Sewage spill pollutes Gunpowder Falls

Crews work to halt flow

safety advisory issued

April 29, 2002|By Johnathon E. Briggs | Johnathon E. Briggs,SUN STAFF

An overflow at a pumping station caused millions of gallons of raw sewage to pour into Gunpowder Falls yesterday, prompting health warnings for the waterway from Perry Hall to the Bird River as county public works crews worked to stop the flow and determine the cause.

County public works officials were alerted to the overflow at the Gunpowder pumping station in the 9300 block of Dundawan Road in Perry Hall about 2:30 p.m. By 10 p.m., more than 2 million gallons of sewage had flowed into Gunpowder Falls, according to Ellen Kobler, a county spokeswoman.

By 9 p.m., county workers had managed to divert a third of the 450,000-gallon-per-hour flow to Baltimore's Jones Falls pumping station.

Although the cause of the overflow had not been determined yesterday evening, Kobler said it might have been due to a power surge at the plant or to a foreign object entering the system.

Environmental health officials posted signs along the falls warning against contact with the water until further notice. People who come into contact with the water were advised to wash thoroughly.

County residents living east of Interstate 83 were asked to conserve water to help reduce waste water flow.

The incident does not affect drinking water supplies, county officials said.

Inspectors from the Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management will sample Gunpowder Falls water today. The incident has been reported to the state departments of the Environment and Natural Resources.

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