Press Release

ANNAPOLIS, MD (October 17, 2002) - Governor Parris N. Glendening announced yesterday Maryland Board of Public Works approval of a $4 million grant to the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) to finish th​e upgrade and expansion of WSSC’s Seneca Wastewater Treatment Plant near Gaithersburg.

“This project is in keeping with Maryland’s commitment to meet the objectives set forth in the Chesapeake Bay Agreement, which is to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus being discharged to the Bay and its tributaries,” said Governor Glendening.

The expansion consists of the planning, design and construction of a new 20 million gallons per day wastewater treatment plant with biological nutrient removal systems. The new facility, located adjacent to the existing 5 million gallons per day plant, will achieve nitrogen reductions down to 8 milligrams per liter and .5 milligrams per liter for phosphorus. The treated wastewater will then be discharged into Great Seneca Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River that flows into the Bay. Excessive nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus from point and non-point sources have been identified as a major cause for poor water quality in Chesapeake Bay.

“Returning clean water to our environment is a crucial part of our mission,” said WSSC General Manager John R. Griffin. “Seneca’s expansion completes the comprehensive upgrading of our wastewater treatment plant network for conventional biological nutrient removal and also supports our ongoing commitment to helping to restore the Chesapeake Bay.”

Total cost of the project is more than $69.5 million, more than $54.8 million of which is contributed by WSSC and Montgomery County. The state, through the Maryland Department of the Environment’s Water Quality Infrastructure Program, has contributed more than $14.7 million to the expansion.

The expansion began in the spring of 1999 and is expected to be complete by March of next year. Once complete the new facility will serve more than 33,000 residents in Montgomery County.

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.