Heavy Labor Day Weekend Rain Leads to SSOs
Thursday Sep 13th, 2018
A downpour on Sunday, September 9, resulted in approximately 24.5 million gallons of stormwater, mixed with sewer water, entering the Jones Falls. An additional 3,000 gallons overflowed into the Gwynns Falls. Almost all of this was released through structured overflows.
Structured overflows were designed as part of Baltimore’s sewer system more than 100 years ago. They alleviate excess volume in the wastewater system when storm water infiltrates into the sewer mains. 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 $2 billion 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 go to 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.