Last year about this time I said it’s time for EPA to force agriculture to help clean the nation’s waters instead of forcing urban areas to do it all by themselves.

I’d just returned from the annual StormCon conference, where the agency’s proposed stormwater rule changes were presented. Basically, the plan is to squeeze urban areas harder for nutrient reduction while giving agricultural regions – the cause of much of the problem – a pass.

In June the agency blew its proposal deadline over new provisions for the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the 64,000-square-mile estuary that’s second only to the Gulf of Mexico’s “Dead Zone” in nutrient pollution. The delay might be why environmental groups immediately sued New York for deregulating dairies. Along with parts of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia, the state is part of the bay’s watershed.

EPA’s supposed to finalize new rules by Dec. 10, 2014. Will that happen? Who knows?

One thing’s certain: The rules will change. We’ll be at the American Public Works Association’s Stormwater Summit later this month, so e-mail sjohnston@hanleywood.com any questions you want us to chase down.