Press Release

CRISFIELD, MD (July 29, 2005) – Lt. Governor Michael S. Steele, 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 Crisfield Wastewater Treatment Plant on the lower Eastern Shore.

Lt. Governor Steele and Secretary Philbrick joined Crisfield’s mayor, city council, county commissioners, other state and local elected officials and watermen in a ceremony for the new wastewater treatment facility – the sixth municipal plant upgrade to be initiated since adoption of the landmark Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund last year.

“Governor Ehrlich and I believe these types of types of projects will have a lasting impact on this state and the legacy we leave to future generations,” said Lt. Governor Steele. “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 $10.6 million plant will include enhanced nutrient reduction (ENR) technology that dramatically reduces the level of nitrogen and phosphorus being discharged directly to the Chesapeake Bay. The project upgrade to Crisfield’s existing wastewater treatment plant includes the planning, design and construction of a full-scale ENR facility so it can achieve a goal of removing total nitrogen to a goal of 3 milligrams per liter (mg/l) and total phosphorus to 0.3 mg/l. As a result of the work, roughly 42,600 pounds of nitrogen and 8,200 pounds of phosphorus will be removed from the effluent before it is discharged into the Chesapeake Bay.

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

“In this community, with its rich heritage of benefiting from the bounty of the bay, a project of this nature is monumental,” said Environment Secretary Philbrick. “The improved water quality this plant will provide will have a direct positive impact on the people that live and work here. 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.”

“This city’s vitality is undeniably linked to the Chesapeake,” added Crisfield Mayor Richard D. Scott. “As the bay goes, so does our economy and lifestyle. We recognize the importance of the bay restoration effort and are proud to be partners in it.”

The construction upgrade is anticipated to be complete by the end of 2006.

The Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund, among the most innovative environmental legislation in the past two decades, is used to upgrade wastewater treatment plants to remove nitrogen and phosphorus from 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.