MC/PG 108-13 is a very bad bill coming soon to a committee near you. WSSC the people and organization who bring some of you water and take sewage away is seeking to an exemption from legislation that protects all of us from the negative impacts and harmful effects of exactly that sewage WSSC is charged with disposing of. This is so wrong on so many levels as to boggle the imagination. WSSC wants to externalize its costs onto the environment and the ecosystem because being responsible for and cleaning up the resulting long term mess would not be their problem. In essence WSSC is trimming short term costs to better serve you, by charging long term pollution clean-up costs to future generations who can't quite vote yet.
The regulations that WSSC thinks it should not have to follow are designed to achieve consistency in the way all sources of nutrients (such as solid organic wastes, manures, sludge) are managed and help Maryland meet nitrogen and phosphorus reduction goals spelled out in its Watershed Implementation Plan to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay. Nutrients, organic material, sediment and other pollutants are introduced to the Chesapeake Bay from a variety of sources. These are generally separated into two broad classes, point and nonpoint sources. Point sources, as the name implies, are inputs with a specific point of entry into the system. Municipal sewage and industrial discharges are examples of the major point sources of pollutants to the Bay. Nonpoint sources do not have a readily identifiable point of entry to the system or they may have many, diffuse points of entry to the system. Rain water runoff and ground water discharges are examples of the major nonpoint sources of pollutants to the Bay. [Maryland Department of Natural Resources Bay Monitoring]
According to the Maryland Department of Agriculture, "Nutrient Management regulations are necessary to achieve consistency in the way all sources of nutrients are managed and to ensure that Maryland meets its nutrient reduction goals. These goals are an essential part of the comprehensive Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP), a multi-state planning process to achieve nutrient and sediment reductions to protect and restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries by 2025."
And why do care? Because having a unified planning approach and not a series of individual disconnected data plans is the way to go as far as clean water is concerned. The Maryland Department of Agriculture implemented an approach to the revised regulations that will allow thousands of farmers and hundreds of wastewater treatment operations time to secure the financial and technical resources necessary to comply with the most immediate nutrient management provisions. To exempt one of these sources, such as the WSSC, compromises the objective of the regulations. The winter ban provision of the regulations will help reduce the risk of nutrient runoff into the bay during winter when there is not a growing crop to utilize the nutrients.
It falls on us, the citizens of Maryland, to once again reign in a quasi-governmental organization which thinks it is too big to actually follow the rules that the little people have to abide by - the same people who pay today and tomorrow.