Baltimore County to spend $13 million on White Marsh Run restoration

September 24, 2014|By Alison Knezevich | The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore County will spend $13 million to replace a sewer line and relocate thousands of feet of degraded stream bed of White Marsh Run in a project officials say is needed to reduce pollution flowing to the Chesapeake Bay.

The stream feeds into the Bird River and the bay, and officials say erosion has exposed a sewer line along White Marsh Boulevard that has repeatedly overflowed into the stream.

Vince Gardina, director of the county's Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability, said the project is one of the largest of its kind ever undertaken by the county.

Gardina said the large amount of paved surfaces in White Marsh result in a torrent of water after storms, eroding the stream over time and increasing sediment and pollutants — nitrogen and phosphorus — that eventually flow to the bay.

The pipeline once was located a safe distance from the stream bed, but the stream has meandered over the past few decades, said public works chief Ed Adams. "The stream has actually eroded away and exposed the sewer line," Adams said.

To restore the stream, workers will relocate about 6,300 feet of stream channel, create wetlands and stabilize the stream banks and bed, officials said. Workers also will place large stones around the sewer line and replace 800 feet of pipeline with a larger one.

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said in a statement the restoration — expected to be completed by the end of 2015 — would slow down the runoff by "converting stream banks from virtual cliffs of dirt into more natural flood plains that hold the water and absorb nutrients and pollution."

The project will be funded by bond revenues and money from annual water and sewer fees paid by property owners.

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