.01 Purpose.

A. The purpose of this chapter is to establish a Water Quality Trading Program between the agricultural, stormwater, wastewater, and on-site sewage disposal sectors that attracts public and private participation and enhances Marylandís effort to protect and restore not only the water resources of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, but also local waters. Trading may supplement the more traditional governmental approaches for improving water quality and has the potential to achieve results faster and at a lower cost, accelerating efforts to restore and improve water quality. The Program expands opportunities for point sources and nonpoint sources by creating a water quality marketplace that allows them to meet and maintain pollutant load limits through the acquisition of credits generated by pollutant load reductions elsewhere in Marylandís portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed as long as the trade does not cause or contribute to a violation of State water quality standards.

B. General Structure of Program.

(1) The Program is voluntary and relies on a market-based approach to offer economic incentives for pollutant reductions from point and nonpoint sources.

(2) The State provides the infrastructure to support trading through an online suite of tools that includes:

(a) The Maryland Nutrient Tracking Tool used by agricultural credit generators;

(b) The central Registry; and

(c) The optional Marketplace.

(3) The price of each credit is negotiated between the credit seller and the credit buyer.