Cumberland Times-News

January 5, 2013

State awards contract for nearly $400,000 at Rocky Gap

Wastewater treatment plant work necessary to accommodate casino use

Matthew Bieniek
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — A contract for an essential wastewater treatment plant at Rocky Gap Lodge & Golf Resort and at the adjacent state park has been awarded to Watek Engineering Corp. of Silver Spring. The new plant, labeled an upgrade, is essential to the operation of a casino in the lodge.

The $391,869 award was made at the Maryland Board of Public Works meeting in Annapolis on Wednesday, according to board records. The board consists of the governor, treasurer and comptroller of the state. Funding is only available for the design and bidding stages of the contract. Watek will get a go-ahead for construction once the state has procured funding for the project, according to board documents.

“The current wastewater treatment plant is outdated and not capable of reliably meeting projected discharge permit requirements. In addition, the infrastructure is aging and undersized and will also require improvements to service the increasing water and wastewater demand,” the board agenda stated.

State officials said in 2011 that the existing treatment process does not meet the current drinking water regulations. Maryland Environmental Services, which runs the plant, rents temporary treatment equipment to remain in compliance with water regulations. MES is an independent state agency that runs the Rocky Gap water plant.

The plant is old and the equipment is obsolete, state officials said. Repair parts are difficult to find. The lodge brings the highest demands on the system and stresses an aging distribution line that runs under Lake Habeeb. Those stresses will only become greater with a casino and likely packed-to-capacity lodge rooms and conference space added at the resort.

The expanded capacity plant will likely be relocated to the other side of the lake, state officials have said.

The board also approved an additional purchase of land for Green Ridge State Forest for a 32-acre parcel owned by Mark and Cynthia Helba, board records show.

“The property includes approximately 800 feet of shoreline on Town Creek, which is outstanding habitat for the wood turtle. ... The property is adjacent to and will be managed as part of Green Ridge State Forest and provides needed road frontage access to a remote portion of the forest,” the board’s agenda states.

Town Creek enters Maryland at an elevation of 900 feet and drops 360 feet during its 30-mile journey to the Potomac River, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources fisheries website. The creek is stocked with brown and rainbow trout. Smallmouth bass, rock bass and sunfish are also present in the stream.

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