As the population in Crofton and Odenton mushrooms, Anne Arundel County is planning to build a $10 million expansion to the Crofton Meadows Water Treatment Plant to double the amount of drinking water available in that area.
Engineers completed last week the design of the expansion, which will treat 5 million gallons of water a day, said Charles Faircloth, a public works project manager. Bids for the plant will be taken through March 21, and construction is to begin this summer.
The new plant will be built on 10 acres of land next to the existing plant in the 1500 block of Riedel Road. Construction of the plant will take two years.
The expansion will make the Crofton Meadows plant the largest in capacity among the county's 23 water treatment centers, said Matt Mirenzi, water operations superintendent.
Crofton Meadows now processes 4.2 million gallons of water a day. With the upgrade, it will treat a total of 9.2 million gallons of water a day. The closest plant to that size is Severndale Water Treatment Plant in Severna Park, which can treat 7 million gallons of water a day.
Population in the western end of the county has continued to grow, Mr. Mirenzi said, requiring the expansion.
"We constantly have more and more people moving into the service area," he said.
Since the late 1980s, developments such as Piney Orchard, Seven Oaks, Walden and Chapman Farms, have brought several thousand new homes to West County. In 1990, Crofton's population was 15,529, and Odenton's was 8,223. By year's end, Crofton is expected to grow to 18,508 and Odenton to 13,300, according to Alexander D. Speer, Anne Arundel County's demographer.
The plant will serve homes and businesses and provide water for county fire fighters.
It should be able to to handle the growth for at least another six years, said Mr. Mirenzi. When expansion becomes necessary, the plant can be upgraded to treat another 5 million gallons of water a day. Mr. Mirenzi said the new plant also will allow the county to shut down two older plants, Kings Heights Water Treatment Plant in Odenton and Crofton Water Treatment Plant. Both are more than 30 years old, and keeping them open is no longer cost-effective.
The older plants are used to supplement water demand, especially during the summer when people use more water, Mr. Mirenzi said. Each plant can treat a million gallons of water a day. Anne Arundel County draws its drinking water from the ground, primarily from two underground rivers, identified as the Patapsco and the Patuxent aquifers. Water is piped to the treatment plants, which remove iron and other sediment to improve the water's quality. The plant mixes air, chlorine, fluoride, lime and other chemicals to clean the water.