Water Blog - Baltimore Consent Decree Petition

News, notes and thoughts from Blue Water Baltimore.



Baltimore Consent Decree Petition

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This is your last chance until 2033: Tell EPA and MDE to keep sewage out of Baltimore’s homes, parks and waterways!

As you may already know, the public has been invited to submit comments on a proposal to modify Baltimore City’s federal Consent Decree to eliminate sewer overflows. In 2002, as a result of chronic and dangerous sewage overflows, the City agreed to complete a comprehensive, system-wide program to eliminate discharges of raw sewage into Baltimore’s neighborhood streams, rivers and Harbor.

The original Consent Decree agreement with the State and federal government required a complete sewer upgrade by January 1, 2016. Now, six months past the original deadline, less than half of the work to eliminate sewer overflows is completed.

The proposal to modify the Consent Decree would give the City another 16 years to complete the work, moving the deadline back to 2033.

Update: Blue Water Baltimore’s petition to the EPA and MDE was submitted on August 5th, and included over 1,200 citizen and 34 organizations signatures of support.

This is an opportunity for the public to have their voice heard, and to demonstrate a high level of public concern and engagement around protecting waterways, homeowners, and public health.

The petition will include some of the most important legal and technical concerns we have with the proposed Consent Decree.

Some of our major concerns about the proposed modification to the Consent Decree include:

  • The work completed under the Consent Decree must result in measurable improvements to water quality in Baltimore’s waterways.

  • The revised Consent Decree should make sure that homeowners are protected from sewage overflows in their homes, including specific and enforceable timelines.

  • Sewer leaks must be fixed as soon as possible.

  • The public must be notified immediately after any sewage overflow, and wastewater debris must be cleaned up in a timely manner.

We’re hoping that you will consider signing on to these comments and sharing our effort with your friends and family.

As you many have already seen on several local news outlets, there’s a video of at least 10 people jumping into the Inner Harbor waters that has dangerously high levels of bacteria. We need to take action now and call for cleaner and safer waterways.

Thank you for considering this opportunity to join the growing list of advocates who are expressing their concerns about the proposed modifications to Baltimore’s Consent Decree.