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City of Baltimore, Maryland, Sewer Overflows Settlement

The Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Maryland on April 26, 2002, announced a joint settlement with the City of Baltimore that addresses continuing hazards posed by hundreds of illegal wastewater discharges of raw sewage from Baltimore's wastewater collection system.

Baltimore-area waters have long been contaminated with untreated discharges from sewer overflows of bacteria, pathogens and other harmful pollutants which can seriously degrade water quality, kill aquatic life and threaten public health. Baltimore has agreed to undertake a comprehensive, system-wide program that will bring the city into long-term compliance with the Clean Water Act. This will end the years of chronic discharges of millions of gallons of raw sewage into city streets and local waterways, including the Patapsco River and other tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay.

Baltimore has agreed to complete the construction work associated with increasing the capacity of its collection system and eliminating physical overflow structures by June 2007 and complete an extensive sewer upgrade by 2016. Complete implementation of this system-wide program will cost approximately $940 million over the 14-year life of the agreement. The City of Baltimore also agreed to pay a $600,000 civil penalty and to design a biological nutrient reduction facility for the removal of nitrogen at the City-owned Patapsco Wastewater Treatment Plant at an estimated cost of $2.7 million.

The proposed consent decree was filed Friday, April 26, 2002, in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. It is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.

For additional information, contact:

Elyse DiBiagio-Wood
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2243A)
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460-0001
(202) 564-8187

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