Nicodemus plant work may cost $7 million

April 08, 1997


Staff Writer

A study will determine whether Washington County should spend up to $7 million in fiscal 1999 and 2000 to upgrade the 30-year-old old Nicodemus Wastewater Treatment Plant at Williamsport to meet tightening federal environmental standards.

In its proposed five-year Capital Improvements Plan, the county Water and Sewer Department has penciled in $7,092,900 for "mandatory biological nutrient removal improvements" at Nicodemus.

Washington County Water and Sewer Department Assistant Administrator Jim Bishop said that doesn't mean the project, at that cost, will be done.


Bishop said experts from the state Department of the Environment are working with local officials on a long-term study to decide the most cost-effective way for the county to comply with tightening phosphorus and nitrogen discharge limits.

Bishop said the study, which began six months ago, will consider both Nicodemus and the nearby Conococheague Wastewater Treatment Plant, which was built in 1991.

Depending on the results, several things could happen.

Bishop said the county could decide to:

  • Upgrade Nicodemus.
  • Scrap Nicodemus and divert all wastewater now coming into that plant to the Conococheague plant.
  • Downsize Nicodemus and divert some flow to Conococheague.

Any way you cut it, Bishop said, it won't be cheap. For example, wastewater would have to be pumped uphill from the Nicodemus system in order to reach the Conococheague plant two miles away, he said.

Bishop says Nicodemus now handles wastewater from the Town of Williamsport, the Tammany/Van Lear, Cloverton and Greenlawn areas, and all of the industrial park off Governor's Lane Boulevard.

County Commission President Gregory I. Snook said the $7 million estimate was a "worst-case" figure the county is using for long-term planning purposes.

Snook said the commissioners expect to be updated on progress of the study in 30 to 60 days "and adjust the CIP one way or the other, depending on what the findings are."

As proposed, county bonds would pay for $4.7 million of the proposed $7 million in improvements to Nicodemus, and the state would foot the remainder.

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