improvement Refunding Bonds. With a slowdown in water use growth despite increasing population growth and increased capital investment needs to improve and repair the aging infrastructure, WSSC rates need to continue to rise for the utility maintain their systems, provide water and sewer to its customers, and pay its debts.

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Chesapeake Bay TMDL

At the July meeting of the Potomac Watershed Roundtable held in Westmoreland State Park, Ann Jennings, the Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia DEQ gave the group an update on the Chesapeake Bay TMDL and the process for development of the Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP). Ann was the former Chesapeake Bay Commission Virginia Director and a long time advocate for the Chesapeake Bay.

Virginia has begun development of the Phase III WIP to meet the water quality standards mandated for the Chesapeake Bay by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This summer, Ann is appearing everywhere trying to reach out to all stakeholders. In addition other organizations are doing the same trying to reach and get input from local elected officials and groups to facilitate discussions about the challenges, successes (so far), and opportunities communities across Virginia face in protecting and restoring the Chesapeake Bay and its tributary waterways. The idea is to foster a better understanding of the connection between local issues and priorities and the state's obligation and commitments to meeting the total Maximum Daily Load, TMDL.

The Chesapeake Bay TMDL focuses on reducing nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment, and is designed to ensure that all pollution control measures necessary to fully restore the Bay and its tidal rivers are in place by 2025. Each county of Virginia must meet its individual mandated reductions in the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution. The impact on the TMDL needs to become part of every discussion and decision within a locality.

During the development of the Phase III WIP, communities are looking to get more financial incentives and support from the state to guide and bolster implementation. A key goal for Phase III WIP is to create local strategies rather than focusing on statewide goals. We need to expand and increase the financial investment for and scope of cost-share programs that are operated in Virginia to reduce non-point source pollution. Overall in its final phase, connecting the WIP to local water quality is critically important.

Last year when we reached the mid-point in the pollution reduction plan, the EPA assessed our progress toward meeting the mandated nutrient and sediment pollutant load reductions. Using the Chesapeake Bay model, this midpoint assessment measured the state’s progress towards meeting the 2017 goal of having practices in place to achieve 60% of the pollution reductions from the 2009 levels.

The intent of the midpoint assessment was to allow us to make changes in our state programs and plans and develop the Phase III Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) that will allow us to meet the 2025 Chesapeake Bay restoration goals. For Virginia the EPA / the Chesapeake Bay Program recommended that we target stormwater and agriculture for additional reductions to meet the 2025 goals.

In Virginia EPA recommend increased funding to the Virginia Agriculture Cost Share program (VACS) and the Virginia Conservation Assistance Program (VCAP). These are cost-share programs that provide financial incentives for property owners to implement practices that reduce runoff of sediment and nutrient pollution on agricultural properties (VACS) and urban properties (VCAP).

According to Ms Jennings, Governor Northam is committed to a cleanup plan that meets the goal. So far, 84% of the reductions Virginia has achieved in these pollutants so far have come from improvements to our waste water treatment plants and 16% have come from our agriculture programs. Going forward the reductions in pollutants will have to come from a diverse list of sources. To meet its mandate TMDL targets Virginia needs to get 22% of the reductions from natural areas (forests and woodlands), 34% from agriculture, 22% from waste water treatment including septic, and 18% from stormwater in developed areas. In addition, impacts from climate change are now accounted for in the Chesapeake Bay model and the Coniwingo Dam will have its own WIP III goals.

Our local communities with help from state programs will have to determine how we are going to meet the pollution reduction goals. These goals will require lots of small actions by many stakeholders and homeowners, this is the hardest part of the TMDL. Planting of forest buffers, reducing runoff by using less fertilizer on lawns, golf courses and in agriculture, expanding stormwater management to slow rain water, increasing septic pump out frequency, expanding the reach and scope of the agricultural and urban best management practices and more. Implementation of these programs will take funding, not only for the programs and tracking to measure our success, but also for the outreach and education of the community. Everyone is going to need to participate for us to be successful.