Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Report finds poultry farming sends more pollution to Chesapeake Bay than previously thought

May 1, 2020

StateImpact Pennsylvania — by Rachel McDevitt — May 1, 2020

"An environmental watchdog group says emissions from poultry farms are having a larger impact on the Chesapeake Bay than previously thought.  

The Environmental Integrity Project’s (EIP) analysis estimates that about 1 million more pounds of nitrogen pollution are entering the Chesapeake Bay each year from the poultry industry than state and federal cleanup programs estimate.  

It said that’s because the Environmental Protection Agency is using outdated information to account for ammonia emissions from chicken barns. The gas breaks down in the environment and releases nitrogen.  

EIP took 2018 data from the federal and state Chesapeake Bay Program on the amount of pollution entering the bay’s tidal waters and used information from recent emissions studies and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest farm census to adjust for new estimates. It said ammonia air pollution from the poultry industry in bay states contributes about 12 million pounds of nitrogen to the bay every year, bringing total nitrogen runoff to about 24 million pounds annually.

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Press Secretary Shannon Powers said in a statement that state law exempts air emissions from animal waste from reporting to the EPA.

“The estimate of additional nitrogen cited in the report, though it sounds significant, is a small fraction of the total nitrogen and is likely attributable to a rounding error due to unknowns and assumptions used in interpreting the Bay Model,” Powers said. . ."

Read the full story at StateImpact Pennsylvania


For more information:
USGS updates trends for nutrients and sediment in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed


« Return to Chesapeake Bay Activities — News

Get Our News

These items are in the RSS feed format (Really Simple Syndication) based on categories such as topics, locations, and more. You can install and RSS reader browser extension, software, or use a third-party service to receive immediate news updates depending on the feed that you have added. If you click the feed links below, they may look strange because they are simply XML code. An RSS reader can easily read this code and push out a notification to you when something new is posted to our site.