Baltimore Reckons With A Shitty Sewage Situation

Wednesday, November 13, 2019
The Baltimore Beat

In April 2018, the Department of Public Works (DPW) created an Expedited Reimbursement Program for residents experiencing sewage backups—a mandate under the consent decree. Yet according to environmental advocates with Clean Water Action, Blue Water Baltimore, and the Environmental Integrity Project who have reviewed DPW’s reports, the reimbursement program is seriously flawed. 

According to their analysis, of the 4,632 reported building backups from April 2018 to March 2019, the city only processed 74 applications for the program. Of the 74 processed, only 10 applications were accepted. The consent decree required that the city set aside $2 million per year for the reimbursement program, but they only doled out $14,775. 

So on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 5 p.m., Baltimore’s City Council will hold an investigative hearing to assess the Expedited Reimbursement Program, and explore what else the city could do to help mitigate and prevent sewage backups.  Environmental and public health advocates will hold a press conference beforehand at 4 p.m.

Jennifer Kunze, an organizer with Clean Water Action discussed many of the problems with the current program with the Real News Network.

“From the beginning, [the Expedited Reimbursement Program] had a lot of shortcomings,” Kunze said.