Back River treatment plant gets $19 million from state
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 14:17

Funding to go toward BNR and ENR projects

by Ben Boehl

    When a facility like the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant treats about 180 million gallon of water each day, it is always looking for funding for projects and upgrades.
    The Maryland Board of Public Works approved more than $28 million in funding on May 28 for projects to upgrade a sewer system and two large wastewater treatment plants.
    The board is composed of Gov. Martin O’Malley, Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot.
    Over $19 million will be going to the Back River facility, which O’Malley said will help local waterways.
    “Projects such as these are an important part of our effort to improve Maryland waterways, including the Chesapeake Bay,” O’Malley stated.
    “These projects reduce pollution and protect the environment and public health while creating jobs for more Marylanders.”

The funding approved will go toward the planning, design and construction of Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) and Enhanced Nutrient Removal (ENR) upgrades.
    The upgrades will allow the plant to reduce its nitrogen discharge by 67 percent, which will reduce the amount of nutrients discharged into Back River and eventually get into the Chesapeake Bay.
    According to the Maryland Department of the Environment, the Back River plant is currently achieving discharges better than the ENR goal of 0.3 milligrams per liter for total phosphorus as required by its discharge permit.
    Higher levels of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus lead to lower levels of oxygen needed to support aquatic life in waterways such as the Chesapeake Bay.