Board OKs $126 million for Back River Treatment Plant

The state Board of Public Works approved Wednesday a $126 million grant to Baltimore toward upgrading the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant — part of a $686 million state and local project to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution of the Chesapeake Bay.

The upgrade in technology at the city-owned plant in Baltimore County, which serves an estimated 1.3 million people in the region, is expected to reduce nitrogen pollution from the plant by two-thirds. The plant, which opened in 2011, is one of the largest in the region.

The $126 million the board approved comes from the Bay Restoration Fund, which is financed by the so-called "flush tax" paid by users of sewer and septic systems.

Jay Apperson, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of the Environment, said the project will reduce nutrient pollution that fosters algae blooms that led to low oxygen levels in the bay.

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