Questions Arise Over Councilman’s Handling of Raw Sewage Dumping Complaint
Posted by Buzz Beeler on 26th December 2017
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It was brought to the attention of The Baltimore Post that there was no protective barrier around the hoses pumping the sewage into the manhole covers.

 

Once again, social media played a very important part in the publication of this article.

The message, originally posted on Facebook, dealt with the dumping of raw sewage into a local community for about a month. During that time, according to eyewitness accounts, vacuum trucks were observed dumping the sewage until an alert community member took video footage of this activity. That footage was posted on social media, and the word began to spread about whether or not this activity was legal.

First, let’s take a look at what the vacuum truck does:

They are used to transport fecal sludge (human excreta mixed with water, e.g. from septic tanks).

Below is the response from the community, which also expresses concern over a Councilman’s response to the situation.


It has now been confirmed by the Bureau of Utilities Chief that the dumping of raw sewage in massive quantities, by an out of state contractor has been taking place without permission in Dundalk for over a month.

          So far, the official government action that we are aware of has been to tell the company “cease all further dumping without express permission from Utilities.”

Dundalk already has sewer systems in dire need of immediate maintenance (Colgate for example) being neglected. It’s obvious that further investigation and action must be taken by Baltimore County, and the State of Maryland. We need to hold anyone, including out of state contractors accountable, especially with prolonged utility misuse. Who’s going to pay for Norwood-Holabird’s infrastructure replacement if it has an issue?

Originally we made a phone call to Councilman Crandell’s office we spoke to a Mr. Ron who informed us that this company doing the dumping had a permit to do so. We provided D.O.T. truck numbers over the phone to verify the company could legitimately dump there and we were told they had permission from State Highway. We officially dropped the issue with that information.

Another member of our community continued researching the issue; The EPA and Md. Dept. of Environment were contacted and no one knew anything about a dumping permit for this company. We reached out again to Councilman Crandell’s office via email this time, so we could provide our community a hard-copy permit. Mr. Anderson replied and said they asked the Dept. of public works to investigate. He wrote “…from time to time, county contractors must pump out part of a section of sanitary sewer that is blocked and pump it back into an unblocked section to get it to the wastewater treatment plant. this is common practice and the contractors who do this are permitted by the dept. of public works to do so, however the contractor did not have permission to do this on Lund Lane.” That might also explain why they originally assumed and told us they had permission. Unfortunately, numerous truckloads of raw sewage came over the following month.

Our community may have a combined 80+ volunteer hours away from our friends, family and work trying to track this issue down. Baltimore County and the State of Maryland should fully hold these companies accountable if they’re found avoiding proper procedures, especially for such a lengthy time and take into consideration the huge community effort to stop this. A clear method to prevent future misuse should also be instituted; a hotline or email for example. It shouldn’t of taken so many emails and phone calls to determine the legality of this massive dumping operation.

          The questions remain; Who has the authority to grant the dumping of raw sewage in Baltimore County? Who holds those accountable who dump without permission?

Thank you to all the residents of the Norwood-Holabird Community Association for their work in resolving this issue, the communities of the 7th District, Baltimore County & The State of Maryland for their support.

Norwood-Holabird Community Association

 

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