New tool will map Baltimore-area sewage overflows

    New tool will map Baltimore-area sewage overflows

    BALTIMORE (WBFF) - Any time Baltimore gets heavy rain over a period of time, there are sewage overflows.

    Soon, you'll be able to see exactly where those are in your neighborhood.

    Baltimore City's Department of Public Works is putting out a new tool.

    They will be posting all the overflow information online through an interactive map.

    "This is showing real time the SSOs [sanitary sewer overflows] occurring throughout the city," says Paul DeSantis, DPW’s Chief of Legal and Regulatory Affairs. "You'll be informed as the public at the same time MDE [Maryland Department of the Environment[ would."

    "We are really excited for that to become publicly available," said Jenn Aiosa, executive director of Blue Water Baltimore.

    While it's something most people don't want to think about, it's been a big problem polluting local waterways with millions of gallons of raw sewage.

    The new interactive map will show when an overflow is happening and where.

    "If a new one is identified, that will show up as a large red dot," DeSantis explained at a public meeting Wednesday night. "What body its discharging to, what estimated flows are, all that information will be available to you."

    "We have wanted more information available about when we are seeing infrastructure breaks, when we are seeing sewage overflow, when we are seeing these events, because we believe the public has a right to know what's happening in their neighborhoods and whether or not they should stay away from the stream," said Aiosa.

    Residents like Kim Anderson, a new homeowner in northeast Baltimore, know what can happen after a lot of rain.

    "I've only been in the community for 3 1/2 years and we've had three major sewage backups in my basement," she said.

    While she thinks the new map will be helpful, she's looking forward to when phase one of the city's consent decree is complete in 2021.

    Improvements to the Back River Wastewater Treatment plant should eliminate more than 80 percent of overflows.

    DPW says that map and information should be publicly available soon.

    Once posted, the information will stay online for four months, then be published in their quarterly reports.

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