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1555 Highlands Drive
Suite 110
Lititz, PA 17543
Phone:  (717) 626-1776
FAX:  (717) 626-4234

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PO Box 202097
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Lancaster County Agricultural Community Makes Progress on Chesapeake Bay Clean Up Efforts
For years, an effort to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and to control farm runoff from Lancaster County, which feeds into the bay, has been underway with varying degrees of progress. New data, however, suggests that our efforts in Lancaster County are beginning to turn the tide.

In 2010, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set strict standards on the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that are allowed to flow into the Chesapeake Bay via the Susquehanna River. Since that time, Lancaster County has been ground-zero for the efforts to reduce the amount of these pollutants that flow into our waterways.

Nitrogen and phosphorus are the two key nutrient components of fertilizers and animal manure that local farmers use to keep their lands prosperous. Reforms in Lancaster County, as one of the top agricultural producers in the state and nation, are central to ensuring that the multi-state effort to reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay is successful.

While there are strict standards from the federal government on the allowable amount of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, there is also a greater need to quantify the results of ongoing efforts to curb pollution. Recent EPA calculations have not taken into consideration efforts of Lancaster County farmers to control farmland runoff. Simple solutions like planting certain grasses, grains or clovers can recycle excess nitrogen and planting trees or shrubbery around buffer areas to local waterways can absorb or filter out these nutrients before they reach a waterway.

To be clear, however, this is not solely an issue within the agricultural community. It is also an issue that affects urban and suburban communities as well. Steps must be taken to collect and manage storm water runoff. With recent May rain showers, as you plant your garden beds this year, be mindful about the amount of fertilizer you use.

The Lancaster County Conservation District, which has been central to this issue, will begin an intensive effort to work with the agricultural community to ensure that farmers are compliant and are making efforts to improve their own lands to limit possible pollution. Farmers are being education about best management practices and simple ways that we can all work together to improve the environment around us.

While we have made progress, there is always more we can do and I am thankful for the involvement of the Lancaster County Conservation District in these efforts. The next comprehensive review by the EPA will be held in 2017, which will demonstrate the success of our efforts and the continued work that we must do to be responsible stewards of the Chesapeake Bay.

Representative Steven Mentzer
97th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Eric Reath
717.260.6187 /

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