The treatment and purification of waste water from homes and businesses is critical to protecting our health, our fisheries, our wildlife and providing all of us with beautiful, rivers and streams that we can enjoy safely.

Wastewater Treatment

The Little Patuxent Water Reclamation Plant is one of two wastewater treatment plants serving Howard County. The plant is managed by the Bureau of Utilities in the Department of Public Works. The Patapsco Wastewater Treatment Plant also serves Howard County and is managed by the Baltimore City Department of Public Works Bureau of Water and Wastewater.

Howard County’s wastewater treatment plant uses a state-of-the-art technology Enhanced Nutrient Removal system to make it more energy efficient and reduce the amount of nitrogen released into the environment.

Two backup generators at the Little Patuxent Water Reclamation Plant protect the plant from power loss as occurred during Hurricane Sandy. Additionally, the plant installed a solar energy array to completely offset the carbon of the generators and partially offset the carbon emissions of the plant.

Fats, Oils and Greases – Not a friend of Your Drain or Garbage Disposal

Learn more about the Fats, Oils and Greases (FOG) Program and how to avoid clogged pipes that can lead to sewer back­ups in your home and community. By changing our habits one person at a time, one meal at a time, and one household at a time, we can substantially improve the health of our streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay and create a sustainable, green Howard County.

Instead of using your garbage disposal for food scraps, try composting – it’s easy and provides you with organic material for your plants.

Reclaimed Water

Reclaimed water can be used in a variety of ways for purposes that typically do not require drinking water quality. Reclaimed water is a great option for water conservation and has residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional uses.

Reclaimed water systems manage wastewater and allow it to be safely reused for many purposes including: landscape irrigation, toilet and urinal flushing, supply water for ornamental ponds, cooling water for computer or electronic equipment

Howard County’s Water Reuse Division oversees the program. Please visit their webpage for more info.

NSA Cooling Water

Howard County supplies the National Security Agency (NSA) with millions of gallons of treated wastewater per day for a computer cooling system. NSA installed a pump station and pays the County for the treated wastewater that would otherwise be discharged directly into the Little Patuxent River which flows to the Chesapeake Bay.

The majority of the water sent to NSA will evaporate during the cooling process but some water condenses and is discharged in the Little Patuxent River. Howard County and NSA worked together to ensure the river levels will not be affected with the reduced output, nor will the temperature of the discharging water alter the river’s ecosystem. By recycling this wastewater for another use (cooling), NSA is not adding stress to our ground water supply or utilizing drinking water from the reservoir systems.