Since Conowingo Dam’s construction in 1929, sediments flowing down the Susquehanna River have been building up in its reservoir. Recent studies by the U.S. Geological Survey indicate that the reservoir is effectively full of sediment which means that more of those sediments, and the nutrients associated with them, are washing downstream into Chesapeake Bay during storms. A follow up study led by the Department’s of Environment and Natural Resources, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Susquehanna River Basin Commission and EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program found that those sediments and nutrients are contributing to dissolved oxygen impairments in the Chesapeake Bay.
The Governor has made addressing Conowingo Dam’s pollution impacts a priority in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay Restoration effort and the State must certify that water quality standards will continue to be met with Dam operation. The Conowingo Sediment Characterization and Innovative Reuse and Beneficial Use pilot project will provide Maryland with better information on dredging costs, dredged material reuse options, scaling, and feasibility as a solution for addressing Conowingo’s impacts. A revised request for proposals for this project was issued with bids due by 2:00 PM on November 13th. State partners on this pilot project include the Maryland Environmental Service, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland Geological Survey.
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