Press Release

STEVENSVILLE, MD (March 18, 2005) – Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., Maryland’s Secretary of the Environment Kendl P. Philbrick and others marked another success in the administration’s environmental agenda today by breaking ground for the construction to upgrade the Kent Narrows/Stevensville/Grasonville Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Governor Ehrlich and Secretary Philbrick joined key Cabinet Secretaries, state and local elected officials and community leaders in a ceremony for the new wastewater treatment facility, the third municipal plant upgrade to be initiated since adoption of the landmark Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund.

“These types of projects will have a lasting impact on this state and the legacy we leave to future generations,” said Governor Ehrlich. “When complete this facility will shine as another symbol of our lasting commitment of producing a healthier Chesapeake Bay and safer environment. This and other upgraded plants are an essential part of Maryland’s long-standing effort toward achieving our commitment to reduce the amount of nutrients being discharged to the Bay.”

The fund is the most innovative environmental legislation in the past two decades, to remove nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater treatment plant effluent to state-of-the-art levels. When all 66 major plants are upgraded with use of the fund, impact will be a 7.5 million pound annual reduction in nitrogen and a 260 thousand pound annual reduction in phosphorus.

“This kind of progress proves that the bold policy changes needed to restore the bay are very much within reach, and is the centerpiece for the other components of Maryland’s holistic approach to Bay restoration,” said Environment Secretary Philbrick.

The $33.2 million plant will include enhanced nutrient reduction (ENR) technology that dramatically reduces the level of nitrogen and phosphorus being discharged directly to the Chesapeake.

The upgrade project involves the planning, design, construction and installation of ENR equipment to achieve total nitrogen removal to a yearly average of 3 milligrams per liter and phosphorus to 0.3 milligrams per liter. Excess nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorus, lead to degraded water quality, which negatively impact the ecology of the Bay and its tributaries.

The upgrade also involves expanding the plant’s treatment capacity from 2 million to 3 million gallons per day to accommodate growth within designated Priority Funding Areas in the county and connect existing homes currently utilizing failing septic systems, averting a public health hazard.

“The citizens of Queen Anne’s County are thankful for the state’s participation in this project,” said Queen Anne’s County Commissioners President Joe Cupani. “This upgrade will reduce nutrients that go into the Chesapeake Bay. We also plan to connect homes with failing septic systems on Kent Island as well as provide some capacity for new commercial projects.”

In addition to the $6.5 million Bay Restoration Fund grant, a loan of $18.8 million to the county from the state revolving fund, administered by the Maryland Department of the Environment, and other state grants will finance the project. The plant’s design was completed last September and plans are to have the new facility operational by Spring 2007.