Press Release

ANNAPOLIS, MD (December 14, 2005) – Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. today announced Board of Public Works approval of a $291,440 grant for Allegany County to complete financing the upgrade and expansion of its Celanese Wastewater Treatment Plant. The Board is comprised of Governor Ehrlich, Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp and Comptroller William D. Schaefer.

“This is another integral step in our critical effort to reduce nutrient amounts being discharged into the Chesapeake Bay,” said Governor Ehrlich. “The fund improves service quality to our citizens while simultaneously protecting our State’s natural resources – a top priority for this Administration.”

The project, which was dedicated in August, involved planning, design and construction of enhanced nutrient removal (ENR) facilities and expanding the existing 1.25 millions gallons per day (mgd) plant to 1.66 mgd. The upgrade lowers nitrogen levels to 3 milligrams per liter (mg/l) total discharge and lowers phosphorous to 0.3mg/l. This will reduce nutrients discharged to the Potomac River, a major tributary of 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.

The improvements included modifying the plant’s first aeration tank, then adding a second anoxic zone tank and upsizing the methonal facility.

The total cost of the Celanese project is over $16 million. The Maryland Department of the Environment, through its Water Quality Infrastructure Program, assisted the town with a low interest loan, additional grants and financial support from other sources to round out funding of the project.

“The Maryland Department of the Environment’s continued partnership with Allegany County gives us the ability to reduce nutrient flows to the Chesapeake Bay,” said Vance Ishler, Allegany County Administrator. “The new construction, made possible through this increased grant money has greatly improved our plant effluent.”

“The new preliminary treatment facility will allow for efficient operation of our new ENR facilities,” Ishler added.