Press Release

ANNAPOLIS, MD (January 7, 2004) -- Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. announced Board of Public Works approval of a $260,000 grant to the City of Cumberland, adding to the board’s previous approval of more than $2.3 million for improvements to the city’s combined sewer system.

The city has a system that combines its stormwater and sanitary sewer functions. In times of heavy precipitation, the system overflows into local waterways causing potential health impacts and dumping excessive nutrients into the water.

“Excess nutrients lead to degraded water quality, which contributes to the impairment of aquatic resources,” Governor Ehrlich said. “This project will significantly improve local water quality in Wills and Evitts creeks as well as the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. Additionally, this effort demonstrates Maryland’s commitment to systematically eliminating sewage overflows.”

The total cost to separate stormwater from the city’s sewage collection system is estimated at more than $29.8 million. Funding for the project is provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency along with state and local participation using various grant and loan sources, including the Maryland Department of the Environment’s (MDE) Water Quality Infrastructure Program.

“This combination of funds will allow Cumberland to continue its multi-phased combined sewer overflow reduction project,” said John J. Di Fonzo, Cumberland’s director of engineering. “Reducing combined sewer overflows is an enormous effort that is not affordable for local citizens without state and federal aid.”

The project entails the planning, design and construction of Cumberland’s sewer infrastructure and is a pre-requisite to rewatering of the C&O Canal, a major tourism initiative of the area.

MDE's primary mission is to protect and restore the quality of Maryland's air, water, and land resources. The department works to ensure achievement of the state's environmental goals while fostering economic development, safe communities, and environmental education.