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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved a limit on the amount of nitrogen that the Long Island Sound can handle.
Nitrogen levels are linked to low levels of dissolved oxygen, a condition called hypoxia that is a serious water quality problem affecting the Sound.
This limit, called a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), will allow the Sound to meet water quality standards for dissolved oxygen. The TMDL allocates portions of the allowable level of nitrogen to pipe in the water point sources, such as sewage treatment plants, and nonpoint sources, such as stormwater runoff.
TMDLs are required for all polluted waterbodies. This TMDL, developed by the states of New York and Connecticut, builds on the 1998 agreement between the EPA and the states to cut the amount of nitrogen pouring into the Sound by 58.5 percent by 2014.
"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 Muszynski, acting regional administrator for EPA Region 2. "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 nonpoint sources of nitrogen."
Ira Leighton, Jr., acting regional administrator for EPA New England, added, "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."