Baltimore plans to invest $1.6 billion over the next 13 years to improve the city’s sewer system. The city’s Board of Estimates on Wednesday approved a new consent decree with the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice, resetting the city’s effort to reduce waste running through the system to the Inner Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay.
From the Baltimore Business Journal:
Phase I, which is scheduled to be completed by Jan. 1, 2021, will include upgrades and repairs to the Back River Waste Water Treatment Plant, which is supposed to reduce the amount of sewage that leaks out into the Back River near Essex. Phase II, scheduled to be completed by Dec. 31, 2030, includes upgrades to the city’s hydraulic systems in the sewers to ensure that it can operate at capacity.
Currently, the sewage system is over capacity, which can lead to runoff in the Inner Harbor and the Jones Falls, and eventually, the Chesapeake Bay. Blue Water Baltimore, a local advocacy group working to cleaning up the city’s waterways, estimated that 12 million gallons of sewage were discharged into the Jones Falls and Inner Harbor during a storm in February.