Baltimore, MD (May 28, 2008) The Maryland Water Quality Financing Administration (MWQFA), a unit of the Maryland Department of the Environment, will begin selling its inaugural Bay Restoration Fund (BRF) revenue bonds in an amount up to $50 million during the week of June 9, 2008. The Board of Public Works approved this bond issuance at their February 27, 2008 meeting. The bond revenues will provide grants to local governments to upgrade wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) with enhanced nutrient removal (ENR) technologies. Enhanced nutrient removal technologies significantly reduce nitrogen and phosphorus discharges to the Chesapeake Bay.
“Upgrading our wastewater treatment plants is critical to reducing nutrient pollution in the Chesapeake Bay,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “We are leveraging the bond proceeds from the Fee that we all pay to make each dollar go as far as possible to fund and expedite construction of ENR projects at major wastewater treatment plants.”
“The ENR upgrades will enable Maryland to meet one-third of our nutrient reduction commitment under the Chesapeake Bay Agreement,” said MDE Secretary Shari T. Wilson. “Once complete, Bay Restoration Funds will have added ENR technology to Maryland’s 66 largest plants which account for 95% of the wastewater treatment plant discharges to the Bay.”
The Bay Restoration Act implemented a fee of $2.50 per month per equivalent dwelling unit, starting January 1, 2005, on users of WWTPs. The Act created a dedicated fund to provide grants to owners of WWTPs to upgrade the 66 largest facilities in Maryland with ENR technologies capable of achieving wastewater effluent quality of 3 mg/l total nitrogen and 0.3 mg/l total phosphorus.
Upon completion of these ENR upgrades, Maryland will further reduce nitrogen loading to the Chesapeake Bay by over 7.5 million pounds per year and phosphorus by over 260,000 pounds per year. This represents over one-third of Maryland’s nutrient reduction commitment under the Chesapeake Bay 2000 Agreement. To finance the ENR upgrades at major WWTPs, the MWQFA will periodically sell revenue bonds, which will be secured by BRF fees generated from users of WWTPs.