Today at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Brock Environmental Center, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed legislation that will benefit the environment and the Chesapeake Bay. The bills, passed earlier this year by the Virginia General Assembly, do the following:
- Require upgrades that will significantly reduce pollution discharged from many Virginia sewage treatment plants (H.B. 2129, introduced in the House by Del. Alfonso Lopez and in the Senate by Sen. Emmett Hanger);
- Provide financial assistance to low-income property owners to repair or install septic systems, establish an advisory group to assess wastewater needs, and plan for climate change effects on wastewater treatment systems (S.B. 1396, introduced by Sen. Ghazala Hashmi), and;
- Ban the outdoor release of nonbiodegradable balloons (H.B. 2159, introduced by Del. Nancy Guy).
Chesapeake Bay Foundation Virginia Executive Director Peggy Sanner issued the following statement.
“Today, Governor Northam signs into law an historic package of bills that will lead to cleaner waters and a better quality of life for Virginians. The modernization of sewage treatment plants will dramatically reduce the amount of nitrogen pollution that reaches Virginia rivers and the Chesapeake Bay every year. Financial assistance will be available to many homeowners who have long struggled with failing septic systems— a win for both families and clean water. Preventing balloon releases outdoors will keep harmful litter from plaguing our waterways and threatening wildlife.
“With these bills, Governor Northam and Virginia legislators, led by Senators Hanger and Hashmi and Delegates Lopez and Guy, make historic progress toward clean streams and a restored Chesapeake Bay while ensuring the opportunity to benefit is equitably shared by all Virginians. We are grateful to these visionary leaders for their dedication to this work.”