Town officials must come up with $4.2 million to build a new wastewater treatment plant after approving a design concept at Monday night’s town council meeting.
The new facility includes membrane technology that would remove nitrogen from the water discharged from the treatment plant — one of the town’s major concerns after the Maryland Department of the Environment included a 2,834-pounds-per-year limit on nitrogen being released from the town’s facility.
The new limit is part of the state’s effort to reduce nitrogen from getting into the Chesapeake Bay, Nickerson said, and all municipalities will be looking at new technologies to reduce the amount of nutrients they release into the environment through their discharge.
Because the town did not have to monitor its nitrogen release in the past, it doesn’t have data to show how much nitrogen it releases now, said Tom Dallapalu of Dewberry.
However, by looking at the volume of wastewater that goes through the treatment plant, the estimated growth in the town, and the total pounds of nitrogen allowed to be released by the town per year, Dewberry staff members were able to determine that New Windsor needs a treatment system that would release less than 5 mg of nitrogen per liter of discharge, which is why they recommended a membrane system.
The nitrogen limits will go into effect in three years, according to the MDE discharge permit. Nickerson said design of the facility will take about nine months, and construction another 18 to 20 months.
“We’re going to have to dip into our reserve and start this project,” said Councilman Kevin Null.