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Wastewater effluent could be used for irrigation

(3/1) The water returned to the environment from a proposed wastewater treatment plant that is part of the Myers farm annexation request would be cleaner than the water in Owens Creek.

John Smith, senior project manager with Morris and Ritchie Associates, said that the level of nitrogen and phosphorus levels in the effluent from the wastewater treatment plant would be “below what you would find in many streams naturally occurring.”

Because Thurmont is under a consent agreement with the Maryland Department of the Environment to limit the additions to its sewer system, part of the Myers farm annexation request stated that the development would have its own 100,000-gallon-capacity wastewater treatment plant.

The state-of-the-art plant would have a small enough footprint that it could be disguised within a barn shell. The construction cost is around $2 million and the average annual operating costs would be $90,000.

Developer Tom Hudson said that six years from build out of the proposed development, “This thing would start turning positive cash flow.” This would come from the difference between water usage fees minus the operating costs. At this point, the plant would be turned over to the town.

The plant would meet Maryland’s tougher enhanced nutrient removal standards (nitrogen: 3.0 mg/l, phosphorus: 0.3 mg/l). Smith said the water from the plant could be used for irrigation around the development.

“It’s probably as clean as what you’ll find in Owens Creek,” Smith said.

The Thurmont Commissioners are expected to vote on the annexation request in early March.

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