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POSTPONED: City Council Hearing on Basement Sewage Backups

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 • 10:00 am12:00 pm

Advocates rally outside of Baltimore City Hall in November 2019 to call on the city to pay up for sewage basement backups.

This hearing has been postponed due to COVID-19. We will share the new date as soon as it is rescheduled. 

Sewage doesn’t belong in our streams – or our homes. 

Sewage backs up into thousands of homes in Baltimore every year due to heavy rainfall coupled with the city’s crumbling infrastructure. These backups put residents’ health, homes, and financial security at risk.

Join us for the next public hearing on sewage backups.


What is this hearing about?

Sewage backups can cost thousands of dollars to address, from cleanup and disinfection to replacement of damaged property, not to mention other potential costs such as illness and lost work days.

In April 2018, Baltimore City launched a pilot Expedited Reimbursement Program to help residents cover the cost of cleaning up sewage backups in their homes. The pilot program is supposed to pave the way for the City to create a permanent program required by the federal Sanitary Sewer Consent Decree, but there are serious problems with the program’s design and administration.

During the first year of the program, over 4,500 residents reported sewage backups to the city. Yet only 74 people applied for reimbursement, demonstrating that this program is not well advertised to the public — how can you apply for a program you don’t know exists? And of those 74 applicants, only 10 were approved for reimbursement. Everyone else was denied, largely due to burdensome qualification requirements.

There are steps the City can — and should — take to ensure that Baltimoreans get the support they need in case of a basement sewage backup. Read more about our recommendations here.

There are 3 ways you can help:

  1. Sign up for our newsletter to make sure you stay up-to-date on the status of this hearing.
  2. Have you experienced a sewage backup? Contact our Outreach & Advocacy Specialist Taylor Smith-Hams if you’re interested in testifying at the hearing or submitting written comments at [email protected].
  3. Learn more by downloading our handy sewage backup fact sheet and infographic.


Pictured: Advocates rally outside of Baltimore City Hall in November 2019 to call on the city to pay up for sewage basement backups.


Tuesday, March 17, 2020
10:00 am • 12:00 pm


Taylor Smith-Hams


Baltimore City Hall
100 Holliday Street
Baltimore, MD 21202 United States
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