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State takes over Back River sewage treatment plant

In an unprecedented move, the state took over operations of the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant after it discovered that the City of Baltimore, which operates the Dundalk facility, failed to comply with a order to stop all illegal discharges of sewage. PDF: March 22 Inspection Results | PDF: March 26 Inspection Results The Maryland Department of the Environment has assigned the nonprofit Maryland Environmental Service responsibility for plant operations. “Over time it hasn’t (received) the kind of attention, certified operators, spare parts, ongoing training and monitoring. So we’re very focused on delivering that and working together close to the city every step of the way.”| PDF: Secretary’s Order The Maryland Department of Environment sued the city in January after it said the plant failed to meet permit rejection requirements. An inspection on March 22 found that the problems had worsened. Maintenance issues include unacceptable levels of algae, clogged filters and inoperative storage tanks. Sediment filled with oils, greases and vegetation seeped throughout the system. “It’s really deteriorated over the last few months, and when we inspected it, we found significant issues with the settling tanks, clarifiers, filters – totally unacceptable situation,” Grumbles said. Doug Myers , a Chesapeake Bay Foundation senior scientist, reviewed the inspection report, “We’ve seen before, in Back River, there are fish kills as a result of this. Human impact is mostly concerned if the plant is not working properly, there might also be bacteria in passing. Right now they can only manage with the amount of chlorine they put in before it was released. Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott released a statement, saying, “The Back River and Patapsco sewage treatment plants have had problems that long predate my administration. “We are committed to working with the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and the Maryland Environmental Service (MES) to bring these two facilities into compliance. “It won’t be an overnight solution, but we need to work collaboratively. and combine our resources to ensure clean and healthy communities not only for our residents, but also for the wildlife that inhabits the Chesapeake Bay. “The Secretary of State for the Environment said they were working together to find solutions.” The mayor and the director of public works were very cooperative. They emphasized that this was an issue that needed to be resolved together,” Grumbles said. “Short term gets results right away, like today, tomorrow, in the next 30 days, by building an assessment report. The first Progress Report will be released on Tuesday. Josh Kurtz, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Maryland, released a statement saying, “This action is unprecedented, but necessary to correct long-standing pollution issues at the world’s largest water treatment plant. The Maryland Environmental Service has a wealth of experience in the maintenance of wastewater treatment plants and we hope that this experience will be used to address the operation and maintenance issues that are prevalent throughout the sewage treatment process at the Back River plant.” The MES report on what happened must be completely transparent. Residents are demanding answers on how this integral plant was able to deteriorate to its current state and who allowed this to happen. Residents who live near the plant need information on water quality risks. We expect state and city leaders to be clear about how much pollution the plant released beyond its allowable limits and how that pollution will be mitigated to avoid harming the Chesapeake Bay. There needs to be a publicly available long term plan to ensure the plant is run properly and these outages never happen again. “The Maryland Bay cleanup effort depends on significant reductions in pollution from sewage treatment plants and Back River is the largest such plant in the state. Any unauthorized pollution from the plant will delay the overall cleansing of the state.”

In an unprecedented move, the state took over operations of the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant after it discovered that the City of Baltimore, which operates the Dundalk facility, failed to comply with a order to stop all illegal discharges of sewage.

| PDF: Results of the March 22 inspection
| PDF: Results of the March 26 inspection

The state inspection revealed that the plant poses a risk to the environment and public health.

The state said the plant was in such poor condition that it immediately stepped in to embark on what it calls an environmental rescue mission. The Maryland Department of Environment assigned the nonprofit Maryland Environmental Service responsibility for plant operations.

“This is a very serious problem. We need extraordinary measures to use these tools to respond,” Maryland Environmental Secretary Ben Grumbles said. “Over time it hasn’t (received) the kind of attention, certified operators, spare parts, ongoing training and monitoring. So we’re very focused on delivering that and working together close to the city every step of the way.”

| PDF: Secretary’s order

The Maryland Department of Environment sued the city in January after it said the plant failed to meet permit rejection requirements. An inspection on March 22 found that the problems had worsened. Maintenance issues include unacceptable levels of algae, clogged filters and inoperative storage tanks. Sediment filled with oils, grease and vegetation seeped throughout the system.

“It’s really deteriorated over the past few months, and when we inspected it, we found significant issues with the settling tanks, clarifiers, filters – a completely unacceptable situation,” Grumbles said.

Doug Myers, senior scientist at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, reviewed the inspection report.

“It kind of wiped out the whole factory which will now have to be dismantled and cleaned up,” Meyers said. “We have seen before, in Back River, there are fish kills as a result of this. The human impact is mostly concerned if the plant is not working properly, there could also be bacteria in the way. right now they can only manage with the amount of chlorine they put in before it was released.”

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott released a statement in which he said, “The Back River and Patapsco sewage treatment plants have had issues that long predate my administration.

“We are committed to working with the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and the Maryland Environmental Service (MES) to bring these two facilities into compliance.

“This won’t be an overnight solution, but we must work collaboratively and combine our resources to ensure clean and healthy communities not only for our residents, but also for the wildlife that call the Chesapeake Bay home.”

The environment secretary said they were working together to find solutions.

“The mayor, the director of public works were very collaborative. They emphasized that this was an issue that needed to be resolved together,” Grumbles said. “Short term is getting results right away, like, today, tomorrow, in the next 30 days, putting together an assessment report.”

The first progress report will be released on Tuesday.

Josh Kurtz, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Maryland, released a statement saying, “This action is unprecedented, but necessary to correct long-standing pollution issues at the world’s largest water treatment plant. worn out by the state. and we expect this experience to be used to address widespread operation and maintenance issues throughout the wastewater treatment process at the Back River plant.

“The MES report on what happened must be completely transparent. Residents are demanding answers about how this integral plant was able to deteriorate to its current state and who allowed this to happen. Residents who live near the plant need information about water quality risks. We expect state and city leaders to be clear about the amount of pollution that the plant discharged above its allowable limits and how this pollution will be mitigated to avoid harm to the Chesapeake Bay. There must be a publicly available long-term plan to ensure that the factory is well managed and that these breakdowns do not happen again.

“The Maryland Bay cleanup effort depends on significant reductions in pollution from sewage treatment plants and Back River is the largest such plant in the state. Any unauthorized pollution from the plant will delay the overall cleansing of the state.”