Press Release

ANNAPOLIS, MD (October 17, 2002) – Governor Parris N. Glendening announced yesterday Maryland Board of Public Works approval of a $271,000 grant to the City of Cumberland to assist in putting an end to sewage overflows related to antiquated infrastructure in the city.

“Cumberland officials understand the importance of eliminating these overflows which will lead to improved water quality, aquatic life and human health,” said Governor Glendening.

Like many older cities across the country, Cumberland’s sanitary sewer and stormwater collection systems are combined. During high flow periods, primarily in response to heavy precipitation, the city’s collection system is overwhelmed and discharges low strength sewage into Wills Creek, Evitts Creek and the Potomac River. The funding will allow for the planning, design and construction of sewer system improvements near the C&O Canal that will eliminate 17 overflow points in several phases.

“Reducing combined sewer overflows is an enormous project that is not affordable for local citizens without state and federal aid,” said Cumberland Mayor Lee N. Fiedler. “This project is also important to allow the re-watering of the C&O Canal project in Cumberland to proceed on schedule.”

Total cost of the project is more than $29.8 million, more than $3 million of which will be contributed by the city. The state, through MDE’s Water Quality Infrastructure Program, has contributed more than $2 million to the infrastructure upgrades with more pending. A $2 million state loan and additional resources from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will round out the cost. Work is expected to begin later this year with the first phase of the improvements to be complete by June 2004.

Yesterday’s Board action came just two days before the 30th anniversary of the federal Clean Water Act. That groundbreaking federal legislation helped ensure the future of Maryland’s water quality and environment by expanding and building upon existing laws designed to control and prevent water pollution.