Press Release

EASTON, MD (June 13, 2007) – Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) Secretary Shari T. Wilson participated with local and state elected officials today to celebrate the opening of the Easton Wastewater Treatment Facility. The facility was the first to receive Bay Restoration Fund grants funding for the advanced technological upgrades.

“The upgrades completed at the Easton Wastewater Treatment Facility are an essential part of Maryland’s effort to achieve a 40 percent reduction in the amount of nutrients discharged to the Chesapeake Bay, while also improving local water quality to the Choptank River,” said MDE Secretary Shari T. Wilson.

The $36.5 million Easton project involved upgrading the existing 2.35 million gallons per day wastewater treatment plant to achieve Enhanced Nutrient Removal (ENR) with effluent concentration goals of 3.0 milligrams per liter (mg/l) for nitrogen and 0.3 mg/l phosphorus. The new facility will result in a decrease of nitrogen by 83 percent (a 182,000 pound reduction) and phosphorus by 81 percent (a 16,000 pound reduction) from entering the receiving Choptank River and the Chesapeake Bay. The upgrade will enable the community to meet the goals established for nutrient loads discharged to the Chesapeake Bay. MDE allocated $17.59 million in grants and more than $19 million in low interest loans for the wastewater facility.

“This state-of-the-art facility is the product of Easton’s long and proud commitment to improving and protecting our environment while still meeting the needs of our town,” said Hugh E. Grunden, President & CEO of Easton Utilities.

The Bay Restoration Fund provides the means to upgrade wastewater treatment plants to state-of-the-art ENR levels for removing nitrogen and phosphorus from plant effluent. Five facilities have completed upgrades to ENR and nine are now under construction. Excess nutrients lead to degraded water quality, which negatively impacts the ecology of the Bay and its tributaries.

Upgrading the facility will help Maryland’s effort to achieve a 40 percent reduction in the amount of nutrients discharged to the Chesapeake Bay and to meet its commitments under the Chesapeake Bay 2000 Agreement. When Maryland’s 66 major plants are upgraded through the fund, there will be a 7.5 million pound annual reduction in nitrogen and a 260,000-pound annual reduction in phosphorus flowing into the Bay’s tributaries.