Sediment diet in works for South River (USA)
Author: 系统管理员Source: Updated: 2017-02-03

Sediment is the largest pollutant to the South River, by both volume and impact, according to the South River Federation, a nonprofit focused on cleaning up the river.

MDE's plan would establish a sediment TMDL, sometimes called a "pollution diet," for the nontidal streams in the South River's watershed. The tidal portion of the river is covered under the Chesapeake Bay TMDL set in 2010.

The proposed South River waterway sediment TMDL, outlined by MDE on Wednesday, calls for a 22 percent reduction of annual sediment loads.

South River Federation Executive Director Kate Fritz said the organization is still in the process of deciding whether the 22 percent reduction benchmark is the best one.

It is the first sediment cap MDE has set for a waterway in this part of the state.

"This is setting what could be a standard for the Severn River or the Magothy River or the West and Rhode rivers," Fritz said, "so it's important to get the first one right."

When sediment enters waterways, it contributes to murky waters that make it harder for sunlight to reach underwater grasses. The sediment around the South River also contains phosphorus, a nutrient that can fuel the growth of algae blooms in waterways. Murky water and algae blooms lead to low levels of oxygen, a problem for aquatic life like fish and crabs.

The proposed South River TMDL looks to reduce sediment in the water to a point that is considered good for aquatic life.

Under the proposed South River waterway TMDL, the bulk of the reduction in sediment would come from urban stormwater sources. The TMDL calls for an approximately 27 percent decrease in sediment loads from those sources. The proposal also calls for a reduction in sediment from agricultural sources.

The public comment period ends Feb. 21. After that, MDE will review and address public comments and send them, with the draft, to the Environmental Protection Agency for approval.

The public was invited to comment on the plan at Wednesday's meeting, which drew about 40 people.

A draft of the plan is available on the MDE website. The department has also put out a two-page factsheet on the proposed South River TMDL.


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