CHESPEAKE BEACH, Maryland (February 20, 2004) – Chesapeake Beach will be one of the first municipalities in Maryland to have a state-of-the art wastewater treatment plant, the acting secretary of the environment announced today.
Kendl P. Philbrick, the acting secretary, said that the current Maryland Department of the Environment budget includes $50,000 to plan the upgrade of the town’s plant, the first step in adopting Enhanced Nutrient Removal (ENR) technology. The Board of Public Works will be asked to approve the expenditure in the near future.
“Governor Ehrlich has made it one of his highest priorities to install the best technology available in Maryland’s major wastewater treatment plants,” Philbrick said. “It is fitting that Chesapeake Beach will be among the first to achieve maximum nutrient removal.”
The order in which plant upgrades will be funded has not been established, but Chesapeake Beach is expected to be among the first, Philbrick said. Priority will be determined by the reduction achieved by the upgrade and the readiness of each plant to begin the project.
The town was one of the first jurisdictions to upgrade its plant to Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR), over a decade ago.
“We are absolutely thrilled,” Gerald Donovan, the mayor of Chesapeake Beach said. “We want to take the lead and join the governor in his effort to restore the Chesapeake Beach to its former health.”
BNR technology reduces nitrogen in effluent to 7-8 milligrams per liter. ENR will further reduce the amount of nitrogen to 3-4 milligrams per liter. Nitrogen is a major factor in the deterioration in the quality of the bay.
Governor Robert L. Ehrlich has proposed legislation that would finance upgrades at the 66 major wastewater treatment plants in the state. The fund would impose a monthly $2.50 fee on households (or household equivalents in the case of businesses) served by wastewater treatment plants. Proceeds – about $66 million a year – would be used to pay off bonds sold to finance the upgrades.
While there are hundreds of wastewater treatment plants in Maryland, the 66 major plants – including Chesapeake Beach – produce 95 percent of sewage effluent into the bay and its tributaries, and reducing nitrogen to 3 milligrams per liter at those plants will reduce the amount that flows into the estuary by an estimated 7.5 million pounds per year.