Costs Remain a Concern for Saint Mary’s County Watershed Implementation Plan

A November 18 SoMd article discusses Saint Mary’s County’s Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) and concerns over the potential costs associated with it, especially for septic system upgrades.  The WIP describes how the County will meet its nutrient and sediment reduction goals under the federally mandated Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).

It is too early to produce any accurate estimates for the entire scope of work, said Sue Veith, environmental planner with the St. Mary’s County Department of Land Use and Growth Management. But the St. Mary’s County Health Department has one estimate of $176 million to upgrade septic systems for properties within 1,000 feet of tidal waters and those close to streams.  …

“These dollar signs are scary,” said Commissioner Dan Morris (R).

Large, older St. Mary’s neighborhoods are on septic systems such as Town Creek and Esperanza Farms, Country Lakes, Golden Beach and Society Hill. “I think we’re going to need some help to get this done right,” said Commission President Jack Russell (D).

“There’s a lot that needs to be done here over a short period of time,” said John Savich, county administrator.

Commissioner Larry Jarboe (R) said he would like to know how much has already been spent on efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. “As hard as we’ve worked, it’s gone in the opposite direction,” he said.

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