End of Pipe Treatment Creates Measurable TMDL Impacts

Improvements at wastewater treatment plants (WWTP)—known today as water resource recovery facilities—create significant measurable results for end-of-pipe flows directly into local river systems. It is estimated that discharges from these facilities account for nearly 20 percent of the nutrient pollution reaching the bay. “Maryland was one of the first states in the nation to move to enhanced nutrient removal (ENR) on all of our major wastewater treatment plants,” said then Maryland Secretary of the Environment Robert M. Summers, Ph.D. “We are taking total nitrogen and phosphorus down to essentially the limits of technology.”

Jeffrey Sauers Commercial Photographics
Jeffrey Sauers Commercial Photographics

More than a decade ago, KCI designed the state’s first ENR upgrade. After the $25 million construction project was completed, Mattawoman (above) became one of the most flexible, state-of-the-art, and innovative wastewater plants in Maryland, and is still meeting its permitted discharge limits on phosphorus and nitrogen.

Today, KCI remains among the region’s leading ENR consultants, just completing design of a $300 million activated sludge plant expansion at the Back River WWTP (below). When paired with the ongoing construction of a $250 million de-nitrification facility, the upgrade will cut total nitrogen released into the bay by 2.2 million pounds per year.

Jeffrey Sauers Commercial Photographics
Jeffrey Sauers Commercial Photographics

In addition, the firm is just beginning design on a $20 million upgrade to a Maryland Eastern Shore treatment plant that, when complete, will meet one of the most stringent nutrient discharge limits in the watershed, and possibly the country.