Blue Water Baltimore and the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore each made exciting announcements recently regarding their ongoing efforts toward cleaner water in Baltimore Harbor.
Blue Water Baltimore and its attorneys with the Chesapeake Legal Alliance have announced an agreement with the Maryland Department of the Environment and Baltimore City to address pollution violations at the state’s two largest wastewater treatment plants (WWTP).
Working cooperatively with the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE), Blue Water Baltimore and its attorneys fought for a comprehensive plan to fix the significant problems at the Back River and Patapsco WWTPs, with transparency and oversight to make sure that plan is followed. Under the agreement, Baltimore City will pay $4.75 million in penalties, replace and repair necessary equipment, submit quarterly progress reports, and hold annual public meetings to inform the public of the work being done.
To protect public health, the City will be required to install signs and warning lights at the WWTP outfalls in the Patapsco and Back Rivers that will turn on if sewage discharges bypass some or all of the plants’ treatment processes. Importantly, third-party engineers will provide oversight to ensure the City is on track with the milestones in the decree. Forty percent of the funds ($1.9 million) will go to restoration projects in the Back River and Patapsco watersheds, to be administered as competitive grants overseen by the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Of the remainder, half will be paid directly to MDE and half held back, to be paid only if the City violates the decree.
The Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore also recently made a notable announcement: planning is underway for Harbor Splash 2024, a plunge event open to all who register. The Healthy Harbor Initiative and its partners have been championing the goal of a swimmable, fishable Baltimore Harbor for more than a decade. Whether it’s growing baby oysters in the Harbor or expanding Mr. Trash Wheel’s family (Baltimore now has four trash wheels), the clean water momentum is building. To learn more about the Harbor Splash, visit waterfrontpartnership.org, where you can sign up for the email newsletter and be notified when registration opens.