Press Release

ANNAPOLIS, MD (April 13, 2005) – Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. today announced Board of Public Works approval of a $963,000 grant for Allegany County to continue upgrading and expanding its Celanese Wastewater Treatment Plant. The Board is comprised of Governor Ehrlich, Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp and Comptroller William D. Schaefer.

“Nutrient removal at wastewater treatment plants 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,” said Governor Ehrlich. “Improving the quality of service to Marylanders while at the same time protecting and strengthening the state’s natural resources is a top priority.”

The grant will be used to install a biological nutrient removal (BNR) facility at the plant, improving its ability to remove nitrogen from treated water, as well as expand the treatment plant’s capacity to 2 million gallons per day to provide for growth projected to occur in the area over the next few years. Once complete, the plant will be able to remove nitrogen to a seasonal average level of 8 milligrams per liter and phosphorus down to 2 milligrams per liter before discharging to the Potomac River.

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

The total cost of the Celanese project is nearly $16 million, of which more than $8.5 million is the local share. The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), through its Water Quality Infrastructure Program, will assist the town with a low interest loan, additional grants and financial support from other sources to round out funding of the project. More than $3.6 million was previously appropriated for the project.

“Allegany County is pleased to learn that the Board has awarded additional grant funds to our Celanese plant project,” said Vance Ishler, Allegany County Administrator. “We appreciate MDE’s continuing partnership with us to complete this important plant upgrade. The project will enable us to assist in reducing nutrient flow to the Chesapeake Bay.”

Construction of the upgrade began in March 2003 and is slated for completion by June.