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Annapolis required to meet 3 ppm total nitrogen concentration

November 4, 2005

ANNAPOLIS — Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. Thursday announced approval of $400,000 in two grants by the Board of Public Works to assist Cambridge in its continuing effort to update its sewer and storm water management systems and plan for an upgrade to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

The result is planned to reduce the level of nutrients present in water entering the Choptank River and Chesapeake Bay. The board is comprised of Governor Ehrlich, Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp and Comptroller William D. Schaefer.

“Cambridge is in the fourth phase of this massive undertaking that aims to separate the city’s combined sewers to prevent frequent overflows that can cause a potential health hazard and dump excessive nutrients into the water,” Gov. Ehrlich. “Maintaining the health of Maryland families, the condition of the Chesapeake Bay, and our overall quality of life are among this administration’s top priorities.”

Cambridge currently combines its storm water and sanitary sewer functions. In times of heavy precipitation, the system overflows into local waterways. Excess nutrients lead to degraded water quality, which negatively affects the ecology of the Bay and its tributaries.

“We understand the importance of this project and are committed to eliminating sources of combined sewer overflows within the city,” Cambridge Mayor Cleveland L. Rippons said. “We thank the state for the grant funding they have allocated and are hopeful that additional grant funding with be available for the remaining phases of this project.”

The total cost of the separation work will be more than $7 million. Thursday’s grant was for $300,000.

Future actions, including an anticipated state revolving fund loan of more than $4.5 million, along with the city’s contribution of $415,000, will complete the financing. The city will repay the loan, via bond, over a period not to exceed 20 years following completion of the project.

The state has already provided grants totaling $1.9 million toward the project. Construction on Phase IV of the project began last month and is slated for completion by July, 2006.

The second grant of $100,000 will help Cambridge plan the upgrade of its wastewater treatment plant to enhance nutrient removal, ENR.

“Additional nutrient removal from the Cambridge wastewater facility is essential for the success of Maryland’s effort to meet its commitments under the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement,” the governor said.

The upgrade will help the plant achieve an annual effluent concentration goal of 3 milligrams per liter (mg/l) for total Nitrogen and 0.3 mg/I for phosphorus before discharging to the lower Choptank River. Once complete, the plant’s nitrogen discharge will be reduced by 123,300 pounds per year, a 62 percent reduction, while phosphorus will be cut by 90 percent to 66,600 pounds per year.

Excess nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorus, lead to degraded water quality, which negatively impact the ecology of the Bay and its tributaries.