Rain Overflow Pushes 3.5M Gallons of Sewage into Bay

Here’s the reason you don’t go swimming in the Chesapeake Bay after a heavy rain –Baltimore Brew reports last week’s big rain splashed some 3.2 million gallons of raw sewage in to Baltimore’s harbor.

The city’s public works department says it started with the record rainfall on Tuesday and didn’t stop until early Thursday morning. The heavy storm water runoff overwhelmed several of Baltimore’s wastewater treatment plants and they overflowed. Some leaks were discovered sooner than others.

 

Fairfield Industrial Park on the Patapsco River,
Fairfield Industrial Park on the Patapsco River, Baltimore, including oil tank farms and the Patapsco Wastewater Treatment Plant. Curtis Creek is in the background.
— Photo courtesy Integration and Application Network, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (ian.umces.edu/imagelibrary/)

Mark Reutter of Baltimore Brew reports “Tuesday’s rainfall of 6.3 inches was the second-highest recorded for a single day, eclipsed only by 7.6 inches dumped by a hurricane in 1933.”  The city has been working on improvements as a result of a 2002 agreement with the state and EPA, but the work isn’t done yet.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources tracks water safety for swimmers across the bay. Here’s a list of websites for beach monitoring and advisory for beaches in your area. For those on the Virginia end of the Bay, here’s the Department of Environmental Quality website.

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