The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is recognizing Queen Anne’s County for excellence and innovation for the Southern Kent Island Sewer Collection System. EPA’s Performance and Innovation in the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) Creating Environmental Success (PISCES) program celebrates innovation demonstrated by CWSRF programs and assistance recipients.
According to a press release:
The CWSRF is a federal-state partnership that provides communities a permanent, independent source of low-cost financing for a wide range of water quality infrastructure projects. Over the past 30 years, CWSRF programs have provided more than $125 billion in financing for water quality infrastructure.
Queen Anne’s County utilized CWSRF assistance to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay by connecting 1,526 properties that had failing septic systems. This $55 million project is partially financed by a $34 million CWSRF loan for disadvantaged communities that includes $1.2 million in loan forgiveness, a low 0.8 percent interest rate, and a 30-year repayment term.
The failing septic systems are generally on small lots with marginal soils and high groundwater. Upgrading Southern Kent Island to sewer service will not only remove 7,000 pounds of nitrogen each year from Chesapeake Bay, but will also benefit the community by improving property values, spurring new development, and making the island more resilient. A combination of revenue streams, including a premium assessed on buildable vacant lots, has enabled the county to keep the project affordable at under $100 per month per customer.
Twenty-eight projects by state or local governments, public utilities, and private entities were recognized by the 2017 PISCES program.