Exelon commits more than $200 million at Conowingo Dam to improve water quality in the lower Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay.
The state of Maryland and Conowingo Dam have reached a settlement requiring dam owner Exelon to invest more than $200 million to improve water quality in the lower Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay, reported Patch.
The plan includes debris clearing and efforts to increase the population of mussels. $12 million will come from the Maryland Department of the Environment and Department of Natural Resources to oversee implementation of the agreement.
Exelon sued the state in 2018 over demands that it help reduce Susquehanna River pollution.
Improvements to the Conowingo Dam are necessary because it feeds the Susquehanna River, the largest freshwater tributary into the Chesapeake Bay. Record rainfall in 2018 across the Mid-Atlantic sent an abundance of debris downstream into the bay, reported the Baltimore Sun.
Scientific reports confirm that the Conowingo Dam has reached full capacity and can no longer stop pollution from entering the bay, according to a press release.
Waterkeepers Chesapeake Executive Director Betsy Nicholas is concerned that the deal does not set aside enough money to mitigate the risk of a hurricane or major rainstorm washing out large quantities of sediment and nitrogen trapped behind the dam, reported the Baltimore Sun.
“Our administration has committed a historic $5 billion toward wide-ranging bay initiatives and taken bold and aggressive steps to address the challenges posed by pollution, sediment and debris at the Conowingo Dam,” said Governor Hogan in a statement. “This settlement is a significant and positive step in the right direction, and with the cooperation of Exelon and upstream states, we can continue making progress in our efforts to preserve and protect this great national treasure.”