Delmar's new state-of-the-art wastewater treatment facility was unveiled today at a ribbon-cutting ceremony that included dignitaries from Delaware, Maryland, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. They were joined by representatives from local construction and engineering companies who worked for more than a year to transform the outdated facility to an innovative, effective wastewater treatment plant that protects the health and safety of families and provides significant clean water benefits for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
Delmar Mayor Michael Houlihan (Delaware) was joined by Governor Jack Markell, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del), Senator Chris Coons (D-Del), EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin, Maryland Department of the Environment Deputy Secretary for Planning and Policy David A. Costello, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O'Mara and other officials to announce the expansion and upgrades at the facility.
"Here in Delmar, we celebrate efforts by two towns in two states to make clean water a top priority," said Governor Markell. "Investments made here at the Delmar wastewater treatment facility pay tremendous dividends. They are supporting local jobs and businesses while providing clean water that protects the health of families and helps ensure the water quality of our precious rivers and streams and Chesapeake Bay Watershed."
Investments at the plant were made possible by EPA funding, the states of Delaware and Maryland, and the town of Delmar. Funding totaling approximately $7.4 million was secured from a $2 million EPA grant to Maryland under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), a Maryland Department of the Environment grant of more than $3.3 million, a Delaware Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan of about $1.3 million, a $480,000 grant from the EPA, and local funds from the Town of Delmar of about $320,000. Delaware's Clean Water State Revolving Fund investments are supported by EPA capitalization grants and State of Delaware matching funds.
"Supporting infrastructure projects like this one is one way to help protect and preserve our precious natural resources for years to come and is just the kind of project I had in mind when I supported the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act several years ago," said Senator Tom Carper. "This is a great example of what partnerships between federal, state and local governments can do to keep our environment clean, our communities healthy, and grow our economy."
"I am proud to work in the U.S. Senate to build communities and create jobs. This federal investment to improve Delmar's sewage treatment system will do just that," Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski said. "Maryland cities and towns need to upgrade their water and sewer infrastructure but they can't do it on their own, and rate payers shouldn't have to bear the full burden. This grant is a double value for the taxpayer dollar, creating jobs while improving health and safety and helping this community grow."
"Improving water quality, protecting public health and creating jobs are just a few of the many benefits of Delmar's new state-of-the-art wastewater treatment facility," said Senator Chris Coons. "This project demonstrates the importance of infrastructure improvements and how two states and various levels of government came together for the common good. The upgrades at the facility translate into a brighter future for those served by the plant and for our treasured Chesapeake Bay."
"We in Maryland know the value of clean water, from our local streams to the Chesapeake Bay. But our nation's water infrastructure is reaching a tipping point and the increasing dysfunction of our systems pose risks to human health and safety and environmental quality," Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, Chairman of the Senate Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, said. "Especially in today's economy, the projected economic benefits of water infrastructure investment and the job opportunities associated with repairing and upgrading our water infrastructure are substantial. Regional projects like the Delmar Wastewater Treatment Facility make a positive difference in the daily functioning of so many families and local businesses."
"The new wastewater facility unveiled today is the type of investment we need to create jobs and strengthen the economy while also protecting the environment," said Congressman John Carney (D-Del). "The partnership that helped create this facility resulted in jobs for Delaware workers, cleaner water for the entire community, and improvements to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed that will help preserve it for generations to come."
Located in Maryland, Delmar's wastewater treatment facility serves 2,900 residents who live in Maryland and the almost 1,500 residents who live on the Delaware side of town. Originally built in the mid-1980s, the plant was expanded to treat 30 percent more wastewater than the old treatment facility -- a total of 850,000 gallons of wastewater per day -- meeting the capacity needs of Delmar now and into the future.
The facility employs cutting-edge clean water technologies that meet stringent pollution control limits set by the State of Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay "pollution diet' or TMDL. Last year, EPA and the seven jurisdictions in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed put in place the TMDL. The TMDL, or Total Maximum Daily Load, is the maximum amount of a pollutant that a body of water can receive and still meet water quality standards that protect humans and aquatic life. The watershed's TMDL will substantially reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution entering our streams and rivers flowing to the Bay, improving the health of the Chesapeake, our nation's largest estuary and one of strongest contributors to the region's economy.
"I'm proud of this regional collaboration and EPA's role in providing more than $3.4 million that was successfully leveraged for these long-needed upgrades to Delmar's wastewater treatment plant," said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. "This water infrastructure project is helping improve the health of local waterways and ultimately will benefit the Chesapeake Bay by substantially reducing this plant's loadings of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution by as much as 85 percent."
Last week, Maryland, Delaware and the other Bay jurisdictions submitted draft localized plans to implement the Bay TMDL. For the first time in the history of regional and federal cooperation to restore the Chesapeake Bay, local governments have the opportunity to ensure that restoration efforts meet local constituent needs. The reductions in pollution from Delmar's wastewater treatment plant will help Maryland meet its state-wide nutrient pollution limits.
"Maryland is working with our local municipalities and counties on the most detailed plan yet to improve the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Upgrading our largest wastewater treatment plants is a critical part of that effort," Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Robert M. Summers said. "Improved and restored waterways directly and positively impact our drinking water, are vital to public health and our quality of life, and these efforts create and support jobs."
"Across Delaware strategic investments in clean water infrastructure are creating construction jobs, improving water quality, and building stronger and healthier communities," said Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O'Mara. "By ensuring that our local rivers and streams are drinkable, fishable, and swimmable, we will improve our state's economic and environmental health today and leave a legacy of environmental stewardship for the betterment of future generations."
"This upgrade project was very significant to Towns of Delmar as it will have a major impact on our contribution to protecting the watershed. We are grateful for the collaborative efforts of federal, state (MD/DE) and local funds that made this major upgrade to the Wastewater Plant possible," said Delmar, Del. Mayor Michael Houlihan.
The facility was upgraded to include the addition of biological and enhanced nutrient removal systems that effectively reduce pollutants -- nitrogen and phosphorus loadings from entering the waterways that drain into the Chesapeake Bay. An outdated chlorine disinfection system was replaced with a new ultra violet (UV) disinfection system, reducing the hazards of chlorine to the public, the operators and the environment. Other upgrades include a state-of-the-art screen and grit removal system, new influent and effluent pumps that increase the reliability of plant operations, new waste activated return and sludge pumps, and a power backup generation system.