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Broken Line Sending Raw Sewage Into Patapsco River

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Alex DeMetrick 370x278 Alex DeMetrick
Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Hurricane Irene just keeps on giving. In this case, it’s millions of gallons of raw sewage.

Alex DeMetrick reports the storm triggered spills in a number of Baltimore County streams.

In Baltimore County, when electricity was lost, it knocked a dozen sewage pumping stations offline.

“When we lose power, then the stations can’t pump and there’s an overflow. We had a large overflow over the weekend,” said Baltimore County DPW Spokesman David Fidler.

Sixteen million gallons of raw sewage spilled into waterways. Stretches of the Jones Falls and Lake Roland have been posted off limits. Other affected waterways include the Patapsco River, Beaver Dam Run, Gunpowder River and Back River.

Meanwhile, electricity has been restored.

“Pumping stations are up and running. They’re doing well,” Fidler said.

A major 54-inch county line ruptured in north Linthicum and workers are racing to fix it. The line carries one-third to one-half of all Baltimore County’s sewage to the Patapsco Treatment Plant.

“That’s about 17 million gallons a day so every day that we have until we repair the line, that’s 17 million gallons,” Fidler said.

And all that sewage is going into the Patapsco River, turning the water gray. It’s one more thing this neighborhood is coping with.

“I feel more upset because we don’t have electric so we can’t go in the house to get away from the smell,” said homeowner Barbara Gilley. “They said they’re going to fix it as soon as possible.”

And stop a spill that might have been triggered by a surge when those disabled pumping stations came back online.

Baltimore’s Department of Public Works hopes to have the pipeline repaired by Friday. Meanwhile, the sewage flows freely.

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