Press Release

BALTIMORE, MD (September 13, 2005) – The Maryland Department of the Environment’s (MDE) Water Quality Financing Administration has approved a loan of nearly $22.5 million to begin elimination of combined and sanitary sewer overflows, MDE Secretary Kendl P. Philbrick announced today. The money will fund the county’s share of two major projects that will fix discharges from the county’s collection system and goes toward satisfying conditions set forth in a state and federal lawsuit settled with the City of Baltimore in 2002. Baltimore County’s wastewater collection system is connected to the City of Baltimore’s sewerage treatment infrastructure.

“Both of these projects will reduce infiltration into the sewer system from storm water and provide needed capacity to eliminate sanitary sewer overflows,” said Secretary Philbrick. “Having a viable, efficient sewerage collection system is imperative to prevent overflows and the release of harmful bacteria and excessive nutrients into the waters of the state. Excess nutrients lead to degraded water quality, which negatively impact the ecology of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.”

Phase I of the Upper Jones Falls Interceptor project involves the planning, design and construction of new sewers and rehabilitation of existing sewer lines. The project consists of installing 1,500 feet of 48-inch sewer and 1,510 feet of 60-inch sewer, slip lining 2,910 feet of 60-inch sewer with 54-inch pipe, cleaning and lining 2,600 feet of 42-inch sewer, cleaning and cured-in-place lining 3,430 feet of 48-inch sewer, construction of new manholes, rehabilitation of existing manholes and structures, site restoration and other miscellaneous work.

Phase II consists of constructing 490 feet of 48-inch sanitary sewer using open cut methods, 6,050 feet of 48-inch sewer using micro-tunneling techniques, 880 feet of 18-inch sanitary sewer, 650 feet of 16-inch sewer suspended from a bridge, 280 feet of 15-inch PVC sewer and 170 feet of 15-inch cured-in-place liner, including new manholes, a junction chamber, site restoration and other miscellaneous work. Both phases are expected to be complete by January and July 2006 respectively.

The Jones Falls Force Main and Pressure Sewer Valves and Vaults project involves improvements to the existing Baltimore City sanitary and combined sewer infrastructure. It consists of the planning, design and rehabilitation of gate valves, plug valves, air release valves and the repair of 17 existing sewer vaults to reduce clear water infiltration and inflow and prevent sanitary sewer overflows. The project was completed last December and the loan reimburses the county for its share of the work.

Baltimore County’s loan will have a 1.49 percent interest rate. Created during the 1988 session of the Maryland General Assembly, the mission of the Water Quality Financing Administration (WQFA) is to assist in the financing of capital infrastructure costs for public entities for water quality point source and both public and private entities for non-point source pollution control projects consistent with the federal Clean Water Act of 1987. WQFA offers affordable below market rate of interest loans to eligible borrowers, while ensuring the perpetuity of revolving loan funds.

In April 2002, MDE, the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. the Environmental Protection Agency announced a major Clean Water Act settlement with Baltimore City to address hazards posed by hundreds of illegal wastewater discharges of raw sewage. That agreement led to more than $940 million in sewer system improvements. The settlement was designed to prevent chronic sewage overflows to area waterways, including the Chesapeake Bay, Jones Falls, Gwynns Falls and Patapsco River.