Press Release

ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 17, 2006) – Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. announces Board of Public Works approval today of $10.5 million to finance the upgrade of the town of Elkton’s Wastewater Treatment Plant in Cecil County. Today’s actions are in the form of a state grant of $7.5 million from the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund, and an addition $3 million biological nutrient removal (BNR) state grant. The Board is comprised of Governor Ehrlich, Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp and Comptroller William D. Schaefer.

“Every grant and state loan dollar spent on wastewater treatment are an investment we must make,” Governor Ehrlich said. “They are an essential part of Maryland’s long-standing effort toward reducing 40 percent of the amount of nutrients being discharged to the Bay.”

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

The project at the Elkton wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) will consist of planning, designing and constructing the replacement for the existing 2.7 million gallons per day (mgd) Rotating Biological Contactors WWTP with biological nutrient removal and enhanced nutrient removal facilities that will reduce the plant’s total nitrogen removal to a yearly average of 3 milligrams per liter and 0.3 milligrams per liter for phosphorus. That is an 80 percent reduction in nitrogen and a 70 percent decrease in phosphorus to the receiving Big Elk River. This project also includes expanding the capacity of the facility from 2.7 mgd to 3.2 mgd.

“The Maryland Department of the Environment’s (MDE) assistance in providing grant-eligible funding to support our plant’s improvement is crucial to our project’s viability,” said Town of Elkton Mayor Joseph L. Fisona. “We are strongly committed to the BNR project and look to the continuing success of our relationship with MDE to achieve our goal of protecting one of Maryland’s most precious resources.”

Total cost of the project is more than $38 million, of which more than $21 million is the local share being paid by Elkton. The state’s participation in the project, through MDE’s Water Quality Infrastructure Program, is roughly $17 million. Anticipated future actions for plant upgrade include a low interest State Revolving Loan. In the past, the board has approved more than $900,000 toward this effort. A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Grant will fund more than $1 million.

Construction is expected to begin in July, with an October, 2008 completion date.