The city has issued an updated report disclosing a third sewer overflow near the East Chase Street spill last night.
About 36,000 gallons of untreated sewage overflowed into the 1000 block of North Durham Street Wednesday night and early today, the release says.
In addition, the city reported the discharge of an undisclosed amount of untreated sewage into the Jones Falls through a practice known as “structured overflows.”
A Brew reader pointed out today that debris from what appeared to be a sewer spill could be observed in the 1900 block of Falls Road. Tonight the city said that sewage had been released there.
The practice of intentionally dumping raw sewage into the Jones Falls during heavy rainfalls, in order to reduce sewage backups in streets and buildings, has come under criticism by the Environmental Integrity Project.
The group said that 335 million gallons of such sewage was released over the last five years, but the city did not report the discharges because the overflows were “operating as designed” rather than unanticipated.
Consent Decree Extension
January 1, 2016 was the deadline for Baltimore to complete major improvements to its sewer system in order to end its decades-old practice of dumping untreated sewage into waterways and the Chesapeake Bay during heavy rainfall.
The city is still years away from completing the expensive work required under the 2002 consent decree. It is now seeking an extension of the agreement from the Environmental Protection Agency and Maryland Department of the Environment.
The sewer main under Chase Street in the Middle East neighborhood also overflowed last night, sending cascades of wastewater into the street and, via storm drains, the Inner Harbor.
The Department of Public Works said the spill, precipitated by last night’s storm, resulted in about 110,000 gallons of overflow released between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m.
The same location (1700 East Chase) was the scene of a massive 1.4-million-gallon spill in August 2014 and a 51,000-gallon overflow last June, according to on-line state records.
DPW is required to report discharges of over 10,000 gallons to the state.
DPW said another overflow took place last night at the Patapsco Wastewater Treatment Plant in far South Baltimore.
The combination of rainwater infiltrating sewer lines and a brief electrical disruption resulted in about 50,000 gallons of partially treated wastewater entering the Patapsco River, the agency said.