Dundalk sewage spill is second in a week in Baltimore County

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

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

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

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

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

The spill was at the North Point Village Pumping Station, said county officials, who dealt with a 5 million-gallon spill into the Gunpowder Falls last week.

As they did with last week's spill, officials said any fish caught in the waterways since Sunday should be thrown away. They also warned against boating in the area.

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

Yesterday's spill was the second-largest in the county among 103 reported since the state began tracking discharges last year.

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

Andrew Fellows, Chesapeake program director for Washington-based Clean Water Action Inc., pointed to Baltimore's recent federal agreement to pay $900 million for system improvements as the largest indication of the need to bolster the systems.

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