EPA to control nitrogen pollution in Long Island Sound

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved a maximum value for the amount of nitrogen that can be safely handled by Long Island Sound, allowing the setting of limits for emissions from sources, such as sewage treatment plants.

The states of New York and Connecticut have set a total maximum daily load (TMDL) of nitrogen for the Sound, portions of which are allocated to point sources, such as wastewater treatment works, and to non-point sources, such as storm water runoff. The limit builds on a 1998 agreement with the EPA to cut the amount of nitrogen entering the Sound by 58.8% by 2014.

“This approval represents a major milestone in our joint effort to improve water quality in Long Island Sound to fully support marine life and recreation,” said Ira W Leighton Jr, Acting Regional Administrator of EPA New England.

Hypoxia resulting from nitrogen pollution affects the bottom waters of the Sound each summer, according to the EPA, rendering immense areas unfit for many marine species.

“The Sound is a precious resource – of vital importance environmentally and economically – and we must continue to take effective actions to restore and protect it,” said William J Muszynski, Acting Regional Administrator for the region. “This nitrogen limit we are approving is key to our efforts because it guides the states as they establish permit limits for point sources of nitrogen and address non-point sources of nitrogen.”

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