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Environmental Group Wants More Done To Clean Up City Sewer System

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Ileto Christie 370x278 (2) Christie Ileto
Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There are charges that Baltimore City has broken its promise to clean up the harbor. The city pledged $1 billion to stop sewage leaks from pouring into the water.

Christie Ileto reports one group says that’s not being done.

The city’s sewage dumping into Baltimore’s streams and harbor have long been a concern. And now, a lead environmental group wants to make sure the city cleans up their act, and cleans up the mess.

City residents are no strangers to seeing sewage polluting Baltimore’s harbor and streams.

“I was sitting on this particular spot, and I noticed there was a white milky discharge coming from the pipe,” said Allen Baker, resident.

And Thursday, environmental group Blue Water Baltimore is taking legal action to make sure the city cleans up its act.

“It’s a huge public health issue. People swim in these streams. They walk their dogs in these streams,” said Tina Meyers with Blue Water Baltimore. “We need to make sure they’re kept safe.”

For the last 10 years, the city has been working to make $1 billion in repairs to its aged sewer system by 2016, and is now trying to extend the deadline. But that’s little comfort to residents dealing with the problem.

And among other things, the nonprofit wants the city to stop further sewage discharge, improve notification about sewage spills and clean up.

“The city has made a lot of progress, but there’s so much that needs to be done,” Meyers said.

But the city’s Department of Public Works says they’ve met every requirement and deadline under the 2002 agreement. Further saying to WJZ in a statement: “We consider this intervention referenced today to be premature.”

While the city continues to make improvements, the nonprofit says they hope short-term solutions can help keep the public safe when sewage spills continue to occur.

The city says so far they’ve completed about $340 million in construction projects to fix city sewer lines.

More projects are planned through 2016.

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