Cecil Opens State-of-the-Art Wastewater Treatment Plant

1198px-Seal_of_Cecil_County,_MarylandThe water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed got a little bit better last week when Cecil County’s new Enhanced Nutrient Removal (ENR) wastewater treatment plant was officially placed into service. The new facility, which serves the Harbourview area of the County, replaces one that had been in service since the 1980s.

“The previous treatment plant served the Harbourview community for many decades, but it has needed to be replaced for some time now,” said County Executive Alan McCarthy. “The new plant is state-of-the-art and will treat the wastewater to a much higher level, which will help to improve the water quality in Herring Creek and, ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay.”

According to a County press release:

The new plant serves approximately 120 households in the Harbourview area of the County, which is located off of Court House Point Road south of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. The project was managed by Engineering & Construction Division of the Cecil County Department of Public Works. It was designed by the consulting engineering firm of George, Miles and Buhr, LLC, headquartered in Salisbury, Maryland. The Newark, Delaware office of AECOM provided construction management and inspection services.

Of the project’s overall $7.1M cost, $5M, or roughly 70%, was funded by Bay Restoration Fund grant funding from the Maryland Department of the Environment. The $2.1M balance was funded thru the County’s Wastewater Enterprise Fund which gets its funding thru Major Facilities Fees (which are one-time fees paid by new sewer customers at the time they connect to County sewer) and sewer user rates (paid by existing County sewer customers thru quarterly sewer bills).

The new wastewater treatment plant employs membrane bioreactor technology to remove significantly more nutrients (primarily nitrogen and phosphorous) from the wastewater before the treated effluent is discharged into Herring Creek near its confluence with the Elk River.

“The Harbourview wastewater treatment plant is located in a residential neighborhood, in relatively close proximity to several houses,” noted Scott Flanigan, County Director of Public Works. “Unlike the old plant, the new plant’s primary treatment processes are enclosed within a building which should help to control noise and odors. That is part of our ongoing effort to be good neighbors to the community,” Flanigan concluded.

The Department of Public Works intends to conduct a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house for the Harbourview community once restrictions related to the ongoing novel coronavirus crisis permit.

Read the full press release for more information.