Press Release

ANNAPOLIS, MD (August 30, 2006) – Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. today announced that one third of Maryland’s 66 largest wastewater treatment plans have been rebuilt, redesigned or put under construction thanks to the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Act, which Governor Ehrlich introduced and signed into law in 2004. The Governor announced this progress as the State Board of Public Works approved three Restoration Act grants to upgrade treatment plants in Baltimore and Frederick County. The grants approved by the Board today will reduce nitrogen pollution in the Bay by 4 million pounds per year.

“My Administration is fully committed to protecting the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland’s greatest economic and environmental treasure, which each year contributes an estimated $1.2 trillion to our vigorous economy,” explained Governor Ehrlich. “By funding upgrades for Maryland’s two largest wastewater treatment plants, the State is reducing the amount of nutrients being discharged in the Bay. Projects like this have a lasting impact on this state and the legacy we leave to future generations.”

Governor Ehrlich introduced and signed into law the Restoration Act in 2004 and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation called it “the most important pollution-reducing initiative in the state in 20 years.” The Restoration Act aims to remove nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater treatment plant effluent to state-of-the-art levels by financing upgrades to the State’s 66 largest treatment plants. Upgrades will be financed by a monthly user fee paid by public sewer service customers and an annual user fee paid by septic customers. When all 66 of the state's major wastewater plants are upgraded, the impact will be a 7.5 million pound annual reduction in nitrogen and a 260,000-pound annual reduction in phosphorus. Excess nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorus, lead to degraded water quality, which negatively impact the ecology of the Bay and its tributaries.

“The Bay Restoration Act is a national model and generating significant interest around the country,” said Maryland Department of Environment Secretary Kendl P. Philbrick. “ No one can doubt the invaluable role the Bay plays in this state. Every Marylander has a vital interest in this irreplaceable waterway, which is a multi-billion dollar cultural, recreational and economic engine. Preserving and restoring the Chesapeake is a mission possible that we must never overlook.”

Today, the Board of Public Works approved a $5 million Bay Restoration Act grant to the City of Baltimore’s Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant for the evaluation of the nutrient removal capabilities and performance of the existing Back Water Wastewater Treatment Plant. Additionally, the Board approved a $10 million Bay Restoration Act grant and a more than $3.6 million Biological Nutrient Removal Fund grant for the City of Baltimore’s Patapsco Waste Treatment Plant that will be used for the design phase to Enhanced Nutrient Removal (ENR) technology. The Board also approved a Bay Restoration Act grant of up to $8.26 million for the City of Brunswick to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant in Frederick County.

The Back River and Patapsco Plant Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrades alone will reduce 4 million pounds of nitrogen. The Brunswick Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrades will eliminate more than 16,000 pounds of nitrogen. The enhancements planned for these facilities will benefit the citizens of Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Frederick and Howard counties by limiting the nutrients that negatively impact water quality.