Dundalk sewage spill is second in a week in Baltimore County

May 07, 2002|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County had its second sewage spill in a week - this time 190,000 gallons that poured into waterways in Dundalk before it was stopped yesterday.

The spill, which began Sunday, lasted through yesterday morning because a pumping station alarm system failed to work, county officials said.

"The alarm did not go off," said Elise Armacoast, a county spokeswoman. "[Workers] found it when they went on a routine check this morning."

The discharge of raw sewage flowed into School House Cove and Bear Creek, Armacoast said. Officials from the county's Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management spent yesterday afternoon posting warning signs along the affected waterways.

Yesterday's spill was at the North Point Village Pumping Station, said county officials who spent last week dealing with a 5-million gallon spill in Gunpowder Falls River.

As they did with last week's spill in Gunpowder Falls, officials said any fish caught in the waterways since Sunday should be thrown away and they warned against boating in the area for fear of human contact with any bacteria in the sewage.

"We don't want people to have contact with the water unless we can assure them it's safe," Armacoast said.

Yesterday's spill was the second largest that the county has had since the state began tracking discharges beginning in 2001. Last year, the county had a 60,000-gallon spill into Ben's Run when a power failure shut down the Randallstown pumping station.

Since Maryland has been tracking them, Baltimore County has had 103 spills.

Though the county has called the recent spills isolated incidents, environmental groups said they are examples of a deteriorating sewage infrastructure.

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