It appears that a federal judge will have to settle a serious disagreement over whether the city of Baltimore has a credible new plan for curtailing the frequent sewage overflows and chronic leaks that have long made the harbor and urban waters unsafe for recreation. A local environmental group, Blue Water Baltimore, has asked a federal judge to reject the plan, unless it is further strengthened.13 years seems excessive. WWII was won in 6.
Earlier this month, federal and Maryland regulators announced that they had reached an agreement with the city on the modification of a 15-year-old consent decree that would give Baltimore another 13 years to complete a needed overhaul of its aged sewer system.
Under the agreement, the city pledged to carry out a series of upgrades that it projects should reduce overflows by 80 percent after four years, with further improvements to be completed by 2030. City officials estimate the plan would cost another $1.6 billion, on top of nearly $1 billion already spent on repairs the past 14 years that so far have failed to fix the problem. Water and sewer rates charged residents and businesses have been repeatedly raised to finance the work.
The revised plan, which was originally submitted to the U.S. District Court in Baltimore for approval in June 2016, has since been tweaked in closed-door talks over the last 14 months. Its unveiling last year drew withering criticism from environmental groups and aggrieved homeowners who’ve endured sewage backups into their homes.
In other Bay news, a scientist doubts the efficacy of the ballast water treatments imposed to prevent the importation of invasive species from ballast water released by cargo ships. I suspect most of the damage to be done was already done years ago.