The Salisbury Wastewater Treatment Plant (Photo: WBOC)
SALISBURY, Md.- There was more reaction Thursday from the City of Salisbury about its ongoing sewer saga.
On Wednesday, a jury awarded the city an additional $2.1 million for its defunct wastewater treatment plant.
In total, Salisbury recouped $12 million, which is a far cry from the $40 million it spent on the project.
City Councilwoman Laura Mitchell said that the money awarded is not a lot but it will be used to pay for necessary upgrades.
"There are a lot of parts of the system that we will need to change, rework, revamp in order to make them work with the new system," Mitchell said. "That means that we don't have to raise that $12 million out of the ratepayers' pockets. It means that for the developers that we don't have to increase our connection fee."
Peter Bozick, an executive vice president with George, Miles & Buhr, LLC, said that the architectural and engineering design firm is contracting with the city to fix the plant.
Bozick said he believes that the firm can fix the problem of what he calls high levels of nitrogen present in the water that flows through the treatment plant.
"We have a very high degree of confidence because we are using some tried and true treatment technologies specifically geared towards the nitrogen removal," he said. "We have every confidence that it will be successful when we make the fix and put in the new tanks and the new processes."
Some people around the city consider the deal to be bittersweet, calling it a moral victory but still a financial loss.
Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Brad Bellacicco said it is a relief to be able to move on.
"There are a lot of businesses in this town that rely on the water that employ thousands of people," he said. "And we don't want to lose those jobs because the water doesn't provide the kind of quality or pressure that they need."
Mitchell said it could take between three to five years to complete the upgrades.
In a statement to WBOC the managing company, ARCADIS said it is disappointed in the verdict and is looking at options for an appeal in this case.
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