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Environmental Groups Prod Frederick over Potomac River Pollution

Frederick's municipal wastewater treatment plant was one of 12 significant municipal sewage plants found to be releasing more nutrients into Maryland waters than is allowed under its National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit, according to the Environmental Integrity Project. (Potomac Riverkeeper Network)
Frederick's municipal wastewater treatment plant was one of 12 significant municipal sewage plants found to be releasing more nutrients into Maryland waters than is allowed under its National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit, according to the Environmental Integrity Project. (Potomac Riverkeeper Network)
June 11, 2018

FREDERICK, Md. – After around a decade of violations, Frederick will need to act quickly to suppress the amount of nutrients pouring into the Potomac River from the city's wastewater treatment plant.

The Potomac Riverkeeper Network is suing the city, hoping to find out what Frederick’s next steps might be.

The city says in a statement that it continues to work hard toward upgrades despite recent flooding in the area.

Dean Naujoks, a Potomac Riverkeeper, says the goal of the lawsuit is to get the treatment plant back on track to compliance.

"We're advocates for clean water,” he states. “Our goal is simply to make sure that whatever upgrades Frederick is supposed to be making is actually done and they stay on their time schedule."

A new filter was supposed to be ready to go at the beginning of the year, but the city announced that it wouldn't be ready until Aug. 15.

Apart from installing the new filter as quickly as possible, Project Riverkeeper wants more communication with the city regarding the issue that effects the water that leads into the Washington area.

The group waited more than 100 days after filing an intent to sue, waiting on Frederick to reach out. It also requested a tour of the plant to discuss issues without filing, but Mayor Michael O'Connor denied the request.

Naujoks is optimistic that Potomac Riverkeepers can still meet with the city, but wants to keep expectations realistic.

"We're hopeful that they do, obviously, but they continue to bump into delays and not even meet their interim permit limits and just continue to pollute the Monocacy and the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay," he states.

After the issue is solved in Frederick, the work is far from over. Frederick's treatment plant is one of 12 facilities that the Environmental Integrity Project says violated the limit of nutrients allowed to flow into the water.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - MD