The Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant in Southwest D.C. will receive an infusion of $104 million thanks to a grant from the Maryland Board of Public Works. The monies will go toward the $950 million nitrogen-removal program that D.C. Water recently broke ground on.
The Blue Plains facility for a total of 726 square miles of coverage and has the capacity to treat 370 million gallons of wastewater a day.
"Upgrades at the Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant, the single largest point source of nitrogen to the Chesapeake Bay, are an essential part of our plan to clean up the Potomac River and the Bay,” said Governor O'Malley in a press release.
The grant, given to the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, will help fund the planning, design, and construction of the Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) and Enhanced Nutrient Removal (ENR) upgrades, according to a release from the Maryland Board of Public Works.
"The Enhanced Nutrient Removal Facilities are the result of years of technology research performed at Blue Plains," said D.C. Water Board Chairman William M. Walker in a press release. "Blue Plains was the first to reach the 2010 Chesapeake Bay Program goals for nitrogen reduction, and were well on track to be the first for the next round."
After the upgrades, the facility will reduce its nitrogen discharge by 83 percent, significantly reducing the amount of nutrients discharged into the Potomac River and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. The project is slated for completion in 2014.
In July, the facility received the Platinum Peak Performance Award from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the sixth year in a row.
"Year after year, Blue Plains continues to improve water quality in the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay," said DC Water General Manager George S. Hawkins.
The Maryland Board of Public Works approved more than $129 million in grants to reduce pollution and improve water quality by upgrading wastewater treatment plants and improving drinking water and sewage collection infrastructure.