Pollution Limits by State

Pollution reduction by the six Bay states and the District of Columbia is essential to cleaning up the Bay.

Lucidity Information Design

Pollution flows downstream, across state boundaries. Without federal and interstate cooperation, downstream economies and environments suffer from the waste generated by their upstream neighbors.

That's why almost 30 years ago the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed the first of many inter-jurisdictional agreements with Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. The partners recognized the need for cooperative action if the Chesapeake Bay were ever to be removed from EPA's "dirty waters" list.

The Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint provides 15 years—from 2010 to 2025—to cut pollution to the minimum levels science says is necessary to restore the Bay to balance.

Goals for 2025
(in pounds / % reduction)
*% reduction based on 1985 data
Nitrogen 41,170,000 46%
Phosphorus 2,810,000 48%
Sediment 1,349,654,449 28%
Nitrogen. 78,995,996 37%
Phosphorus 3,570,897 40%
Sediment 1,945,232,075 35%
Nitrogen 52,587,957 38%
Phosphorus 6,402,043 44%
Sediment. 3,251,381,958 34%
Nitrogen 2,373,144 62%
Phosphorus 120,017 37%
Sediment 17,390,153 3%
Nitrogen 3,391,049 36%
Phosphorus 26,832 43%
Sediment 99,793,9360 17%
Nitrogen 8,850,000 40%
Phosphorus 642,878 49%
Sediment 304,493,436 19%
Nitrogen 5,023,284 21%
Phosphorus 634,523 29%
Sediment 372,586,544 28%
Nitrogen 207,571,430 40%
Phosphorus 14,457,190 43%
Sediment 7,340,532,551 32%

Source: Chesapeake Bay Program

How Will the States Achieve These Reductions?

To achieve these limits, all seven jurisdictions agreed to create and implement state-specific clean-up plans (called Watershed Implementation Plans, or WIPs). The goal of the WIPs is to have practices and programs in place to achieve 60 percent of their needed pollution reductions by 2017, and 100 percent by 2025.

NEXT: How the Bay states' plan to meet their goals.

State Watershed Implementation Plans

In addition, the Bay jurisdictions established and have committed to Milestones that describe the practices and programs they commit to implement every two years to ensure progress is being made. These Milestones are critical components to restoration efforts because they provide the mechanism to hold government accountable for short-term progress toward their long-term pollution-reduction goals. They enable the states and EPA to identify shortcomings and take corrective action before the deadlines are reached.

NEXT: Are we making progress?

Tracking Milestones

The Bay Needs You

The 2020 State of the Bay Report makes it clear that the Bay needs our support now more than ever. Your donation helps the Chesapeake Bay Foundation maintain our momentum toward a restored Bay, rivers, and streams for today and generations to come.

Donate Today


Do you enjoy working with others to help clean the Chesapeake Bay? Do you have a few hours to spare? Whether growing oysters, planting trees, or helping in our offices, there are plenty of ways you can contribute.

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