The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is thanking Baltimore leaders including Mayor Brandon Scott for their quick action to modify a company’s wastewater permit to prevent potentially toxic wastewater contaminated by the train crash in East Palestine, Ohio from arriving in Baltimore.
The contaminated wastewater from the crash was scheduled to arrive in Baltimore as early as Thursday to be treated at a private facility operated by Clean Harbors. The treated wastewater was then to be routed to Baltimore’s troubled Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant. The plant was damaged by an explosion and fire earlier this month.
Today, Clean Harbors announced that it would not process the wastewater in Baltimore. The announcement came after Mayor Scott said the city would deny the company’s request to discharge the treated wastewater from the crash through the city’s wastewater system.
CBF opposed bringing the toxic wastewater to be treated in Baltimore due to the lack of information about what toxics and pollutants were in the water, how it would be treated, and the ongoing maintenance issues that have compromised the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant.
In response to the news today, CBF’s Maryland Senior Scientist Doug Myers issued the following statement:
“This was a poorly hatched plan from the beginning that failed to account for the ongoing and significant issues at Maryland’s largest wastewater treatment plant. We’re thankful Mayor Scott took the quick and bold action needed to stop this shipment of toxic wastewater from arriving in Baltimore. We urge Maryland and city leaders to re-focus on fixing the ongoing maintenance and staffing problems at the Back River and Patapsco wastewater treatment plants that have been documented for two years now.
“While this decision was the right one, we stand with the residents of East Palestine who deserve to have their community fully restored from the harmful effects of the February train crash. The federal government must continue to hold the company responsible for the crash accountable and use a transparent process to ensure communities tasked with assisting in the cleanup are willing and able to do so.”