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 protect drinking water, reduce pollution and flooding

BALTIMORE (Dec. 2, 2020) – The Maryland Board of Public Works approved funding of more than $100 million toward major projects to protect the supply of drinking water for customers in the Baltimore region and improve wastewater infrastructure in Baltimore City and Baltimore County to prevent sewage overflows and backups into homes and businesses.

The board also approved funding for a stream restoration project in Harford County and the first contract in a project to resolve climate change-related drainage problems in Crisfield.

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, continue our climate progress and prevent water pollution in Maryland communities and the Chesapeake Bay,” said Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles. “Building underground storage tanks to replace open-air drinking water reservoirs at Druid Lake and Lake Ashburton will secure and protect the largest supplies of drinking water serving the Baltimore region. The Back River treatment plant’s headworks project 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. We green and grow the state’s economy when we invest in environmental infrastructure.”



The following projects were approved today:


Electrical Distribution System Reliability Improvements at the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant – Baltimore City and Baltimore County

Funding of more than $63 million will help fund the construction of electrical improvements that are essential to support the operation of the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant headworks project, which will provide wet weather storage to protect the plant treatment processes and relieve restrictions to reduce sewage backups and overflows. The headworks project is part of Baltimore City’s sewer improvements as required by a consent decree initiated by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The board approved funding to Baltimore City of $31,969,440 – a $30,469,440 Water Quality State Revolving Loan Fund loan and a $1.5 million grant in the form of forgiveness of a Water Quality State Revolving Loan Fund loan. The board approved funding to Baltimore County of $31,038,750 – a $29,538,750 Water Quality State Revolving Loan Fund loan and a $1.5 million grant in the form of forgiveness of a Water Quality State Revolving Loan Fund loan. 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 is in addition to total funding through State Revolving Loan Fund loans and grants in the form of loan forgiveness of nearly $360 million for the headworks project, whose total estimated cost is nearly $430 million.



Druid Lake and Ashburton Reservoir finished water tanks projects – Baltimore City and Baltimore County

Funding of more than $40 million will help fund the design and construction of underground finished water storage tanks at Druid Lake and Lake Ashburton in Baltimore. Baltimore City is required under a consent decree with MDE and the EPA to comply with an EPA rule designed to improve drinking water quality and provide additional protection from contaminants by replacing open-air finished water reservoirs with storage tanks with a combined capacity of 104 million gallons. The cost of the project is shared by Baltimore City and Baltimore County because the two jurisdictions share use of the drinking water system. The board approved funding to Baltimore City of $22,986,499 – $19,986,499 in Water Quality State Revolving Loan Fund loans and $3 million in grants in the form of forgiveness of Water Quality State Revolving Loan Fund loans. The board approved funding to Baltimore County of $17,292,899 — $14,292,899 in Water Quality State Revolving Loan Fund loans and $3 million in grants in the form of forgiveness of Water Quality State Revolving Loan Fund loans. The projects 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 nearly a quarter of a billion dollars for the projects, whose total estimated cost is nearly $332 million.



Tributary to Winters Run Stream Restoration Environmental Practice– Harford County

A $501,525 Bay Restoration Fund grant will allow for additional incentives for increased water pollution reductions in the restoration of about 6,000 feet of degraded stream channel, where stream bank erosion is significant, leading to downstream sediment pollution. The project, to be constructed by HGS LLC, will stabilize the stream and greatly improve water quality in the Winters Run watershed and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. The grant approved today is in addition to a $4.4 million Bay Restoration Fund grant last year that provided the first funding stemming from the Clean Water Commerce Act to reduce pollution to a tributary to the Chesapeake Bay. The Clean Water Commerce Act, passed by the Maryland General Assembly in 2017, expanded the uses of the Bay Restoration Fund to include the costs associated with the purchase cost-effective nitrogen, phosphorus, or sediment load reductions. Upon completion of the construction, HGS will provide 20 years of monitoring and maintenance activities, and all restoration areas will be protected in perpetuity by deed restrictions. MDE will provide annual payments for the purchase of verified annual reductions of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment based on the agreed upon unit prices. This action will allow for annual purchases of up to $417,000, depending on the actual verified reductions. This project is consistent with Maryland’s climate change adaptation and resiliency objectives through the reduction of runoff exacerbated by increased precipitation or flooding events.



Crisfield Tidegates, Culvert Modification, and Pumping Stations, Norris Harbor Drive Culvert Replacement project – Somerset County

An $82,004 Comprehensive Flood Management Grant to the City of Crisfield will help fund the replacement of two parallel culverts running beneath Norris Harbor Drive in Crisfield. The road is the only land access to the southwestern portion of the city, which is home to the U.S. Coast Guard as well as homes and businesses. The pipes, when properly functioning, allow the incoming tide to pass from Daugherty Creek to Somers Cove without overtopping the causeway on which the road is built. One of the culverts has collapsed and the roadbed has eroded. This is the first contract of the larger project to resolve drainage problems throughout Crisfield. This project is consistent with Maryland’s climate change adaptation and resiliency objectives by mitigating the impact of tidal flooding exacerbated by sea level rise.


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