Conowingo Dam owner Exelon Corp. and the state of Maryland have reached a settlement under which the Chicago-based energy company will invest $200 million to clean up the Susquehanna River, and, by extension, the Chesapeake Bay.
That includes $41 million to reduce the amount of trash and debris passing through the dam toward the bay, $47 million for projects to increase populations of grasses and oysters and $500,000 to study how to deal with sediment built up behind the dam.
The company and Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration had been at odds over Exelon’s management of the flow through the dam after record rainfall across the Mid-Atlantic in 2018 sent a surge of debris downstream into the bay.
Even before that, they had long discussed what to do to reduce sediment and nitrogen pollution reaching the Chesapeake because the dam has reached its capacity for trapping that material. Exelon sued Maryland last year after environmental officials issued the Conowingo a new water quality permit that demanded the company do more to reduce pollution passing through the dam. The company argued it should not be held responsible for pollution it does not create.