Press Release

ANNAPOLIS, MD (December 1, 1999) – The Maryland Board of Public Works approved a $1 million grant today for the design and construction of sewer system improvements near the C&O Canal to eliminate combined sewer system overflow points in Cumberland, Allegany County.

"Every community must have access to a safe, clean, and healthy water supply," said Governor Parris N. Glendening. "The State is pleased to help the city of Cumberland improve its sewer system, so that the system will not overflow and contaminate the region's water. Eliminating the sewage overflow points will improve water quality and aquatic life throughout Cumberland and Allegany County."

Today’s action was an increase to a previous $50,000 state grant, a $5 million EPA grant, and a $3 million grant from Allegany County. It is expected that an additional $1 million state grant and $2 million state loan will be sought for this large project.

The City of Cumberland’s combined stormwater/sewer system overflows discharge untreated low strength sewage into Wills Creek, Evitts Creek and the Potomac River during periods of heavy precipitation.

"Cumberland, like many other very old cities, was developed with combined storm and sanitary sewers. Under storm conditions, the overflows associated with these combined sewers add pollutants to the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay," said Cumberland Mayor Edward C. Athey. "Cumberland wants to be part of the solution to solving pollution problems; but, reducing combined sewer system overflows is an enormous project that is not affordable for the local citizens without state and federal aide."

Chaired by Governor Glendening, the Board of Public Works also is comprised of Comptroller William Donald Schaefer and Treasurer Richard N. Dixon. The Board is empowered by the General Assembly to approve major construction and consultant contracts, equipment purchases, property transactions and other procurement actions.