Officials to discuss sewage spills

Meeting scheduled after two incidents in Baltimore County


Baltimore County officials are scheduled to meet with environmental groups tonight to discuss recent spills that poured more than 5 million gallons of raw sewage into county waterways.

Representatives from the Baltimore County departments of Environmental Protection and Resource Management and Public Works will be available to meet with groups who have questions or concerns about the sewage system.

The county recently battled two sewage spills within a week.

The first took place April 28 when 5 million gallons of sewage spilled into Gunpowder Falls. A broken pump at the Perry Hall pumping station, one of the county's largest, was blamed.

The 20-hour overflow caused county environmental officials to warn against fishing and boating on a stretch of Baltimore County's most scenic river.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation characterized the spill as "enormous" for a waterway the size of Gunpowder Falls.

The second spill occurred May 5 when 190,000 gallons of sewage spewed into School House Cove and Bear Creek after an alarm failed to sound at the North Point Village Pumping Station in Dundalk.

That spill continued overnight before it was halted.

Again, county environmental officials posted signs warning residents not to fish or come into contact with the water.

The second spill drew criticism from the Washington, D.C.-based Clean Water Action group.

The group, which has offices in Baltimore, said the spills were violations of the federal Clean Water Act.

As a result of the overflows, county public works officials created a task force to inspect the county's 106 pumping stations. The county has set aside $239 million over the next five years to improve the sewage system, made up of 3,000 miles of pipe that handles 100 million gallons of sewage daily.

The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at 401 Bosley Ave., Room 407.

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