ANNAPOLIS, MD (October 18, 2002) – In recognition of the 30th anniversary of the passage of the federal Clean Water Act, Governor Parris N. Glendening today proclaimed Clean Water Day in Maryland. Passed on October 18, 1972, the Clean Water Act made it illegal to pollute the waters of the United States, setting for the first time measurable standards for water quality and holding industries and governments responsible for the adequate treatment of the waters of the nation.
“The authors of the Clean Water Act were not just trying to insure that the nation’s clean waters remained clean, they were working to undo the damage of centuries of ignorance and neglect,” said Governor Glendening. “Over the past 30 years, we have shouldered the responsibility bestowed upon us by those far-sighted legislators. We have made solid progress in our efforts to preserve and protect our rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. I have proclaimed today ‘Maryland Clean Water Day’ to honor those who fought for this historic legislation and to further encourage Marylanders to preserve our water resources.”
The Governor noted that some of Maryland’s most significant achievements in water quality improvement have been in the area of nutrient reductions from wastewater treatment plants. Statewide, with the implementation of biological nutrient removal (BNR) systems at major wastewater treatment plants, Maryland has seen a 49 percent reduction in nitrogen in our waters – and a 45 percent reduction in the Patuxent River. The combination of the banning of phosphates in detergents and technological enhancements in treatment have resulted in the reduction of phosphorus from all wastewater facilities by 74 percent in the Patuxent River watershed, and 62 percent Statewide.
Since the inception of the State’s BNR cost-share program in 1984, a total of $178 million has been authorized to fund projects throughout the state. During Governor Glendening’s Administration,the funding levels for BNR have grown significantly to reflect the increasing levels of construction dollars needed to implement these critical projects. In addition, discussions are underway regarding ways to finance the lower levels of nutrient removal needed to reach Chesapeake 2000 Agreement goals and at the same time accommodate Smart Growth. Since the cleanliness and health of rivers and streams has been found to be directly proportional to how the land around them is used, the implementation of Smart Growth initiatives and the reduction of urban sprawl has had significant positive impact.
“Thirty years ago, our nation adopted the Clean Water Act and established ambitious goals for better water quality,” said Department of Natural Resources Secretary J. Charles Fox. “We have made significant progress. Looking forward to the next 30 years, it will take continued strong leadership to provide clean water for our community and our living resources.”
The restoration of streams and wetlands in Maryland has been an important part of Maryland’s water quality improvement strategy. Statewide, more than 144,260 linear feet of streams, funded under Governor Glendening’s Administration, have been restored. In 1998, the Governor committed Maryland to restoring 60,000 acres of wetlands, with 15,000 acres to be completed by 2010. Only four years into that project, nearly half that goal has been reached with 7,200 acres of wetlands already restored or created. Another significant achievement was the restoration of more than 600 miles of streamside forests providing significant environmental buffers for Maryland’s waterways.
“Of the many successes we celebrate on this 30th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, special recognition should be given to the many groups of dedicated citizens who are working to protect our waterways,” said Anne Arundel County Executive Janet Owens. “By restoring our streams, planting sea grasses and planting oyster beds to help with filtration, these citizens are working to protect one our most valuable natural resources. We can all agree that we have much to be proud of, but there is still so much more to be done.”
“Clean water results not only from regulatory actions by the government, but from the positive actions and dedication of citizens and industries who have made significant commitments to reduce pollution and protect our waters,” said Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Richard F. Pecora. “It requires a team effort of all members in a watershed to work together toward the common goals outlined in this landmark legislation.”
While acknowledging the many accomplishments and significant achievements of the past 30 years, the Governor cautioned that there is still much that needs to be done before the full objectives of the Clean Water Act are realized. The Governor called for additional federal funding, legislation and rigorous enforcement of existing laws.
Governor Glendening's Environmental Accomplishments