EPA Proposes 14 Year Extension for Baltimore Sewage Repairs

Baltimore, Maryland — The Environmental Protection Agency and Maryland Department of the Environment today proposed a revision to a federal consent decree that will grant Baltimore a 14-year extension for repairs and upgrades to its leaky, antiquated sewer system.
In 2002, the city signed a consent decree with the federal and state agencies that was supposed to end the city’s discharge of millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Inner Harbor and Chesapeake Bay by January 1, 2016.
“It is disappointing that this proposed revision to Baltimore’s sewage consent decree drags out the deadline 14 years into the future for a $2 billion project the city has already had 14 years to finish, and which was supposed to be completed six months ago,” said Tom Pelton, Director of Communications for the Environmental Integrity Project.
“The revised consent decree doesn’t say a word about providing financial and cleanup help to the thousands of often lower-income city residents whose homes have been flooded with raw sewage, which is a real environmental justice issue,” Pelton said. “Just last week, EPA released a new policy saying that environmental justice will be a priority for the agency, and the fact that this consent decree doesn’t address this problem is a lost opportunity.”
“On the positive side, it is a step forward that the consent decree sets a 2021 deadline for fixing a sewer main restriction problem at the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant, and that the state will now be requiring Baltimore to publicly report its sewage dumping into the Jones Falls and Inner Harbor.”
To read a copy of the proposed consent decree, click here.