County completes expansion at Seneca Point sewer plant
— It’s not every day that county officials perform a ribbon cutting ceremony at a sewage treatment plant, but that’s exactly what happened Tuesday.
Completion of the $33.2 million project to upgrade the Northeast River Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant at Seneca Point to enhanced nutrient removal (ENR) standards not only meets state law, but also sets Cecil County up for future growth, officials said Tuesday.
“This is a great day in the history of Cecil County,” County Director of Public Works Scott Flanigan said as employees and county offifificials met at the site Tuesday afternoon. “This provides big benefits to the Bay and it sets the county up for growth.”
The Maryland Department of the Environment has man-
dated that the 67 plants in the state that are permitted to treat 500,000 gallons or more daily, including Seneca Point, must upgrade to ENR levels by Jan. 1. It’s all part of a larger effort to clean up the Chesapeake Bay by restricting the amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus entering its tributaries from sewage treatment plants.
County Executive Tari Moore said a lot of people don’t realize just how important wastewater treatment plants are for communities. She singled out former County Commissioner Rebecca Demmler, who attended the ceremony Tuesday, for casting a vote in favor of the project in 2008 that allowed it to move ahead.
“There was resistance to this project,” Moore said. “Thank you, Becky.”
County Council President Robert Hodge, Council Vice President Alan McCarthy, Councilman Dan Schneckenburger and Councilwoman Joyce Bowlsbey were all in attendance Tuesday and spoke in favor of the project, noting it paves the way for the future.
“This is the largest capital project in the Department of Public Works’ history,” Flanigan said, noting that compared to the average bridge replacement, this project is 10 times larger.
Flanigan said the project was a true team effort, from his staff and the finance department to all of the contractors and engineers who worked on the upgrade.
The ENR upgrade project was designed by the consulting engineering firm GHD, of Bowie, while the construction contractor was Alan A. Myers, Inc., of Worcester, Pa. Hazen & Sawyer of Baltimore served as the county’s construction manager on this project.
“This is a very important day for Cecil County,” said The glass jug on the left contains raw sewage water, the middle jar contains sewage water that has been treated at Seneca Point and the jug on right is filled with Northeast River water as a comparison.
Jeff Coale, chief of the wastewater division of DPW. “This upgrade allows us to meet increasingly stringent discharge limits while ensuring we have capacity for future growth.”
Flanigan described this
project as “forward thinking” for the county.
“Going with membrane bio-reactor technology treats the wastewater to a new, higher standard that is, in many respects, cleaner than the river water into which we are discharging it,” he said.
He demonstrated this by holding up three jars: one filled with raw sewage water, one with river water and one with treated sewage water.
The results were clear.
Chief of the Wastewater Division of Cecil County Department of Public Works Jeff Coale (center in red) and County Executive Tari Moore cut the ribbon to officially open a $33.2 million upgrade to Seneca Point Tuesday.
Debris in pipe is the solid material filtered out of the raw sewage that comes into the Northeast River Wastewater Treatment Plant.