Scott vows to work with regulators after Maryland takeover of river wastewater plant – CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Mayor Brandon Scott announced Monday that the City of Baltimore will help control things at the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant after the state takes over operations at the city-owned and operated facility.

The mayor’s pledge comes a day after Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles directed Maryland Environmental Services to take over facility operations to deal with pollution and other compliance issues at the plant. wastewater treatment plant, the largest plant of its kind in the state.

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In a statement, Scott indicated that the problems plaguing Back River and the Patapsco wastewater treatment plants existed long before he took office, but the mayor said his administration would help the Regulators put both facilities “compliant”.

“This will not be an overnight fix, but we must work collaboratively and combine our resources to ensure clean and healthy communities not only for residents,” the mayor said. our people but also for the wildlife known as the Chesapeake Bay. ”

Under Grumble’s direction, MES is tasked with doing everything in its power to ensure that the city complies with the requirements of the facility’s discharge permit and to cease any “illegal discharge” activities. from the Song Back wastewater treatment plant.

Regulators “determined that a deterioration in the proper maintenance and operation of the Plant has the potential to lead to serious failures at the Plant that could harm the environment as well as adversely affect the the health and well-being of the community,” the directive said.

The order was issued Sunday after the state discovered that the City of Baltimore was not complying with an order issued last Thursday, calling for the city to “immediately cease all activities that discharge water pollution. illegal at the factory and demonstrate that it is compliant with all Clean Water. Conditions permit action. ”

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The state’s Department of Environment issued the order March 24, two days after an inspection “revealed a severe deterioration in the performance of several critical processes at the Plant compared with previous inspections.” there.” State said a follow-up inspection found the issues had not been resolved within 48 hours.

The Back River and Patapsco plants, both owned and operated by the city of Baltimore, have been authorized by the state to illegally discharge pollutants, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, which the state says destroys undermine efforts to restore the Gulf and its natural resources.

In January, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh sued the city on behalf of MDE in response to “repeated violations” discovered during multiple inspections. The lawsuit calls for the court to fine the city $10,000 a day for each permit violation and to issue an order requiring the city to do everything in its power to prevent contamination of the facilities.

Grumbles said he spoke to Scott on Friday about the state of both plants and that the two discussed the need to “improve management to prevent pollution and protect environmental health.”

“The ongoing and escalating problems at the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant represent an unacceptable threat to the environment and public health,” said Grumbles. “I am taking additional, necessary, and immediate actions by directing Maryland Environmental Services to take charge of plant operations.”

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Among other things, MES was tasked with assessing the plant’s operations, maintenance, personnel, and equipment and compile its findings into a report by June 6. Scott vows to work with regulators after Maryland takeover of river wastewater plant – CBS Baltimore

Jake Nichol

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