For the thirteenth consecutive year, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has exempted residents in the Ocean Pines Sanitary Service Area (SSA) from paying the $5.00 monthly charge into the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund (BRF). This exemption will result in an annual savings of $60 per household in the Ocean Pines SSA.
Commonly referred to as the Flush Fee, the BRF is a dedicated fund financed by residents and businesses served by wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) throughout the State of Maryland. The fee was signed into law in 2004 with Senate Bill 320, and the first fees were charged in 2005. BRF funds are used to upgrade publicly-owned WWTPs throughout Maryland, with enhanced nutrient removal (ENR) technology to reduce nutrient discharges to the state’s waterways. The BRF began at $2.50 per month per household, or per equivalent dwelling unit (EDU), starting on July 1, 2005 and increased to $5.00 per month on July 1, 2012. Onsite septic system users throughout the state began paying a similar $5.00 fee per month in 2012 as well, with funds used to upgrade failing septic systems in the Critical Areas with Best Available Technology for nutrient reduction.
“I want to personally thank Deputy Director John Ross for his leadership role and Ocean Pines Chief Plant Operator Dominic Ross and his staff for their outstanding work efforts to continually achieve this exemption for the Ocean Pines ratepayers over the last 12 years,” Public Works Director John Tustin said.
The Ocean Pines WWTP is equipped with ENR technology, meeting the criteria for the fee exemption, which requires a maximum effluent concentration of 3 milligrams per liter (mg/l) of total nitrogen and 0.3 mg/l total phosphorous, and setting the standard throughout the state for environmental stewardship.
“The Ocean Pines WWTP has met the criteria for exemption each year since the BRF was enacted in 2005, resulting in an overall savings of roughly $540 per household and a total savings of $4.4 million to the Ocean Pines SSA residents and businesses since inception of the fee,” Enterprise Fund Controller Jessica Wilson said.
BRF exemptions are valid for one year and must be renewed annually. For more information, please contact Kim Moses, public information officer, at 410-632-1194.