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in millions of pounds per year
||2017 Interim Goal
|Go to Virginia's WIP website >>
Virginia's Constitution and state water control law require protection of waterways. View Article 11 of Virginia's Constitution that calls for Virginia waters to be protected from pollution. Read key Virginia water quality monitoring and cleanup laws.
Since 1985, Virginia and the Bay states have achieved about half the pollution reductions necessary to meet Bay restoration goals. A recent study of actual conditions in the Bay by the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University showed that the size of the Bay's oxygen-starved "dead zone" has shrunk specifically because of past pollution reductions.
Still, more than 12,000 miles of streams and rivers in Virginia and most of the Chesapeake Bay remain polluted from dirty water running off streets, parking lots, lawns, and farms, from poorly treated wastewater, air pollution, and other sources. Much work remains to be done.
The Phase I Watershed Implementation Plan
Virginia and the other Bay states agreed to develop state-specific plans to achieve their part of the Bay pollution limits by 2025. Virginia's plan, called a Watershed Implementation Plan or WIP, includes actions to be taken by farmers, sewage treatment plants, urban cities, rural towns, and citizens across Virginia's Bay watershed. EPA approved Virginia's "Phase I" WIP in 2010.
The Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan
For much of 2011, the 96 Virginia localities whose creeks and streams drain into the Bay have researched the best, most cost-effective strategies to further reduce pollution in their local waterways. If these localities clean and restore their local waters, Virginia should achieve its share of the Baywide pollution limits. Virginia localities were due to submit their local cleanup strategies to the state by Feb. 1, 2012. The state compiled the local plans and EPA commented on their Draft Phase II WIP on Feb. 15, 2012. Virginia submitted its "Phase II" WIP to EPA March 30, 2012.
Milestone Progress Reports
All of the Bay states agreed to implement 60 percent of their Bay cleanup plans by 2017 and 100 percent by 2025. To track progress, Virginia and the other states agreed to establish interim, two-year cleanup goals called milestones, and to publicly report progress toward achieving them beginning in 2011. The two-year milestones and progress reports are a critical tool to hold the states publicly accountable.
How Much Progress Has Virginia Made?
You can track progress for all Bay jurisdictions on EPA's Chesapeake Stat website. On EPA's Chesapeake Bay TMDL website you can read about progress already being realized.
What Obstacles Does the Cleanup Face?
Apathy, anti-Bay legislation, lawsuits, and a bad economy all threaten to derail the state-federal Bay cleanup. Yet most experts consider this the Chesapeake Bay's best, and perhaps last, chance for real restoration. The problems have been identified; we have the know-how and tools to fix them; and the benefits of a restored Chesapeake Bay manifestly outweigh cleanup costs. If we work together to make the pollution limits work, many scientists believe the Bay will reach a tipping point when improvements outpace pollution and the Bay rebounds exponentially.
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