Easton Utilities Commission
In 1923, Easton became the first municipality in the state to own all of its utilities, an arrangement that is still unique today. Easton Utilities’ gas department is also currently the only municipal gas utility in Maryland.
Easton Utilities is the community-owned, not-for-profit, utility and telecommunications company for the Town of Easton. The company currently operates the Electric, Natural Gas, Water, Wastewater, Cable Television, Internet, Digital Voice and Cable Television Advertising services for the Town and portions of the surrounding area.
The Electric Department provides over 10,000 customers in a 54 square mile service territory with reliable electricity at the lowest price possible. Easton Utilities purchases electricity on an hourly basis, but we also own 18 electric generators and operate them to offset costs during times of high energy prices. These generators, which have total capacity of 69 megawatts, have the ability to cover the load of the service territory should we become disconnected from the grid.
Since 1914, Easton Utilities has been dedicated to providing clean, clear, healthy water in plentiful supply to all of the town’s residents. Throughout each year, our fully trained and certified staff carefully monitors water quality.
The Water Department currently serves 6,800 customers through 84 miles of water mains and over 550 fire hydrants. Easton Utilities pumps water from naturally filtered underground aquifers (water-bearing sands) through six wells that are 1,000 to 1,200 feet deep. We then treat the water as required and pump it into the distribution system. The water that comes out of a customer’s tap includes water from each of these wells. No single well provides all of a customer’s water. Of those wells, four are drilled 1,000 feet into the Magothy Aquifer. The final two wells are drilled 1,200 feet into the Upper Patapsco Aquifer and feed directly into a state-of-the-art water treatment plant on Glebe Road.
The storage capacity of Easton’s Water Department is 2 million gallons, which is met through two separate 1 million gallon deep water wells. In 2005, Easton Utilities added the second 1-million gallon elevated water storage tank to improve fire flow capability, boost system-wide water pressure, and add capacity sufficient to accommodate the Town’s future needs.
Easton began construction on its first sewage system in 1911. In operation by 1914, it was the first separate storm and sanitary wastewater system in the State of Maryland. Currently, the Wastewater Department serves about 6,800 customers through over 90 miles of wastewater mains, six major pumping stations and an environmentally-friendly wastewater treatment facility.
Completed in 2007, Easton’s Enhanced Nutrient Removal Wastewater Treatment Facility is one of Maryland’s most environmentally friendly wastewater treatment plants. Utilizing Enhanced Nutrient Removal technology, Easton’s new facility meets or exceeds the Chesapeake Bay water quality goals by reducing annual concentrations of nitrogen to 3 milligrams per liter (mg/l) and phosphorus to 0.3 mg/l. These equate to 70 percent and 88 percent reductions respectively. While Easton Utilities’ former facility had operated effectively, more stringent nutrient limitations and growing demand reached the point that the facility required a significant upgrade. This new facility was the first to receive funding from the State of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund. The facility employs a wide range of innovative technology including ultraviolet radiation for disinfection and an advanced Solids Handling System to convert sludge into a dry, manageable and useful fertilizer.
Within the State’s only municipally-owned Gas Department, natural gas is delivered to Easton via pipeline where it is distributed to over 4,800 customers through approximately 100 miles of main and services. The Gas Department distributes an average of 5 million cubic feet of natural gas per day to Easton residents living in its 8.5 square-mile service territory.
Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV)
A natural gas vehicle or NGV is an alternative fuel vehicle that uses compressed natural gas (CNG) or, less commonly, liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a clean alternative to other automobile fuels. NGVs can have an immediate and positive impact on the issues of air quality, U.S. energy security, and public health. According to the Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition, the United States has more than 120,000 NGVs on the road today with more than 8.7 million NGVs in operation worldwide.
Natural gas is one of the cleanest fossil fuels and costs less at the pump than traditional fuels such as gasoline or diesel. It can also help reduce our nation’s reliance on imported foreign oil since it is domestically abundant, safe and offers an environmentally responsible solution to our nation’s energy needs today and tomorrow.
Launched in 1984, Easton Cable is one of the few municipally-owned cable systems in the United States, with its service policies and competitive prices reflecting its local ownership. More than 6,000 Easton households now receive up to 237 channels including basic cable, digital cable, premium channels, high-definition (HD), and digital music. The system was fully upgraded and rebuilt into a hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) design in 2001, which increased system bandwidth from 450 Mhz to 860 Mhz and allowed Easton Cable to offer more programming and entertainment. In 2011, Easton Cable launched Easton Cable Velocity, which includes an all-digital format and video-on-demand services. These upgrades also allow for faster internet services and future cable enchancements.
In 1998, the Cable & Communications Department lauched EastonOnline, an internet service provider featuring high-speed internet access and technical support. EastonOnline currently offers speeds up to 50 mbps making it the fastest service in the areas. Easton Cable was one of the first cable operators on the Eastern Shore to deploy high-speed cable modems. EastonOnline also offers DigitalVoice, website hosting, and advanced network services in addition to the high-speed internet.