Press Release

INDIAN HEAD, MD (October 5, 2006) – The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) continues to work toward a cleaner Chesapeake Bay today by breaking ground to initiate construction to upgrade the Indian Head Waste Water Treat Plant in Charles County. State and local elected officials and members of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) joined representatives from MDE and the Maryland Departments of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Planning in a ceremony for the new wastewater treatment facility. Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.’s historic 2004 Chesapeake Bay Restoration Act made funding for the technological upgrades available. Ten plants across the state are currently in the process of being upgraded and two plants have been completed and put in operation since the adoption of the landmark Restoration Act.

“Maryland continues lead other state’s in restoring the health of the Chesapeake Bay,” said Governor Ehrlich. “By upgrading plants across the State, we are eliminating millions of pounds of pollution annually. Projects like this one demonstrate my commitment to preserving our environment and making Maryland a cleaner, safer place to live.”

The Chesapeake Bay Restoration Act of 2004 is the most innovative environmental legislation enacted in the past two decades. The act established the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund, which provides the means to upgrade wastewater treatment plants to state-of-the-art levels, to remove nitrogen and phosphorus from plant effluent. Excess nutrients lead to degraded water quality, which negatively impacts the ecology of the Bay and its tributaries. When Maryland’s 66 major plants are upgraded through the fund, there will be a 7.5 million pound reduction in nitrogen and a 260,000-pound reduction in phosphorus flowing into the Bay’s tributaries annually.

“By the end of Fiscal Year 2007, construction will be underway at nearly half the major plants in the state and, one after the other, they will drastically begin to lower nutrient levels,” said Secretary of the Environment Kendl P. Philbrick. “Additional nutrient removal at the Town of Indian Head is essential for Maryland to meet its commitments under the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement.”

The nearly $15 million Indian Head Wastewater Treat Plant in Charles County will include enhanced nutrient removal (ENR) and biological nutrient removal technology that dramatically reduces the level of nitrogen and phosphorus being discharged directly into the Mattawoman Creek and the Potomac River, which are tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay.

“The Town of Indian Head is proud to be one of the first municipalities to undertake a wastewater treatment plant upgrade project to meet the Chesapeake Bay Restoration goals. We are happy to partner with Governor Ehrlich to upgrade our wastewater treatment plant to include Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) and Enhanced Nutrient Removal (ENR) processes,” said Mayor Dennis Scheessele. “The Indian Head Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade is an important project for Indian Head, Charles County, and Maryland, since it will protect and enhance the water quality of the Mattawoman Creek, which is part of Charles County’s premiere bass fishery.”

The upgrade project involves the planning, design and construction for an upgrade to the Indian Head Wastewater Treatment Plant for Enhanced Nutrient Removal (ENR) at the existing design capacity of 0.5 MGD.

The upgrade will enable the community to meet the goals established for nutrient loads discharged to the Chesapeake Bay. The wastewater treatment facility will achieve the effluent concentration goal of 3 milligrams per liter (mg/l) for Total Nitrogen and less than 0.3 mg/l for Total Phosphorous. The project will result in a 58.6 percent reduction in nitrogen and a 51 percent decrease in phosphorus to the receiving Mattawoman Creek, Potomac River and the ultimately Chesapeake Bay.

In addition to the nearly $6 million Bay Restoration Fund grant, the plant will be funded through an $6.8 million state grant for BNR and nearly $1 million loan to the town from the state revolving fund, both of which are administered by MDE. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also contributed $626,000 in federal grants to finance the project.

Work on the town of Indian Head Wastewater Treatment project is currently underway and the upgraded facility is expected to be fully operational by September of 2008.

It is estimated that the employees at Maryland DoD installations contribute over 9.4 million gallons per day of wastewater to the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Under an agreement signed on July 19, the DoD has agreed to implement and fund nutrient control measures and upgrades to meet the objectives of Maryland’s Bay Restoration Act. Specifically, the agreement will continue implementation of watershed improvement projects such as upgrading wastewater treatment plants to achieve enhanced nutrient removal (ENR), stabilizing eroding shorelines, and creating or enhancing stream buffers and wetlands.

“The Navy’s upcoming shoreline restoration project at Indian Head will improve water quality and restore habitats – actions that are crucial to Bay restoration,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy Donald R. Schregardus. “The project also provides long term ecosystem protection and helps sustain the Navy’s military mission.”