Headspring of leak found in basement


May 08, 2007

THE PROBLEM -- Water is flowing continuously from a pipe in back of homes in North Baltimore's Homeland neighborhood.

THE BACKSTORY -- Jay Rubin of Homeland complained that he has twice called the city's 311 number and his homeowner's association to report the leak, which he said began flowing last fall.

Watchdog visited the wide alley between Taplow and Broxton roads used as an access way to parking spaces and found water spilling from a small pipe. A steady stream ran down the alley and filled two potholes.

"Now, the wasted water that flows 24/7 down the lane has deteriorated the alley and is washing asphalt debris," Rubin wrote in an e-mail to Watchdog. "If there was a drought, the city would be doing something about it."

Kurt Kocher, a spokesman for the Department of Public Works, said an inspector concluded that the water does not come from the city, but rather is being discharged from a sump-pump in the basement of a home on Taplow Road. It is a common problem in the city, but Kocher said a continuous flow is unusual.

"It should be resolved in a way other than sending [the water] down an alley," Kocher said. He said the homeowner has advised the city that he has hired a plumber to discharge the water into his drainage system.

Rubin said he also has a water problem, and has two sump pumps at either end of his basement but does not have a continuous flow of water. He said he has lived in Homeland for seven years, but noticed a water problem at his neighbor's house only in the past seven months.

"Even in the winter, when there was snow piled up on it, it went all the time," Rubin said in an interview, adding that his homeowner's association, not the city, maintains the alley. He said the water has damaged the asphalt and will need to be repaired.

WHO CAN FIX THIS? -- In this case, a private resident is responsible for fixing the problem. The Department of Public Works and code enforcement officers can step in if an issue is not resolved. To report a problem, call 311.


Watchdog reported April 24 that lights blink outside two South Baltimore fire stations that have been closed for years. One is used by maintenance workers; the other by paramedic supervisors.

Rick Binetti, a fire department spokesman, said a review is under way to determine which stations need lights to continuously blink, warning motorists to expect emergency vehicles to emerge from the station at any moment.

"We're working with transportation on a solution to the light constantly on and/or blinking," Binetti said in an e-mail updating the department's review. "They will study possible safety issues involved, but we are working toward maybe installing switches inside the houses."

That would allow officials to turn on the lights as needed.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.