The Clean Water Act requires that States set appropriate uses for their waters and adopt water quality standards that protect those uses. When waters do not meet these standards, the Act requires that a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) or "pollution diet" be established that sets the maximum amount of pollutants that a waterway can receive without violating water quality standards.
The Environmental Protection Agency, in conjunction with the Chesapeake Bay jurisdictions, established a TMDL for the Chesapeake Bay. This TMDL sets overall pollution limits for Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Total Suspended Solids and allocates required reductions in those pollutants of concern to the various states. The Commonwealth of Virginia has developed strategies to meet its required reductions in Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Total Suspended Solids. One of Virginia’s strategies is to require MS4 permittees (such as the City of Newport News) to achieve specific reductions in Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Total Suspended Solids that drain through stormwater runoff into the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
The City of Newport News, in accordance with its Individual MS4 Permit (issued by the Department of Environmental Quality on July 1, 2016), must demonstrate its ability to meet the required reductions in pollutant discharges through the development of a Chesapeake Bay TMDL Action Plan. The First Permit Cycle Chesapeake Bay TMDL Action Plan was submitted to the state on June 22, 2018. A draft Second Permit Cycle Chesapeake Bay TMDL Action Plan was submitted on December 30, 2020.