October 30, 2009


Upgrades to Blue Plains will help reduce harmful discharges into Chesapeake Bay

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) and Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) today praised final congressional passage of the fiscal year 2010 Interior and Environment Appropriations Conference Report, which includes $1.2 million in federal funding to help upgrade the Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant. The funding is a step forward in helping reduce harmful discharges from Blue Plains into the Chesapeake Bay.


"I am committed to upgrading our State's aging water infrastructure so it will be able to provide Marylanders with clean and safe drinking water," said Senator Cardin, chairman of the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee of the Environment and Public Works Committee. "These funds will enable Blue Plains to install new technology to help reduce nutrient pollution into the Bay's watershed, and also will provide for an important statewide water study to ensure adequate water supplies for the future."


The Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant is the largest advanced sewage treatment facility in the world, serving the entire Washington metro region, including Montgomery and Prince George's Counties in Maryland. It is also the largest point source of nutrient pollution in the entire Bay watershed, discharging approximately 5.5 million pounds of nitrogen each year.


 "As Maryland's senior senator, I am committed to saving the Bay and saving the jobs that depend on the Bay. I have heard from Bay experts that upgrading the Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant is the single largest action officials could take to restore the health of the Bay," Senator Mikulski said. "This federal investment is a down payment on crucial upgrades to Blue Plains that will help protect our nation's largest estuary - and Maryland's greatest natural resource - and the lives and livelihoods that depend on it."


The bill also includes $500,000 for the Maryland Department of the Environment to conduct a statewide water resources study. Data will be collected to help develop science-based tools to manage the state's declining water supply levels. Completion of this study will ensure adequate water supplies to protect the health of Marylanders and support its economy. 

The measure now goes to the President to be signed into law.