Baltimore City Department of Public Works Details Months of Progress at Back River as the Consent Order Extends

Green banner with DPW logo and text "Department of Public Works Press Release"

Today, the Baltimore City Department of Public Works (“DPW”) announced key improvements made at the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant (“WWTP”) over the past eight months. The Consent Order and Revised Directive extension, issued by the Maryland Department of the Environment (“MDE”) to build on the collaborative efforts of DPW and the Maryland Environmental Service (“MES”) and to ensure continued compliance at Back River, has been extended through April 30, 2023.

Under the leadership of Director Jason Mitchell Ed.D in partnership with MES, DPW has made substantial progress toward full compliance at Back River. Over the past eight months, Back River has been in compliance with effluent permit levels and suspended solids, biochemical oxygen demand, total phosphorus and ammonia, and total nitrogen levels have decreased significantly.

Additionally, as a result of the Headworks Project, which helps DPW fulfill requirements to address sanitary sewage overflows, a longstanding “bottleneck” that existed in pipes conveying wastewater to Back River has been eliminated. The Headworks facility at Back River is now able to process 750 million gallons of wastewater a day as compared to the 180 million gallons Back River was able to process before the Headworks Project launched.  

“Since the approval of the Consent Order in June, and subsequent extension in October, we have made tremendous strides toward full compliance at Back River. Thanks to the incredible efforts of over 130 DPW employees at Back River, alongside support from MES, we are proud of the improvements made to upgrade and make Back River more efficient,” said Mitchell, the Director of the Department of Public Works. “We continue to work to make improvements at Back River and ensure the Headworks facility reaches its full potential. DPW looks forward to building on eight months of momentum and remains committed to protecting the health and safety of Baltimore City’s waterways.”

The April 30, 2023 extension of the Consent Order will allow MES to perform the projects and services necessary to ensure continued compliance at Back River. When the Consent Order extension expires, MES project managers will continue to manage the capital improvements projects at the plant until the completion of those projects.

Related Stories

Baltimore City Residents Invited to First of Five Public Meetings to Gather Feedback on Development of 10-Year Solid Waste Management Plan

The Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) will hold the first of five public meetings on February 22 to gather feedback on the 60 percent draft of the 10-Year Solid Waste Management Plan. DPW is encouraging residents, people who work in Baltimore, environmental advocates, business and education leaders, and all other stakeholders to participate in the development of the plan by attending meetings or submitting comments for discussion.   

DPW’s Accepting Applications for the 2023 YH2O Career Mentoring Program Application Deadline: February 24

This award-winning, job-readiness program helps prepare young Baltimore City adults for public works careers. Applications will be accepted through Friday, February 24. Applicants’ interviews will be held Monday, March 13, and Tuesday, March 14. The 2023 YH2O Career Mentoring Program begins Monday, March 20.

Now Available! Baltimore City Residents with Unpaid Water Bill Balances Can Sign Up for PromisePay Payment Plan

DPW Director Jason W. Mitchell, Ed.D., is pleased to announce the launch of DPW's Water Affordability Portal, where Baltimore City residents with unpaid water bills can sign up for interest-free PromisePay payment plans and determine their eligibility for additional water affordability programs.


James E. Bentley II
Jennifer Combs
After hours, weekends, or holidays please call 410-396-3100 for the duty officer

The Baltimore City Department of Public Works supports the health, environment, and economy of our City and region by cleaning our neighborhoods and waterways and providing its customers with safe drinking water and sustainable energy practices.