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In general, nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous reach the Chesapeake Bay from three sources: wastewater treatment plants; urban, suburban and agricultural runoff; and air pollution. Nutrients can also come from natural sources, like soil, plant material and wild animal waste.
Air pollution released into the Chesapeake Bay’s airshed will eventually fall back to the earth’s surface, where it could wind up in our rivers and streams. Airborne nitrogen, for example, is one of the largest sources of pollution affecting the Bay. Just over one-third of the nitrogen polluting the Bay comes from the air.