DPW Completes Projects to Cover  Remaining Open-Air, Treated Water Reservoirs at Ashburton and Druid Lake

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

Today, Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) Interim Director Richard J. Luna announced that both projects to cover the remaining open-air, treated water reservoirs at Ashburton and Druid Lake have been successfully completed and the new      tanks are in service. For DPW, this achievement marks the end of open-air reservoirs to store treated drinking water, adding another layer of protection to the region’s water supply.

Based on the successful completion of these tank projects, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) have lifted their standing precautionary advisory that recommended individuals with severely weakened immune systems should drink bottled, boiled, or filtered water related to a previous one-time positive test for cryptosporidium in September. All subsequent tests, taken on a weekly basis since then, have been negative.

“The Ashburton and Druid Lake reservoirs are an integral part of Baltimore’s water system,” said Interim Director Luna. “The successful completion of these underground tank projects, which have been in the works for nearly six years, adds a higher level of protection to the Baltimore region’s water supply, and this investment will help to ensure the continued delivery of high-quality water to residents and water customers for generations.”

The Ashburton tanks became operational on December 7, 2023, and the Druid Lake tank became operational on December 21, 2023. The remaining site work for both locations, including park amenities, is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2024.  

In addition, the City of Baltimore has met Safe Drinking Water Act requirements for three other previously uncovered reservoirs, Towson Reservoir, May 31, 2013; Montebello Filtration Plant II Reservoir, June 30, 2014; and Guilford Reservoir, July 1, 2019.

Given federal regulations require finished drinking water to be covered or receive additional treatment, the City of Baltimore has pursued these projects to cover the remaining reservoirs for several years. In 2017, DPW launched construction for the  Druid Lake Project, and started work on the Ashburton project in 2018.

Work on both projects was subject to unavoidable and extensive delays due to unforeseen site conditions, worker shortages, and supply chain delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since July 2023, DPW has been under a modified Administrative Order on Consent with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which stipulated sampling for Cryptosporidium and Giardia at the formerly uncovered reservoirs.

On Thursday, September 28, 2023, DPW announced that during a routine test, the Druid Lake Reservoir revealed low levels of the microscopic parasite Cryptosporidium. As a result, MDH and MDE placed a precautionary advisory for the immunocompromised and individuals with severely weakened immune systems to drink bottled, boiled, or filtered water. DPW initiated weekly testing of both reservoirs--yielding no additional detections. DPW provided weekly test results for all samples. However, testing is no longer required now that both tanks are covered.

The EPA order also required the Ashburton tank to be in service by November 30, 2023, and the Druid Lake tank to be in service by December 30, 2023. Last month, the EPA granted a two-week extension for the Ashburton tank, which amended the completion date to December 15, 2023. Both projects were completed ahead of their amended schedules.


Related Stories

DPW Offices and Facilities Close for Good Friday, March 29 Trash, Recycling Pickups to Resume Saturday, March 30

Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) Acting Director Khalil Zaied reminds residents that Good Friday, March 29, 2024, is a City holiday and DPW offices and sanitation yards will be CLOSEDThere will be NO trash or recycling collections on Good Friday. Trash and recycling collections, normally scheduled for Friday, March 29, will be collected on the make-up day, Saturday, March 30.

Mayor Scott to Nominate Khalil Zaied as New Director of the Department of Public Works

Mayor Brandon M. Scott has announced his intent to nominate Khalil Zaied as the new Director of the Department of Public Works (DPW). Zaied, who most recently led the Department of Public Works in Champaign, Illinois, will join DPW on March 18, 2024. Previously, he was a nearly 20 year veteran of Baltimore City Government, serving as Deputy Mayor of Operations and Director of Transportation, among other roles.

Mayor Scott, City Agencies Highlight the Return of Weekly Recycling

On Monday, March 4, Mayor Brandon M. Scott, Department of Public Works Interim Director Richard J. Luna, Department of General Services Director Berke Attila, and Baltimore City Chief Administrative Officer Faith Leach joined city staff and community members to highlight the return of weekly, curbside recycling collections for Baltimore City residents, starting Tuesday, March 5.