BPW Approves Grants to Reduce Pollution, Improve Water Quality

The Maryland Board of Public Works has approved more than $92 million in grants to reduce pollution, improve water quality, and save energy and money. The board is composed of Gov. Larry Hogan, treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, and comptroller Peter Franchot.

According to The Garrett County Republican,

“These are smart investments to protect public health, prevent water pollution, and save money and energy in Maryland communities and the Chesapeake Bay. The Maryland Department of the Environment thanks Governor Hogan for his leadership as the new head of the six-state Chesapeake Bay Program and his support for local investments to protect a national treasure,” said Maryland secretary of the environment Ben Grumbles. “Providing nearly $100 million to upgrade key sewage treatment plants, septic systems, drinking water systems, and clean energy projects will help us to green and grow the state’s economy and lead in the race to protect and restore Chesapeake Bay watersheds.”

A $46,219,057 Bay Restoration Fund grant to Baltimore City will help fund the planning, design and construction of Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) and Enhanced Nutrient Removal (ENR) upgrades at the 180-million-gallons-per-day Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant. After the upgrades, the facility will reduce its nitrogen discharge by 83 percent, significantly reducing the amount of nutrients discharged to Back River and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.

Grants from the Bay Restoration Fund totaling $15 million will provide statewide funding for counties to upgrade on-site sewage disposal (septic) systems to significantly reduce the discharge of nitrogen, one of the most serious pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay. Counties will focus on upgrading septic systems located within the critical area. All 23 Maryland counties will benefit from the grants, a spokesperson said.

Grants from the Bay Restoration Fund totaling $4,776,900 will provide funding for operation and maintenance costs for 41 wastewater treatment plants operating at enhanced nutrient removal levels in 20 counties. The Bay Restoration Fund provides for up to 10 percent of the annual revenue generated from wastewater treatment plant users and deposited with the Maryland Department of the Environment to be allocated for such costs. The grant for each plant is up to $30,000 per million gallons per day of design capacity, with a minimum award of $30,000 and a maximum award of $300,000 per year for any plant.

Enhanced Nutrient Removal upgrades allow facilities to significantly reduce the amount of nutrients discharged to local waterways and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. Excessive amounts of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus lead to lowered levels of oxygen needed to support aquatic life in waterways, including the Chesapeake Bay. The plants receiving these grants have reduced nitrogen discharges by more than 4,547,000 pounds per year and phosphorus discharges by more than 542,000 pounds per year. ENR upgrades of wastewater treatment plants are a critical component of Maryland’s Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan.

In Allegany County, a $2,135,875 Bay Restoration Fund grant to the city of Frostburg will help fund the next phase of the city’s efforts to separate its combined sewers and reduce the frequency and volume of combined sewer overflows during wet weather.

Read The Garrett County Republican to learn more.

Learn about how counties are addressing failing septic systems and reducing the amount of pollutants such as nitrogen that can flow into the Chesapeake Bay at this year’s annual MACo Summer Conference, “You’re Hired!” During the session, Flushing Your Troubles Down the Drain, the South Kent Island Solution, representatives from Queen Anne’s County will discuss how the county and the Maryland Departments of Planning and the Environment were able to solve this dangerous issue by connecting 1,518 existing homes and eight commercial properties to a safe and effective public sewer system.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: