The City of Bowie is responsible for collection and treatment of raw sewage within the city-owned service area. This area includes:
All other areas of the city are served by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC).
As a homeowner you should know that despite the City’s vigorous preventive maintenance procedures, sewer blockages and backups do occur. If you experience a sewer back up or signs of an impending blockage such as slow drain flow, slow flushing toilets, or gurgling noises from shower or tub drains, you should immediately contact a plumber. A plumber should be able to tell you the location of the blockage. While the City has responsibilities to keep the sewer mains clear, homeowners are usually responsibility for any blockages or breaks in the sewer house connection (the lateral sewer from the house to the main). Please see specific information on sewer blockage responsibilities here.
The Bowie wastewater treatment plant process an average of 2.2 million gallons of wastewater daily. Our plant was the first in the United States to utilize Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR). This is a natural treatment process that reduces the need for chemicals, while improving effluent quality. Our plant has won major environmental awards from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Maryland Municipal League. Scores of plants along the Atlantic Coast adopted this BNR process.
In late 2011, we completed a major upgrade to the wastewater treatment plant to incorporate Enhanced Nutrient Removal (ENR). The project cost was a little over 10 million dollars using about 8.5 million dollars of grant funding and a little more than 1.5 million dollars of low interest state loans.
This was a complete upgrade and has brought our plant to the current state-of-the-art in wastewater treatment. It has long been established that nitrogen and phosphorous are the two main pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay. They significantly increase certain types of algae that reduce oxygen levels in the Bay. As a result of this upgrade, we are now reducing nitrogen levels to less than 3 milligrams per liter and phosphorous to less then 0.3 milligrams per liter. In addition, we upgraded the final disinfection process to incorporate a system of ultraviolet lights. The previous process of using chlorine gas was an older technology and was expensive. And there is risk involved whenever handling chlorine gas. The new system provides final disinfection using ultraviolet light and eliminates the need for chlorine gas.
Sewer problems, such as backups at a manhole, sewer breaks, missing manhole covers in the above mentioned sections are the responsibility of the Utilities Division. Sewer backups within a home or business are the responsibility of the property owner and should be handled by a plumber. The city maintains only the sewer main lines.
For more information or for assistance, please contact the Public Works Department at 301-809-2344.