Green slime grows on a Riverside sidewalk

May 15, 2010

The problem: "Green slime" grows behind a building in Riverside in South Baltimore.

The back story: What do you do if you fear The Blob has moved into your neighborhood?

While taking a walk, Dawn Dulaney and her husband noticed what she described as "green slime" on a sidewalk in the 1400 block of Stevenson St.

The green stuff was on the sidewalk, and there was some trash mixed in, she said in a call to Watchdog. She worried that it was mold or a substance that could harm people, pets or the environment.

"It looked like something environmentally unfriendly and just unhealthy, from a human standpoint," Dulaney said.

The sidewalk was wet, and the liquid looked as if it might have come from an industrial building that faced Woodall Street and was no longer in use. Dulaney said that the building had fallen into disrepair.

Watchdog called the Maryland Department of the Environment and Baltimore housing officials, who oversee code enforcement, to find out who could investigate this problem.

An environmental sanitarian from the Baltimore Department of Health visited the site last week, according to department spokesman Brian Schleter. The sanitarian observed green algae growing on the sidewalk, stemming from what appears to be groundwater coming up from cracks between the sidewalk and the building.

Health department officials have sent a violation notice to the building owner under the nuisance code, directing that all standing water around the property's foundation be eliminated and all foundation cracks be repaired by this Friday, the spokesman said. The owner must also waterproof the exterior walls and eliminate the algae growth.

If he fails to take the necessary steps, the owner faces a $100 citation, Schleter said.

Who can fix this: Patricia Vauls, Ecology and Institutional Review, Baltimore Department of Health, 410-396-4428. City residents should call 311 to report problems.

— Liz F. Kay

Need Help?

Is there something in your neighborhood that's not getting fixed? Tell us where the problem is and how long it's been there by e-mailing watchdog@baltsun.com or calling 410-332-6735.

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