Heavy Labor Day Weekend Rain Leads to SSOs
Wednesday Sep 5th, 2018
A downpour late on Friday, Aug. 31, resulted in approximately 6.4 million gallons of stormwater mixed with sewer water spilling from the sewer system into city waterways. The rain at the beginning of the Labor Day weekend resulted in about 4.3 million gallons escaping from five structured overflows into the Jones Falls, while most of the remainder came from a manhole in a Southwest Baltimore industrial area near the Gwynns Falls.
Structured overflows were designed as part of Baltimore’s sewer system more than 100 years ago to alleviate the volume when stormwater infiltrates into the sewer pipes. The structures automatically divert excess water directly into streams in order to prevent it from surfacing on streets or in basements. DPW is in the process of improving its sewer system and eliminating these structures as part of the Sanitary Sewer Consent Decree.
The Baltimore City Health Department and the Maryland Department of the Environment were notified of the sewage releases. The public is reminded to avoid contact with urban waterways due to the risk of pollution. For information about health concerns as a result of sewer overflows please click http://health.baltimorecity.gov/sanitary-sewer-overflows-sso.
As a reminder, citizens who experience basement sewage backups as a result of rain events are encouraged to take advantage of the city’s Expedited Reimbursement Program (ERP). This program is to reimburse residents and property owners for cleanup costs related to sewage backups caused by wet weather. Application and eligibility information can be found at https://publicworks.baltimorecity.gov/sewer-consent-decree/building-backups. Please note that this program is NOT designed for costs related to flood damage, hurricanes, or other extreme weather events.