As required by the Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, EPA released A Model Program for Onsite Management in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed in June 2013. On April 16, 2015, the states of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia signed a Memorandum of Cooperation to share data developed to document the performance of advanced onsite pretreatment units for nitrogen reduction and, therefore, to simplify and expedite the approval processes for these technologies in each individual state, as well as reduce costs to residents and manufacturers. Prior to this MOC, all states nationwide approved systems on an individual basis and many do not take into account data collected by other state programs.
The benefits of sharing this data are:
- Provides certainty with agreed upon protocols that can be used by manufacturing community and shared between states
- Can bring new technologies via additional manufacturers to market more quickly and expand the use of nitrogen reducing treatment systems
- Reduces burden on states to individually monitor and evaluate performance data
- Reduce costs associated with technology approval can reduce the costs of systems and pass that savings along to the consumer
"The members of NOWRA are pleased to have participated in the Memorandum of Cooperation of the Chesapeake Bay Data Sharing Agreement, and the States’ ongoing efforts to include the concerns of the onsite wastewater industry," says Eric Casey, Executive Director of the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association. "This first step, in what we hope will be an ongoing process of looking to identify ways to speed up product approvals while lowering their associated costs, has the potential to greatly improve environmental and public health outcomes through reducing the regulatory barriers to product innovation."
These advanced treatment systems reduce nitrogen loading by an average minimum of 50 percent. Onsite system are the smallest source of nutrient loading to the Bay at 3-4% according the modeling efforts at the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program Office.