Approximately 60,000 gallons of partially treated wastewater were released into Chesapeake Bay on Friday as a result of Maryland's Chesapeake Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) failure to hold a large amount of rainfall over a short period of time.
The sewer overflow release occurred on Nov. 27 between 4:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., according to a notice sent to the local press by John Castero, superintendent of the Chesapeake Bay WWTP. Construction work in part of the facility could have also contributed to the accident, he said.
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Castero explained that plant staff were able to get the discharge under control at about 6:00 a.m., after they managed to divert the effluent flowing from the facility into the bay to other tanks. The release started at about 4:00 a.m., when excessive rainfall during the night, combined with the ongoing upgrade of the enhanced nutrient removal equipment, led to the failure. During the repair work several tanks had to be demolished and replaced with new ones, thus reducing the capacity of the plant. The upgrade is set to continue over the next three years, reports said.
Castero stated that the solid loss was not a significant amount and that the potential environmental impact on Chesapeake Bay is unlikely to be anything more than "minimal." There are pollution tests being carried out to determine the extent of environmental damage, he concluded.