Anne Arundel County's creeks should be a little cleaner thanks to a $4.1 million low-interest loan to modernize public sewerage.
The Maryland Water Quality Financing Administration announced last week that it would lend $32 million at 4.4 percent interest to Anne Arundel and five other county and town governments for projects that will improve water quality.
Jody Vollmar, a spokeswoman for the county Department of Utilities, said $1.8 million will be used to upgrade the Cox Creek Treatment Plant, which opened in the late 1950s.
Another $225,400 will be used to upgrade the county's 232 pumping stations, which propel sewage to its seven treatment plants, Vollmar said. In particular, the money will be used to reduce odor problems, improve worker safety, add emergency power generators and remove decaying underground storage tanks.
The county has targeted $664,000 toward the rehabilitation of Broadneck's Twin Harbor pumping station near Mill Creek.
The remaining money will go toward the extension of sewerage into three communities: $710,000 for an Ohio Avenue line in Jessup, $1.3 million for pipe extending out Bestgate Road in Annapolis and $59,000 for the Robinson Landing neighborhood in Severna Park.
Vollmar said the money will lower the front-foot fees in those areas to the $6 per foot maximum set by the County Council. The fee pays for the major pipelines to the treatment plants.
The loans are made possible by the state's sale of $21.8 million in revenue bonds on June 4. Proceeds from the bond sale will be combined with state and federal grants to complete the financial package.
Maryland Secretary of the Environment Robert Perciasepe said the low-interest loans will save the six borrowing governments a combined $320,000 annually over the next 20 years.
Maryland created the Water Quality Financing Administration in 1989 after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cut off financial assistance for sewerage improvements. Federal money had previously paid 55 percent of the cost of waste water treatment plants and sewer systems.
The EPA still provides states with some money, but restricts its use to low-interest loans.
Over the past three years, the WQFA has lent $157 million to 31 local governments for 57 projects.