Ongoing Issues at Baltimore’s Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant Must Be Resolved

Today, the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) released an updated inspection report from Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant revealing significant and ongoing maintenance and operational failures that are resulting in excessive amounts of pollution reaching the Chesapeake Bay.

MDE’s inspection report includes a laundry list of issues at the plant ranging from not enough settling tanks in operation to treat the wastewater loads coming into the plant to vegetation growing on mixers hindering their ability to treat water.

The ongoing failures come after MDE filed a lawsuit in January against Baltimore City following the discovery of significant problems at the Back River plant and the Patapsco Wastewater Treatment Plant last summer.

In response, Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Maryland Senior Scientist Doug Myers issued the following statement: 

“The photos and stories emerging this week about the Back River plant are shocking. It looks like many parts of this plant receive no routine maintenance and most of the treatment systems are compromised as a result. There must be no more excuses. We’ve known for at least six months about problems at the plant, but it appears no one has taken the initiative to fix them. To reach the goals of the Chesapeake Bay cleanup, we’re counting on significant pollution reductions from upgraded wastewater treatment plants. If those upgrades aren't working, then the cleanup will be in jeopardy.” 


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A.J. Metcalf

Former Maryland Media & Communications Coordinator, CBF

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