Maryland's Board of Public Works is chipping in $17 million in grants to substantially reduce pollution at the Blue Plains wastewater treatment plant.
There are a lot of upgrades going on at Blue Plains wastewater treatment plant, which bills itself as the largest advanced wastewater treatment plant in the world.
One of those upgrades is called enhanced nitrogen removal. Nitrogen pollution from sewage that hasn't been completely broken down is a major source of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. It contributes to algae blooms that kill off vast quantities of marine life every year.
Enhanced nitrogen removal at Blue Plains, which serves D.C. and parts of Maryland and Virginia, could cut the plant's nitrogen pollution by 83 percent. The price tag is about $900 million; about 40 percent of that is being paid for by rate payers in D.C. who get utility bills.
The other 60 percent is paid for by wholesale customers -- those are utilities in counties in Maryland and Virginia. The upgrades should cut nitrogen pollution at the plant by 83 percent.