The Town of Cape Charles is currently exploring purchasing credits for the nonpoint nutrient trading bank. Certain management practices that will yield nutrient credits for sale through third party trading banks.
The credits are available for purchase by point-source facilities, owners of stormwater systems, and construction projects. Trading Banks on the Eastern Shore were not available until late 2019.
Nutrient trading programs are market based programs that involve the exchange of pollution allocations
between sources. Most programs involve exchanges between different point sources. Less common are
programs that allow point source to nonpoint source trades.
According to the Town staff, Cape Charles benefits by purchasing credits at a much lower cost than having to build and maintain nutrient reduction measures; i.e, a Jellyfish unit in the case of Phase 3 of the multi-use trail. This was included in the design before credits were available on the Eastern Shore. It now can be removed.
In 2001, the Chesapeake Bay Program published nutrient trading principles and guidelines that were endorsed
by the Bay Program partners. Some of the key principles, designed to serve as the foundation for trading
programs developed within the Bay watershed, are:
-Trades must not impair water quality or violate water quality standards or criteria, or adversely impact
living resources and habitat;
– Trading can occur only within each major Bay tributary; Any trading program must be consistent with federal, state, and local laws and regulations; and
– Traders must be in substantial compliance with all local, state, and federal environmental laws,
regulations and programs.
The 2005 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Nutrient Credit Exchange Program legislation authorized nutrient trading in Virginia’s portion of the Bay. This legislation required, as of July 1, 2005, permitted facilities to offset new or
increased nutrient discharges to the Bay and its tributaries. In addition, this legislation directed the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to develop and issue a watershed general permit for significant point source
discharges of nutrients to the Bay and its tributaries. The General Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) Watershed Permit Regulation for Total Nitrogen and Total Phosphorus Discharges and Nutrient Trading in the
Chesapeake Watershed in Virginia (9 VAC 25-820-10 et seq.), approved in 2006, defines new and expanded nutrient discharges and specifies how permitted facilities can offset new or expanded nutrient discharges to the Bay. The
watershed general permit and other regulations also require these facilities to install stringent, nutrient-removal equipment.