Monday, October 16, 2017

Judge Gives Baltimore 13 Years . . .

Longer to pollute the Bay: Judge approves disputed plan to fix Baltimore’s sewage overflows
Brushing aside an environmental group’s objection, a federal judge has given the city of Baltimore another 13 years to eliminate the chronic sewage overflows that frequently render local streams and the harbor unsafe for recreation.

U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz approved a consent decree on Thursday spelling out a new plan for overhauling Baltimore’s aged, leaky sewer system. It modifies the initial agreement reached in 2002 with federal and state regulators, which had given the city until January 2016 to fix its problems. Despite spending nearly $1 billion on repairs over that time, by city officials’ estimates, the overflows continue.

The revised plan, which was originally unveiled in June 2016, drew criticism from local residents and environmental groups. It was revised after closed-door talks and resubmitted in late August, with provisions added to address sewage backups in homes and to provide more information to the public.

Under the new agreement, the city pledges 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 the end of 2030. The projected cost of the new work is $1.6 billion, with much of that to be borne by local residents and businesses, though federal and state funds have been offered to lighten the burden on ratepayers.

The bulk of the overflows should be remedied, city officials say, by fixing a major misalignment in the “headworks” of the city’s Back River wastewater treatment plant. That causes a 10-mile backup of sewage beneath Baltimore and significantly reduces the capacity of the system to handle additional flows during heavy rains.
I guess they'll have to buy a few more pardons.

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