Cost Study for Implementation of Chesapeake Bay Strategy Approved

(HARRISBURG) – – The Senate of Pennsylvania has approved a resolution that directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to determine the costs to local municipalities to upgrade wastewater treatment facilities to comply with the Chesapeake Bay Strategy, according to State Senator John R. Gordner (R-27).  Senator Gordner co-sponsored Senate Resolution 224, authored by Senator Patricia Vance (R-31).

“Pennsylvania is a signatory to the multi-state agreement that establishes a commitment to reduce nutrient and sediment loads to restore the bay’s water quality,” said Senator Gordner.  “However, estimates of compliance costs to local communities that operate wastewater systems vary, and we need to have a better idea on what the costs will entail so that we can work on a plan to assist these communities.”

The Department of Environmental Protection has estimated treatment plant upgrades will cost about $190 million, while municipalities and authorities that operate the plants estimate compliance costs at over one billion dollars.

The resolution directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to estimate the costs wastewater treatment plants will incur to comply with the strategy, assess methods by which the plants may achieve compliance and identify resources that other states have committed to assist plants in achieving compliance.  The report is due in nine months.

“A cleaner Chesapeake Bay is a goal we all agree upon, but local communities have expressed concerns to me over how the compliance strategy will be implemented and how much the cost to local ratepayers will be,” said the Senator.  “Once we receive this report, those questions should be answered and the Commonwealth can take steps to help communities reach these goals.”

The Chesapeake Bay Strategy is a federal mandate for bay recovery that will affect 31 counties within the Susquehanna River Watershed.  The Strategy was entered into in 2000 by New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland and did not require approval by the General Assembly.