A subtle, but important power shift may be on the horizon in Washington, and it is arising from lowly Element 15 on the Periodic Table. Phosphorus has begun to dominate water quality law around the country. Whether it is a permit appeal involving a new strict phosphorus limit or an enforcement action against a discharger for dumping too much into a water body, or a challenge to a new Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) or water quality standard, phosphorus, it seems, is everywhere these days. Florida has been grappling with nutrient issues on an epic scale for several years now in order to protect the Everglades, and the Chesapeake Bay TMDL is embroiled in litigation over, among other things, phosphorus loadings.
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