BALTIMORE (WJZ) — After many years and billions of dollars, Baltimore is still not quitting on efforts to slow the flow of raw sewage into the harbor. The city has now agreed to spend another decade and even more money to get the job done.
After each heavy rain, there is raw sewage that floats into Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
“We have a number of sources of water pollution, but they are all overshadowed by the millions of gallons of raw sewage we have going into the water each year,” says Angela Haren, with Blue Water Baltimore.
Department of Public Works spokesman Jeffery Raymond says fixing this problem is a “complex, time consuming, invasive, and very expensive process.”
At the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant, a blocked underground pipe has caused a 10-mile backup of sewage. This is the largest source for spills into the harbor.
The city is under federal court orders to upgrade the system, and although it has already spent $1 billion over the last 15 years to fix it, and continuing these upgrades is expected to cost another $1 billion, they have agreed to keep trying.
Sewer rates increased by $6.71 per cubic foot of waste water to cover earlier work. Customers are expected to feel the upcoming changes as well with a nine percent increase next year and a work in progress until 2030.
“Even if we did have a lot more money to throw at it, which we don’t, we just can’t change the time it will take,” says Raymond.
There is also raw sewage backing up into city homes. Starting next year, the city will pay property owners $2,500 per back up.