County com­pletes ex­pan­sion at Seneca Point sewer plant

Cecil Whig - - & - By CHERYL MATTIX

cmat­tix@ce­cil­whig.com

— 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-

CARPENTERS POINT

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.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY CHERYL MATTIX

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.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY CHERYL MATTIX

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY CHERYL MATTIX

De­bris in pipe is the solid ma­te­rial fil­tered out of the raw sewage that comes into the North­east River Waste­water Treat­ment Plant.

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