The Town of Chesapeake Beach, Maryland, has joined forces with the cities of Cambridge and Crisfield to evaluate climate-related risks to critical infrastructure and operations. Using the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT).

The Town focused on the Chesapeake Beach Water Reclamation Treatment Plant (CBWRTP), which provides wastewater services to multiple jurisdictions, including Anne Arundel County, Calvert County, and the Town of North Beach, in addition to the residents of Chesapeake Beach.

Pictured at the Chesapeake Beach Water Reclamation Treatment Plant (CBWRTP) during a site visit from left to right: Steve Fries – EPA, Council Vice President Lawrence Jaworski Town of Chesapeake Beach (TOCB), Kye Baroang- Cadmus Group (EPA Contractor), Holly Wahl Town Administrator (TOCB), Jay Berry Public Works Administrator (TOCB), Joshua Stinnett CBWRTP Superintendent (TOCB). Photo credit to Karen Sanchez – Cadmus Group. Credit: The Town of Chesapeake Beach

Recent sea level rise modeling funded through the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Coastal Resiliency Assessment has shown that the Town and neighboring jurisdictions are projected to encounter increased levels of flooding in and around the CBWRTP. An immediate risk is a potential for flooded roadways limiting 24/7 operation at the Plant.

To assess the effect of constructing and maintaining an additional access road to the CBWRTP, the Town used the CREAT decision and planning support tool with support from the EPA. The assessment included the decreased costs and risks this improvement would make for the multiple jurisdictions the facility serves. Estimates of economic consequences from future flooding and sea level rise suggest that the Town could reduce annual impacts by at least $1,400,000 by investing a yearly equivalent of $50,000-$86,000 in improvements to ensure continued access.

“The Town Council joins me in thanking our Federal and State partners for aiding the Town as we plan for the improvements necessary to maintain critical infrastructure. We look forward to continuing our work with our Federal, State, and local partners to be certain we are limiting flooding and stormwater damage,” stated Patrick J. “Irish” Mahoney, Mayor of the Town of Chesapeake Beach.

In addition to assessing continued access to the CBWRTP, the Town is also reviewing flows received by the Plant, including infiltration and inflow (I&I) due to stormwater and increased tidal level events. The Town expects improvements to continue for the Town and its partnering jurisdictions of Anne Arundel County, Calvert County, and the Town of North Beach to limit the stormwater received at the Plant.

By joining with other Maryland cities, Chesapeake Beach is taking a proactive approach to mitigating the impacts of climate change on critical infrastructure. The CREAT tool has provided the Town with a way to assess and plan for the necessary improvements to maintain its wastewater treatment plant’s operations and ensure continued access for the multiple jurisdictions it serves. With the projected increased levels of flooding in and around the CBWRTP, the Town’s actions are crucial to minimize economic impacts and limit damage from future storm events.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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