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Fresh Water, Foul Sewage

The Dripby Fern Shen7:00 pmOct 23, 20170

Spilled oil flows into the Jones Falls and Inner Harbor

Petroleum-based lubricant traced to a stormwater outfall on Falls Road

Above: Oily substance found floating on the surface of the Jones Falls coming from an outfall pipe. (Blue Water Baltimore Facebook)

State officials today said they contained oil spilling out of a stormwater outfall into the Jones Falls.

Even so, small patches of iridescent oil could be seen this evening seeping through a protective boom and floating downstream towards the Inner Harbor.

The oil was coming from a twin-pipe outfall about 300 feet north of the Baltimore Streetcar Museum on Falls Road.

The environmental group, Blue Water Baltimore, is warning people not to come into contact with the Jones Falls and to report any oiled birds or other wildlife to the U.S. Coast Guard.

(The phone number for the local U.S. Coast Guard command center is 410-576-2693.)

“Based on what the Maryland Department of the Environment has found, it appears to be some kind of lubrication oil, maybe something taken up by some kind of a sump pump that had leaked out of some machinery,” said Chief Petty Officer Andy Kendrick.

“If the source can be found, they will definitely be held responsible,” Kendrick told The Brew.

Kendrick said an estimated 50 gallons of oil spilled out of the outfall, located near the 2100 block of Falls Road.

Sheen at Pier Six

A spokeswoman for Blue Water said a staffer conducting routine river monitoring detected the oil on Friday morning and called state and city officials.

Kendrick said a bystander also noticed a sheen at Pier Six and called the Department of Natural Resources.

State inspectors traced the source to the Falls Road outfall (“They just flipped up manhole covers and kept looking,” Kendrick said) and took action to contain the flow by placing floating booms where the pipes empty into the Jones Falls.

He said the costs of cleanup are being covered by the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, money that oil companies are required to set aside for remediation where the source is undetermined.

The oil spill follows on the heels of a 41,000-gallon sewage overflow on the Jones Falls that was discovered on Friday and stopped this morning.

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