Thursday, June 2, 2016

Baltimore Gets 14 ½ More Years to Get Its Shit Together

Federal and Maryland regulators have agreed to give the city of Baltimore another 14 ½ years to fix chronic sewage overflows and leaks that have long rendered its harbor and urban watershed unfit for swimming or other human contact.

Under the agreement — which modifies a 2002 consent decree that failed to end overflows — Baltimore officials expect to spend another $1.2 billion on sewer repairs and upgrades. That’s on top of nearly $900 million city officials say has already been spent over the past 14 years on the leak-plugging effort.

Federal, state and city officials say they expect overflows to be greatly reduced within the next five years under the 91-page agreement, which was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. The pact sets a January 2021 deadline for completing more than 20 repair projects, including a costly fix for an underground sewage backup caused by misaligned pipes at the Back River wastewater treatment plant.

But the city would have another decade — until December 2030 — to finish overhauling its 1,400-mile sewer system so it can withstand moderate rainstorms without overflowing. Then the city would be required to monitor the situation for two more years — to 2032 — to make sure the fixes worked.
I'm pretty sure if you give elected officials, especially Maryland or Baltimore elected officials, a deadline past their reasonable expectation of being in office, they aren't going to work very hard at it.

Compare to EPA's goals for the overall Bay diet. which includes agriculture.
2017 Watershed Implementation Plans (WIP) Outcome: By 2017, have practices and controls in place that are expected to achieve 60 percent of the nutrient and sediment pollution load reductions necessary to achieve applicable water quality standards compared to 2009 levels.

2025 Watershed Implementation Plans (WIP) Outcome: By 2025, have all practices and controls installed to achieve the Bay’s dissolved oxygen, water clarity/submerged aquatic vegetation and chlorophyll a standards as articulated in the Chesapeake Bay TMDL document.
UPDATE: This post got us named "Blog of the Day" over at Pirate's Cove. Thanks, Teach!

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