Repairs begin on sewer pipe that caused spill in West Baltimore

May 30, 2004|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A contractor began repair work yesterday morning to unclog a blocked sewer pipe that spilled more than 60 million gallons of raw sewage into the Gwynns Falls in West Baltimore, city officials said.

While a bypass continued to divert the sewage by pumping it through a large hose extending two blocks near Braddish Avenue and Winchester Street, a contractor began dredging down to the pipe to clear out the blockage.

It was not clear yesterday when the pipe would become unclogged, said Kurt Kocher, a spokesman for the Baltimore Department of Public Works.

"We want to get it done as quickly as possible," Kocher said yesterday.

The leak became apparent May 22, but its exact location was not determined until Tuesday.

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

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

On Friday, a contractor set up a bypass so that the spill from the 39-inch-wide line could be pumped through a large hose connected from a manhole in front of the blockage to another on the other side of it.

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

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