BEL AIR, MD (June 7, 2005) – The steady march toward a cleaner Chesapeake Bay continued in Harford County today as Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Kendl P. Philbrick, Harford County Executive James Harkins, state and local elected officials gathered to sign a cooperative agreement to start the process to upgrade two of the county’s wastewater treatment plants with the most appropriate and cost effective technology to reduce nutrient pollution.
“When completed, these facilities will serve as another significant step towards our commitment of producing a healthy Chesapeake Bay and cleaner environment,” said Governor Ehrlich. “Every dollar spent is an investment and an essential part of our continuous efforts toward achieving Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay 2000 Agreement commitment to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus being discharged to the Bay from our state by 20 million and 1.1 million pounds per year, respectively.”
The initial project at the Sod Run and Joppatowne wastewater treatment plants involves an evaluation of the nutrient removal performance and capabilities of the two existing plants in order to identify changes in operation and/or process control to optimize the performance of the existing Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) facilities and identify additional capital improvements needed to upgrade the BNR facilities to Enhanced Nutrient Removal (ENR) technology. The estimated project cost for the ENR feasibility study is $180,000 to be funded by the Bay Restoration Fund.
The upgrade of the plants will reduce nitrogen loading to the waterways by an estimated 319,000 pounds per year and phosphorus by roughly 44,600 pounds per year, ultimately resulting in nutrient reductions for the Chesapeake Bay.
“Improving water quality in the bay’s tributaries is critical in tackling our water pollution problems,” said MDE Secretary Philbrick. “We must do all we can to safeguard the Chesapeake, related tributaries and its living resources that have sustained this region's economy, defined its traditions and culture.”
“Because of this partnership we will be able to study our treatment plant and move forward toward taking it to the leading edge of technology,” said Harford County Executive James Harkins. “Through MDE’s funding and our commitment, we will be able to meet new nutrient removal standards and do our part to protect the Bush River and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. We are pleased to be able to put Chesapeake Bay Restoration Funds to work protecting the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. And we thank Governor Ehrlich and Secretary Philbrick for their support and assistance.”
Construction is expected begin next June with the project’s completion coming about two years later.