BREAKING: The Gunpowder Riverkeeper, represented by Patrick DeArmey of the EAC, recently reached a settlement with MDE and Carroll County following GRK’s challenge to the Hampstead Waste Water Treatment Plant CWA NPDES permit.  This is a big win for the Gunpowder River watershed and the Pretty Boy and Loch Raven reservoirs that provide drinking water to the Baltimore metropolitan area.

EAC and GRK’s Press Release: HWWTP Final Press Release

The settlement withdrew the permit challenge and the County agreed to:

  • An acceleration of the timeline for the facility’s upgrade to important Enhance Nutrient Removal (ENR) technology.
  • The commitment of funding to Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER® for water quality monitoring projects that will protect the Gunpowder River watershed.

Additionally, MDE agreed to:

  • Undergo key programmatic changes by adding a compliance history section to all Fact Sheets for reissued municipal wastewater discharge permits statewide.
  • Prioritize stream sampling upstream and downstream from the facility’s discharge.
  • Add an Antidegradation discussion section to all Fact Sheets for reissued municipal wastewater discharge permits statewide explaining discharge’s potential to impact any identified Tier II stream segments and if these impacts were analyzed.


Theaux Le Gardeur, executive director and Riverkeeper, Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER® said: “The settlement assures that MDE is committed to more transparency in letting downstream residents know if these wastewater treatment plants are following state and federal laws. These changes ensure that meaningful and robust public participation in the wastewater permit renewals will take place. According to the Chesapeake Bay program, the region is home to 472 Municipal and Industrial wastewater treatment plants. Wastewater contributes to one third of the nitrogen and phosphorous in the Chesapeake Bay. The communities that live downstream of these discharges are the most adversely impacted by them and will know have more information to ask for cleaner and safer water to drink, fish and swim in.”