Baltimore Department of Public Works to reimburse residents for sewage cleanup

Baltimore Department of Public Works to reimburse residents for sewage cleanup

BALTIMORE, Md. (WBFF) -- If you’re a property owner and faced with a dirty sewage back-up in your basement and bathroom, the Baltimore Department of Public Works will pay you money for the cleanup.

The compensation is part of the city’s modified sewage system consent decree approved Wednesday at city hall.

The city entered the decree with federal authorities in 2002. It’s a plan to fix the city’s sewer system to help control surges of storm water.

It can be a smelly mess when sewage spills into your basement. It happened at Dave Alluisi’s home in Northeast Baltimore two years ago.

At the time he gave our cameras a show and tell. "You can see it's all wet man, look at all that wet,” said Allusi.

There were more complaints from impacted residents at Wednesday’s Board of Estimates meeting.

Mayor Catherine Pugh and members of her spending panel listened as they considered a measure that will help residents who suffer from frequent and costly sewage back-up in their basements.

"I have experienced raw sewage backing into a toilet and tub in my basement on more than one occasion," said Derrick Lennon who lives in northwest Baltimore.

The Board of Estimates voted to approve a city-funded reimbursement program that’s been added to the consent decree plan that addresses the city’s sewage overflow problem.

"There will be a cap of $2500 per incident per household," said Jeffrey Raymond, the Department of Public Works Spokesman.

It’s money for damage that happens routinely across the city when heavy rains pour. It overwhelms an antiquated sewer infrastructure creating miles of backup and raw sewage overflow and spills.

"And it gets dumped into streets, it gets dumped into the Jones Falls, gets dumped into the inner harbor," said Paul Smail, who’s part of the legal team at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

And it gets dumped into basements, like at Allusi’s home. "I'm retired you know. Suppose I had to work and come home to this. You know, that would be enough to really jerk your chain a little bit.”

According to DPW, the compensation program will begin six months after the modified consent decree is approved by a federal judge, which is not expected to happen until this fall.

Meanwhile, the full project is not expected to be complete until 2030.

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