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Area water, sewage systems to receive upgrades

Sunday - 7/28/2013, 7:28am  ET

chesapeake_bay
Improvements to water and sewer systems will reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus discharged into Chesapeake Bay. (AP)

WASHINGTON - Upgrades are on the way in the Washington, D.C. region in an effort to keep drinking water clean and the Chesapeake Bay less toxic.

The Maryland Board of Public Works on Wednesday approved more than $65 million for improvements to the state's water and sewage systems.

The counties that will receive funding include Prince George's, Calvert, Frederick, St. Mary's, Wicomico, Allegany, Baltimore and Montgomery.

In Prince George's County, funding to Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission will help design and construction a water distribution system to replace a deteriorating one that supplies the Potomac Vista community.

In Montgomery County, a loan to Poolesville will be used to rehabilitate part of the wastewater collection systme in the Westerly area.

Baltimore County will get more than $10 million, with more than $8.4 million going toward improvements to sewers at Stony Run in Baltimore City.

A large chunk of the nearly $7.6 million allocated to Calvert County will go toward reducing the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus discharged into the Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant will expand its capacity and with upgrades will reduce nitrogen discharge by 62.5 percent and phosphorus discharge by 85 percent.

"Projects such as these are an important part of our effort to improve Maryland waterways, including the Chesapeake Bay, and provide quality drinking water to our citizens," said Gov. Martin O'Malley, one of three Board of Public Works members, in a news release.

Localities in Virginia also are working to improve their water systems.

Repairs to water distribution lines along the James River and into Powhatan began in June, according to the Richmond Times Dispatch.

Officials in Goochland and Powhatah also tell the paper, the improvements will further upgrade water lines in some of the state's correctional facilities.

Sewers in Rock Creek Park in D.C. could soon see improvements of their own.

The National Park Service is currently looking for feedback on proposed improvements to park sewers in Glover Archibold Park and Soapstone Valley Park. The sewers are more than 100 years old and cracks have developed in pipe segments.

"If they aren't repaired, there is a strong risk that they will fail, which could result in millions of gallons of sewage being spilled into the parks," says Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh.

Part of the NPS plan is to repair damaged pipes, improve the infrastructure of the sewers and eliminate exposed pipes and manholes.

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