Maryland’s state Board of Public Works has approved $23 million in grants in order to improve sewage treatment plants. Two of the affected plants are operated in Baltimore as a part of the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Act, also referred to as the “flush tax.”
A $5 million grant will go to Baltimore’s Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant, $10 million will go to Patapsco Wastewater Treatment Plant, and $8 million will go to Brunswick’s plant located in Frederick Country.
According to the Baltimore Sun, The money comes partly from the $30 annual fees paid by homeowners across the state. It will pay a portion of the installation costs for equipment that will reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, which can cause low oxygen, or “dead zones” in the bay.
Baltimore’s treatment plants are the biggest in the state.
The program aims to help pay for upgrades to the 66 largest wastewater treatment plants in Maryland. The Maryland Department of the Environment reported that eventually, these improvements should reduce the amount of nitrogen flowing into the bay by 7.5 million pounds a year, while phosphorus will be reduced by 260,000 pounds.
The act was signed by Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. in 2004.