Press Release

BALTIMORE, MD (March 12, 2009) – The Maryland Department of the Environment received an unprecedented number of applications and requests for funds from the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that far outpace available funding -- by 30 to 1. As a result, today MDE announced the Agency will take additional time to thoroughly review all applications for funding.

Per ARRA, the Environmental Protection Agency will provide $121.6 million to MDE to award to local jurisdictions through the existing Water Quality and Drinking Water Quality Revolving Loan Funds. The Water Quality fund, which funds such pollution reduction projects as wastewater treatment improvements, sewer upgrades, and stormwater controls, will receive $94.8 million. The Drinking Water fund, which funds improvements to drinking water treatment, water storage, and wells, will receive $26.8 million. MDE has received 697 applications, totaling $3.8 billion, in requests for the $121.6 million available.

MDE Secretary Shari T. Wilson said “While the funding for clean water and drinking water programs coming our way will provide jobs, improve water quality, and help efforts to clean the Bay, the requests for funding far outpace the $121.6 million that Maryland will receive. MDE staff are thoroughly evaluating each of 697 applications from around the state -- for so many worthy projects -- and we plan to submit a list of proposed awards for federal approval by next week.”

The Agency had planned to announce proposed projects to receive stimulus funding by March 13th.

ARRA projects must be ready to begin work by the end of 2009, and at least 50 percent of the funds must be given out as grants. In addition, at least 20 percent of the total funds must go to “green infrastructure” projects such as urban forest projects and green roofs, or water or energy efficiency measures.

The stimulus funding adds $121.6 million in funding available to the State’s existing capital programs for this type of funding. In a typical year, existing capital programs provide approximately three times as much in funding for water quality and drinking water infrastructure projects as is being provided through ARRA.