Friday, June 24, 2011

The Bay and the Economist

The Maryland Chapter of NAIOP sponsored a legistlative update at this morning at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum. Much of the three hour seminar was devoted with the EPA mandated clean up of the Chesapeake Bay which is expected to cost over $10 billion over the next ten years. This will guide new regulations for wastewater treatment plants, stormwater management, erosion and sediment control among other things. It will also introduce a free market in nutrient trading with Maryland farmers.

It is our new reality and the numbers alone are enough to make your head spin.

According to a presentation by John Rhoderick, with the Maryland Department of Agriculture, the state is projected to add 263,225 additional households by 2020. 29% of those households will be served by septic systems and the other 71% will be served by Enhanced Nutrient Removal wastewater treatment plants.

ENR wastewater plants are the newest thing in wastewater. As of January, only 19 of the 67 wastewater facilities in Maryland had completed this upgrade. The Little Patuxent Wastewater Treatment Plant in Savage is undergoing its upgrade right now. It is projected to cost $92 million when completed next spring.  

This massive capital outlay has created a ripple effect on the states economy. Anirban Basu presented a recently completed study that found that the economic costs of this first phase of compliance will be “66,000 fewer jobs, leading to a $2.8 billion loss in wage/salary income.”

He argues that “Maryland’s contributions to Bay restoration should be commensurate with the contributions of other states.”

Good luck with that.
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