Press Release

BLADENSBURG, MD (June 2, 2009) – Today, standing in front of the Anacostia River, and joined by members of Maryland’s Congressional Delegation, the Environmental Protection Agency awarded the Maryland Department of the Environment a $121.6 million check to fund Maryland water quality and drinking water projects under President Barack Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). ARRA funding will enable construction of water infrastructure projects that are estimated to create hundreds of jobs, and that will protect public health, improve the environment, and help clean up the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland waterways. Per MDE’s extensive screening process to review nearly 600 applicants for ARRA funding, every county in Maryland is proposed to receive some clean water recovery funding.

A total of $92.8 million is proposed for pollution reduction projects, including wastewater treatment improvements, sewer upgrades, and stormwater runoff controls; $26.4 million is proposed for improvements to drinking water treatment, water storage, and wells. Today’s event highlighted a $4 million grant to the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission for repairs to the Lower Anacostia Sewer Main and Lateral Lining, located in one of the State’s Environmental Benefits Districts, as one of 95 proposed projects to receive grants and/or low interest loans through ARRA.

“I want to thank President Obama and Maryland’s federal delegation for working so hard to secure these Recovery and Reinvestment funds,” said Governor O’Malley. “Today, thanks to the EPA, our Congressional Delegation, and President Obama, the state of Maryland has a ‘shot in the arm’ for clean water and the Chesapeake Bay. This clean water recovery funding will not only create jobs; it will directly benefit public health and quality of life and protect our environment – including our Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts and our work to fight climate change.”

“Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help jumpstart our economy in Maryland and across the country. The funds announced today will be critical to shoring up the needs of our aging water infrastructure system, creating jobs and investing in our future economic growth,” said Senator Cardin. “Americans have a right to clean water flowing through their streams, rivers, and bays. And we all have a right to clean, healthy drinking water. As Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, in addition to helping secure Recovery Act funds, I’m also working to ensure passage of the Water Infrastructure Financing Act, which will provide a strong foundation for our nation's drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in the long-term.”

“These federal funds will provide a much needed update to Maryland’s aging water system, while protecting public health and the health of the Chesapeake Bay,” said Senator Mikulski, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “At the same time, this funding will help take the burden off local taxpayers and create and save jobs all across Maryland. I will keep fighting to put funding in the federal checkbook to invest in our nation’s infrastructure and create jobs in Maryland.”

“Rebuilding our economy is our top priority, and the Recovery Act is the cornerstone of this effort. This legislation has made historic investments in our country, including improving drinking water and advancing clean water projects. The $121.6 million being presented to the Maryland Department of Environment today will allow the State to fund projects that will put Marylanders back to work, improve infrastructure, and protect the environment and public health,” said Congressman Van Hollen. “The benefits of this investment will be felt here in suburban Maryland and across the State.”

Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Shari T. Wilson said: “This much-needed funding will not only provide hundreds of jobs across our State, it will help safeguard our drinking water and accelerate our efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay.”

Per ARRA, the Environmental Protection Agency will provide funding for grants and/or loans through MDE’s existing Water Quality and Drinking Water Quality Revolving Loan Funds. In February 2009, just days after President Obama signed the federal recovery act into law, the Maryland Department of the Environment announced its anticipated ARRA funding and encouraged local jurisdictions to apply. In response, the Agency received an unprecedented number of requests for the ARRA funding; in February and March 2009, MDE received $3.7 billion in requests for water/wastewater projects.

The proposed funds were allocated based on readiness to proceed, as well as maximum environmental and health benefits, and will benefit every region of the State. The list and a map of ARRA projects to be funded through the Water Quality and Drinking Water Revolving Loan Funds can be found on our website.

This press release was edited after publication.