About Wastewater

Wastewater is water that has been used in homes, businesses or industrial operations and carries dissolved and suspended solids. This water is sent to a wastewater treatment plant for processing to remove contaminants.

In the simplest terms, when you take a shower, shave, use a toilet, clean your dishes, rinse at your dentist, wash your hands, manufacture a product….you use water. From the flush to the spin cycle, that water enters a drain which ultimately leads to a treatment facility.

Collection, Conveyance and Pumping

Baltimore’s wastewater treatment system serves approximately 1.6 million people in metropolitan area.

  • Two Wastewater Treatment Plants: Back River and Patapsco
  • Collects and treats up to 250 million gallons wastewater daily (Back River: 180 MGD/Patapsco: 63 MGD) 
  • There are 3,100 miles of sanitary mains in the whole system. We maintain the 1,400 miles in Baltimore City.
  • Collects and treats an average flow of 210 million gallons wastewater daily (Back River: design flow 180 MGD/ Patapsco: design flow 73 MGD) with 
  • There are 3,100 miles of sanitary mains in the whole system. We maintain 1,400 miles in Baltimore City. 
  • Operates eight (8) major wastewater pumping stations and 10 (ten) minor installations.

 The Wastewater System and You

The City’s wastewater system is taken for granted by just about everyone. In many ways that is good because one generally would only thinks about it when a backup occurs. As long as your tub drains and your toilet flushes, then the system is working for you.

In order to keep the system working properly in your neighborhood please remember to only deposit appropriate materials down your drains. Paper towels and rags do not dissolve and will clog your pipes. Solvents and other hazardous materials can pose a danger to you, corrode your sewer lines and make wastewater treatment more difficult. Oils and grease will build up in your line and are a leading cause of sewage backups.

It you have large trees on or near your property the roots may enter your sewer connection. Commercial tree-root inhibitors (a powder which can be flushed down your toilet each month) will help to keep your lines root-free. These are available at major hardware stores. Avoid planting on top of any utility lines and call Miss-Utility before doing any digging.