Sewage spill into Gwynns Falls is halted

repairs to begin today

May 29, 2004|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Raw sewage stopped spilling from a blocked sewer pipe into the Gwynns Falls in West Baltimore yesterday after a contractor set up a bypass, city officials reported.

The leak became apparent last Saturday, but its exact location, near Braddish Avenue and Winchester Street, was not determined until Tuesday. More than 60 million gallons of raw sewage spilled into the stream, prompting city health officials to post health warnings.

A contractor diverted the sewage spilling from the 39-inch- wide line yesterday by pumping it through a large hose connected from a manhole in front of the blockage to another on the other side of it. Another contractor is expected to arrive today to dredge down to the pipe and clear out the blockage, said Kurt Kocher, a spokesman for the Baltimore Department of Public Works.

About 8.5 million gallons of sewage flowed each day into the stream, which empties into the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River, Kocher said.

The city Health Department posted signs around the stream and in nearby Carroll Park warning residents not to go near the water. The signs will remain until health officials have tested the water and found it to be safe.

The Maryland Department of the Environment has been notified of the spill, and fines could be levied, officials said.

The Gwynns Falls spill will not affect drinking water or water recreation in the Inner Harbor or Chesapeake Bay, officials said.

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