Board of Public Works approves funding for clean water and the Chesapeake Bay

Board of Public Works approves funding for clean water and the Chesapeake Bay

Grants and loans will reduce pollution, prevent sewage overflows and backups, improve drinking water reliability

BALTIMORE (April 1, 2020) – The Maryland Board of Public Works approved funding of more than $132 million for improvements to wastewater infrastructure in Baltimore City and Baltimore County to prevent sewage overflows and backups into homes and businesses.

The funding approved today, when combined with previously approved state funding for these projects, brings state investment to upgrade the Baltimore area’s aging wastewater infrastructure to nearly half a billion dollars.

The board also approved funding for improvements to a public water system in Cecil County and a wastewater treatment plant in Worcester County. The board is composed of Governor Larry Hogan, Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot. Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford chaired today’s meeting.

“These are smart investments to protect public health and prevent water pollution in Maryland communities and the Chesapeake Bay,” said Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles. “We are providing major funding to Baltimore City and Baltimore County for improvements to sewer systems, including the Back River treatment plant’s headworks project. This is one of the most important steps we can take to prevent sewage in the streets and basements, and we continue to insist on compliance with our clean water laws. Improved environmental infrastructure and energy efficiency saves money, reduces pollution and helps us to green and grow the state’s economy.”

The following projects were approved today:

Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant Headworks Improvement and Wet Weather Flow Equalization project – Baltimore City and Baltimore County

Funding of more than $55 million – a $22,607,735 Water Quality State Revolving Loan Fund loan to Baltimore City and a $32,625,500 Water Quality State Revolving Loan Fund loan to Baltimore County – will help fund a new “headworks” facility at Baltimore City’s Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant. This contract, the second of two, includes construction of a new pump station, emergency storage tanks, odor control system and other related work. The overall project will provide wet weather storage to protect the plant treatment processes and relieve restrictions to reduce sewage backups and overflows. This project is part of Baltimore City’s sewer improvements as required by a consent decree initiated by the Maryland Department of the Environment and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The funding is shared with Baltimore County because Baltimore County is serviced by this plant. This project will be constructed in accordance with coastal and non-coastal resiliency guidelines developed as part of the Coast Smart Program to reduce climate change risks to such projects. This funding brings the total funding through State Revolving Loan Fund loans and grants in the form of loan forgiveness to more than $368 million for the project, whose total estimated cost is nearly $430 million.

Multiple sewer infrastructure projects – Baltimore City and Baltimore County

Funding of more than $77 million – more than $60 million in Water Quality State Revolving Loan Fund loans, along with more than $2.6 million in grants in the form of loan forgiveness and a $10.6 million Bay Restoration Fund grant, to Baltimore City and nearly $4 million in Water Quality State Revolving Loan Fund loans to Baltimore County – will help fund a continuation of the city’s efforts to prevent sanitary sewer overflows as required by a consent decree initiated by the Maryland Department of the Environment and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The projects include such improvements as the repair, relocation or replacement of sewers and manholes and increasing the capacity and improving the overall condition of the aging sewer system to prevent sewage overflows. The projects are in the Jones Falls, Gwynns Falls, Herring Run, High Level and North East area sewage collection systems. The projects also include the restoration of deteriorated stream channel in Powder Mill Run. Baltimore City and Baltimore County will share the cost of some of the work because they share the sewer infrastructure. The Department of the Environment and its federal partners reached an agreement with Baltimore City – a modification of a 2002 consent decree – to greatly reduce the amount of sewage that overflows in the city by January 2021. These projects are consistent with Maryland’s climate change adaptation and resiliency objectives through the reduction of runoff that is exacerbated by increased precipitation or flooding events.

Anne Arundel County Municipal Discharge at Broadneck and Annapolis Water Reclamation Facilities project – Anne Arundel County

An $8,181,550 Bay Restoration Fund grant to the Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works will provide funding stemming from the Clean Water Commerce Act for the development and implementation of advanced online instrumentation and expanded wastewater treatment. The Clean Water Commerce Act expanded the uses of the Bay Restoration Fund to include the costs associated with the purchase of cost-effective nitrogen, phosphorus or sediment load reductions. MDE will provide annual payments for the purchase of verified reductions of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution beyond the plants’ original enhanced nutrient removal (ENR) goals based on the agreed-upon unit prices. Annual purchases are estimated to be between $1 million and $2 million depending on the actual verified reductions. This project is part of the department’s efforts to achieve additional nutrient and sediment reductions to offset the projected increase in nutrient and sediment loadings from runoff due to climate change.

Newark Spray Irrigation project – Worcester County

Funding of $2,093,542 – a $1,046,771 Water Quality State Revolving Loan Fund loan and a $1,046,771 grant in the form of loan forgiveness to Worcester County – will fund the planning, design and construction of a new spray irrigation system for discharging effluent from the Newark Wastewater Treatment Plant to land owned by the county. Worcester County entered into a consent order with MDE in 2015 due to discharge permit effluent limitation violations. By changing the effluent discharge to spray irrigation, the plant will be capable of achieving the limits imposed by a new groundwater discharge permit. This project will be constructed in accordance with coastal and non-coastal resiliency guidelines developed as part of the Coast Smart Program to reduce climate change risks to such projects.

North East Water Quality Improvement Projects – Cecil County

Funding of $746,280 – a $559,710 Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund loan and a $186,570 Water Supply Financial Assistance grant to the town of North East will help fund the design and installation of mixers in finished water storage tanks serving North East’s water distribution system. The town has received violation notices from Maryland Department of Environment for exceeding allowable maximum contaminant limits of disinfection by-products in the finished drinking water. The installation of these tank mixers will reduce the formation of disinfection by-products in the water system and ensure the Town remains in compliance with state drinking water requirements. This project will be constructed in accordance with coastal and non-coastal resiliency guidelines developed as part of the Coast Smart Program to reduce climate change risks to such projects.

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