Press Release

ANNAPOLIS, MD (December 14, 2000) – Working to significantly improve water quality in the historic C&O Canal, the Board of Public Works has announced the approval of a $100,000 grant increase to the City of Cumberland to continue revamping the city’s combined sewer system. This move follows the Board’s previous approval of over $1.4 million towards the effort. The total cost for the city’s comprehensive plan to separate stormwater from the city’s sewage collection system is estimated at more than $12 million. Funding for the partnership project is provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency along with state and local participation using various grant and loan sources.

"This effort demonstrates Maryland’s commitment to improving the quality of water flowing in the Potomac River and throughout Maryland," said Governor Parris N. Glendening. "We must continue to forge federal, state, and local partnerships if we are to systematically eliminate sewage overflows. By doing so, we will create a healthier way of life for ourselves and our families."

Sewage spills and overflows pose a threat to public health and contribute to the impairment of aquatic resources.

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has issued a complaint and order which has been filed in Allegany County Circuit Court requiring Cumberland to develop a long term compliance plan for addressing overflows throughout the city’s system. Similar enforcement actions have been filed against other western Maryland communities including: Frostburg, LaVale, Allegany County, and Westernport to address combined sewer overflow problems.

The Board acknowledged the special efforts of U.S. Senators Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski for supporting the federal contribution to the project. Governor Glendening stated that these western Maryland actions coincide with MDE’s statewide initiative to address combined sewer overflows and sanitary sewer overflows in order to clean up the state’s waterways.