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Posted on: May 6, 2020

Environmental Commission Challenges Residents to “Pump for the Bay”

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In addition to the prize of a healthier Chesapeake Bay, one lucky county resident will be reimbursed up to $350 for their septic system pump-out or upgrade in 2020 by entering the “Pump for the Bay” contest, run by the Calvert County Environmental Commission.

Any Calvert County resident who hires a company to pump out their septic tank or upgrades to a nitrogen-removing tank between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, is eligible to enter by submitting a copy of the bill or receipt along with an entry form. Entries must be received before 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. Full details and entry form are available online at www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/PumpfortheBay.

The commission will select one top prize winner to be reimbursed up to $350 in a drawing to be held at the January 2021 Environmental Commission meeting. Additional prizes include gift certificates from Calvert County businesses and free passes to county recreational facilities. Winners will be notified by mail.

Even when operating properly, conventional septic systems remove only about 10% of nitrogen from the effluent that flows from the septic tank into the drain field. Excess nitrogen can enter the groundwater and eventually enters the Chesapeake Bay, increasing algae growth. Excessive algae causes a decline in water quality, reduces marine plant and animal life and creates low-oxygen “dead zones.”

Homeowners can help reduce nitrogen pollution in the county’s waterways by pumping their home’s septic tank every 2-3 years or upgrading to a more efficient system that converts 50-75% of the effluent nitrogen to a gas and vents it harmlessly into the atmosphere.

The contest, now in its 15th year, is sponsored by the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) and Department of Planning & Zoning. Prizes in previous years were donated by the Calvert County Department of Parks & Recreation, Lusby Hardware, Chesapeake’s Bounty, Dream Weaver Catering & Café and others.

The Environmental Commission was established in 1975 by the BOCC to promote recycling programs, alternative energy use and energy conservation; provide public education through outreach events; support other county environmental organizations; and advise the BOCC, the Department of Planning & Zoning and the Planning Commission on environmental matters. Learn more about the Calvert County Environmental Commission at www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/Environment.

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