Press Release

ANNAPOLIS, MD (March 6, 2003) – Governor Robert L. Ehrlich announced Board of Public Works approval yesterday of a more than $1.1 million grant for Pocomoke City (Worcester County) to continue work to upgrade the municipality’s existing wastewater treatment plant to a biological nutrient removal (BNR) system.

“Nutrient removal at the Pocomoke City plant is crucial to the success of Maryland’s effort to achieve critical reductions in the amount of nutrients being discharged into the Chesapeake Bay,” Governor Ehrlich said. “This project will reduce nutrient deposits into the Bay, improving aquatic habitat.”

Excess nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorus, lead to degraded water quality, which negatively impact the ecology of the Bay and its tributaries.

The project upgrade to Pocomoke City’s existing wastewater treatment plant includes the planning, design and construction of a full-scale BNR system to allow the 1.47 million gallons-per-day plant to remove total nitrogen to an annual average of 8 milligrams per liter or better.

“This project will have several beneficial effects in our community, on the Pocomoke River itself and help the State reach its nutrient reduction goals,” said Pocomoke City Mayor Marion Butler. “We are pleased to be a part of this important region wide effort.”

The total cost of the project is more than $4 million. The grant dollars from today’s action will come from the Maryland Department of the Environment’s (MDE) Water Quality Infrastructure Program. MDE has previously awarded the city $1.2 million in funding for the project. The remaining balance of the costs will be provided through a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant and local participation of more than $475,000. Construction on the upgrade began last month and is slated for completion in October 2004.