My thoughts on Nutrient Pollution remediation in the 2015-2016 Plan Year for the Delaware Inland Bays Estuary
President, Inland Bays Foundation
Seventy percent of all Nutrient pollution comes from non- point sources (without a pipe), seventy percent of all non- point nutrient pollution comes from Agriculture. I intend for the Foundation’s focus during the plan year to be on non- point sources of nutrient pollution. That’s not to say we won’t continue to keep a sharp eye on issues related to Point Sources of pollution and also lobby and litigate to resolve those existing conditions. We also will abide by our stated strategy where ever possible- “Find and execute solutions using existing technology that is low cost (to the tax payer) and provides opportunities for Green jobs and business opportunities”. This will be a huge challenge and our focus will always have to be on the concept that the polluter will have to pay for the clean- up rather than the taxpayer unless we can find an innovative way to fund our solution through private enterprise.
Discussions with our Friends at the State Level and following the Chesapeake Bay (CBF) Foundation Guidelines we will focus on the following:
- Septic Remediation in our Watershed
- Cover Crops
- Proper use of fertilizer
- Ditch maintenance
- Forested and vegetative buffers
- Wild life and wetlands restoration
- Manure management: will not require extensive resources during the plan year. The Foundation has been a leader in working with the Sussex County Government, DNREC, our federal legislators to obtain the proper permitting and funding for going forward on this project. We also have been supportive of the Chesapeake Agrisoils (LLC formed by Perdue and US Agrisoils) efforts to build a litter and chicken plant by products (DAF) recycling to compost plant in Seaford, Delaware. No further effort is required at this time to bring the plant on line in January 2016 and begin recycling 80,000 tons of litter and waste to inert compost.
Septic Remediation- There are approximately 20,000 septics in our watershed. Of that number about 10- 15% are failing or have failed. A failed septic on a 3 bed, 2 bath house with two adults and two children can produce 2500 gallons of effluent outflow a month into our tributaries and Bays. Low cost or no cost loans are available to the homeowner to pay for the remediation and not the taxpayer. We will begin our quest for removal of this non- point source at our July meeting. Lobbying and Litigation efforts are expected.
Cover crops are funded by low cost loans from the USDA (NRCS and SCS) and directgrants from the state through the County Soil Conservation District. The Foundation will initially determine the effectiveness of the funding mechanism as it applies to the need for cover crops. If there is in-sufficient funding then our Lobbying Team will determine the next steps.
The remaining initiatives will be addressed on a TBD Schedule. Our job is clear- clean our waters by making the polluter pay for remediation and protect the taxpayer from “failed policies” that make the state and county vulnerable to lawsuits and fines.
Phase Two of our 2015-2016 Plan Year will be an effort to prevent pollution at itssource. In order to do that we must have a clear understanding of the Best Management Practices and their implementation processes associated with the Delaware Non Pointsource Program and the Delaware Pollution Control Strategy. Many of our Best Management Practices unfortunately are “VOLUNTARY” as defined by the state legislature and have little effect of the prevention of Nutrient Pollution. It will be our job to influence Regulatory and Legislative change to prevent nutrient pollution at its source. This will have to include language that describes inspections and enforcement.