City May Be Spending Money on Unnecessary Capital Improvements
Baltimore, October 8, 2004 — Joan L. Floyd, the Green Party candidate for President of Baltimore City Council, has charged the O’Malley administration with misleading the public about the City’s compliance with an EPA clean-water consent decree.
Called the “Sanitary Sewer Overflow Consent Decree,” the 2002 document mandates elimination of the overflow of raw sewage into Baltimore’s streams, rivers and, ultimately, the Bay. Sewage overflow occurs when fast-flowing storm water overwhelms the sanitary sewer system which is designed to only carry away waste water. Storm water from Baltimore’s down spouts and sump pumps is supposed to be carried through a separate storm sewer system.
“According to the Consent Decree, the City is supposed to eliminate the flow of storm water into the sanitary sewer,” says Floyd. “Yet the City is spending tens of millions on infrastructure improvements designed to increase the sanitary sewer’s capacity to accommodate the storm water.”
The Administration says the improvements are needed to comply with the consent decree’s mandate to eliminate sewage overflow. Floyd questions the City’s priorities.
“If the Administration is committed to compliance, why has it skipped the first, best and cheapest action — stopping the storm water flow at its source.”
The EPA consent decree, signed by the Mayor, calls for immediate and on-going action to identify and eliminate the diversion of storm water into the sanitary sewer. The City, however, has deferred action regarding these so-called “illegal connections” for several years under its “Illegal Sewer Connection Detection and Enforcement Plan.” Examples of illegal connections are such things as a down spout directly connected to the sanitary sewer or a sump pump which drains into a sink.
“Most people are totally unaware of this problem, and really have no idea that they might be part of it,” says Floyd.
Floyd says the City has failed to educate the public.
“I feel that once people are aware, they will gladly comply,” says Floyd. “Show me one Baltimore homeowners or business owner who wouldn’t redirect a down spout onto a lawn or disconnect a sump pump from a basement sink in order to contribute to cleaner water and free up funds that are desperately needed elsewhere.”
In a recent letter urging the EPA to force the City’s hand on this matter, Floyd stated that “the impact on Baltimore’s sanitary sewer overflow problem could be dramatic,” and that educating citizens and encouraging their compliance “will not only immediately contribute to clean water, but potentially prevent the waste of tens of millions of public dollars on unnecessary capital improvements.”
“We need to do this now,” says Floyd. “Clean water can’t wait.”
For more information or a copy of Joan Floyd’s letter to the EPA, call 410-662-8480 or email requests to [email protected]
Carole Schreck, Treasurer
October 8, 2004
Joan Floyd’s campaign
Baltimore Green Party