You must log in or register to comment.

stevolutionary7 t1_jdnjtx7 wrote

I didn't get this until I read an article in the Sun, but apparently they want to treat the water at a CleanHarbors facility near the incinerator, then discharge the treated water into the municipal sewer to be treated at Back River.

I would like to know what chemicals need to be removed, how they plan to do it, what the acceptable concentration of effluent is from their treatment and how that will be confirmed. I'm actually less concerned knowing that it's a private, well known wastewater remediator doing this than wastewater treatment plant.

In addition, the explosion and fire last week has nothing to do with the treatment plant- that was a separate company that takes biosolids (which would otherwise have to be landfilled) and makes fertilizer pellets. The appropriate state and federal agencies will find out what they did wrong. The only thing Back River and this other company have in common is the byproduct of the first is an input for the second.


Animanialmanac OP t1_jdnl9if wrote

Those are good questions about what chemicals need to be removed and how they will do that.

I hope the state will have an open forum before they move forward for people to hear the answers. I’m glad the Baltimore County delegates are trying to stop it until more information is available n


baller410610 t1_jdny8fi wrote

They do this all the time with all kinds of contaminated water at that facility.


stevolutionary7 t1_jdo2ohd wrote

I figured. Until the Sun article it wasn't clear that CleanHarbors was doing the work.

They probably have a discharge permit for the sanitary sewer which lists the allowable limits of their effluent. The only thing special about this is the source of the contaminated water.


PleaseBmoreCharming t1_jdnl0fz wrote

Thank you for the rational reply with more information. The sheer mass panic that is expressed over the past day or so on here is a bit much, although skepticism and the desire for more information is indeed warranted. Let's ask more questions and get to the bottom whether this is indeed safe. I can't see the EPA making this decision and risking ANOTHER ecological disaster that has the potential to impact a major metro area and the largest estuary in the United States.


bryan_jenkins t1_jdnoulk wrote

You can't?


PleaseBmoreCharming t1_jdnp49i wrote

No, I can't.


EthanSayfo t1_jdohp7s wrote

The EPA was eviscerated during the Trump admin, and was literally turned into an anti-environmental regulation agency.

It's not as easy to put something back together as it is to break it. We have no real reason to trust the viability of the EPA in carrying out its mission at this point.


jabbadarth t1_jdnt7a6 wrote

Doesn't help that one of the articles was titled "Ohio wastewater is coming to baltimore". While that's technically true it made it sound like it was flowing in a river or leaching into groundwater.

How hard would it have been to say Ohio wastewater being shipped to Baltimore for treatment.


Animanialmanac OP t1_jdn15c8 wrote

I contacted my representatives and city council person without any responses. I also wrote an email to the governor and received an automated response.

Two republican delegates from the Baltimore County areas are fighting this Ohio wastewater decision. Delegates Nawrocki and Szelega are fighting to have the Ohio waste not come to Maryland, or to wait until more information is available. Those two delegates are from Baltimore County I believe.

My neighbors and I are very worried about this. Our area in Southwest Baltimore had more flooding and sewage leaks in the last two years than I experienced before. Our street is flooded today from both a vacant home pumping our sewer water and the storm drains not draining, blocked. The area is not being maintained, the water and waste infrastructure is deteriorating. These are health concerns for us. If you have concerns please think about writing to your representative and to these two delegates in Baltimore County about stopping the Ohio waste until we can be sure it will be processed correctly.


Animanialmanac OP t1_jdn1den wrote

The title of the article is similar to the other articles, this article from today has the update that Delegates Nawrocki and Szelega are fighting for us to not receive the waste.


megalomike t1_jdn9ikh wrote

What is the reason to think it wont be processed correctly


Animanialmanac OP t1_jdnb7h6 wrote

The treatment plant wasn’t operating correctly, they were dumping solid sewage matter into the river. The state said there were “systemic problems and failures at every level”. The state had to take over, it was so bad the state is still working on the fixes. The man who was in charge resigned from DPW a week ago, the next day there was explosion there. The Baltimore Sun and Baltimore Brew are doing a good job reporting the problems.


megalomike t1_jdncbv9 wrote

The discharged water was missing nutrient targets but i hadnt heard about solid sewage, and the stories you linked dont say that either? People are acting like because this is from a derailed train it is somehow more dangerous than the millions of gallons of waste water treated by the state every day.


jabbadarth t1_jdnsxlq wrote

It is more dangerous than the millions of gallons of waste water treated every day.

We don't treat vinyl chloride daily.

Doesn't mean we can't and might not mean we shouldn't but acting like this is the same as the water we always treat is way off the mark. This water is contaminated with a dangerous chemical that in enough quantities could drastically harm our waterways, wildlife and/or people.


baller410610 t1_jdny475 wrote

This is a private plant that will treat the wastewater then discharge cleaned water into Baltimores sewer system. They do is everyday with all kinds of contaminated water.


jabbadarth t1_jdnz848 wrote

Yeah its clean harbors. And as I said above I'm not flat out against this I just want assurances that what the city gets for treatment and release into the environment is something they can handle. We don't have a great track record, especially in recent years with massive issues that have already hurt our waterways. If we end up getting anything more than near potable water I have concerns with what we dump back out.


megalomike t1_jdnuhdi wrote

And your line of thinking is what - the EPA doesnt know what the back river plant's capacities are and didnt check?


jabbadarth t1_jdnvipz wrote

My line of thinking is that I want this process to be transparent and I want them to have backup plans in place.

If this were a few years ago I would, perhaps naively, be more laid back about it but based on the multitude of failures in our wastewater treatment over the last few years I have less trust in them to manage this process in a safe way.

I dont think the sky is falling and I assume that smarter people than me have a plan to get this done right but given our track record I want those plans made public and I want multiple experts in the field to back up those plans and our systems capabilities before we start dumping dangerous chemicals into our fragile ecosystem.


megalomike t1_jdnwg3z wrote

I personally am tired of every karen on earth demanding that every element of society from school curricula to vaccine development to processing wastewater privilege their feelings. Theres a difference between wanting robust safety systems and demanding the passengers have an equal right to fly the plane.


Animanialmanac OP t1_jdnelnj wrote

I don’t believe you’ve read the reports fully. The treatment plant isn’t operating the way it should. People are worried adding more waste will cause problems

>>The reports found plant employees exhibited an “open unwillingness to comply” and “bad behavior.

>> The MES team observed not just “open unwillingness to cooperate,” but also “animosity. . . between the maintenance and operation groups.” “Negative behaviors – ranging from sleeping on the job to verbal/physical altercations between employees – have been observed on both the supervisory and subordinate level,”

>> City staff were seen “washing personal vehicles during the workday and have admitted to receiving payment or free lunch for services provided,” according to the report by the quasi-public agency, assigned by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE)

>> there have been daily illegal discharges of millions of gallons of partially treated human waste for more than a year into tributaries of the Bay.


megalomike t1_jdneysb wrote

Again, this doesnt say feces were being dumped into the river. It says people washed their cars on the clock.


Animanialmanac OP t1_jdnh0iz wrote

“Human waste” is feces, I’m sorry I don’t how to explain simpler for you. The reports have a lot of technical words that were difficult for me too, I work in healthcare so I had to look up some of the terms. Where the reports say millions of gallons of black solids and partially treated human waste was discharged into the tributaries it means feces dumped into the river where it leads to the bay.


Animanialmanac OP t1_jdnh836 wrote

Also if you don’t live in the city or by the water this may not effect you so it wouldn’t make sense for you to write to the governor and delegates. My post is for people who live near the water in Baltimore and by the bay and don’t want this in the water.


megalomike t1_jdniumq wrote

Incomplete treatment also means the nitrogen and phosphorus levels are too high, which is known to have happened.

What exactly are you scared will happen? Another train will derail?


Animanialmanac OP t1_jdnrfdm wrote

I’m afraid more people will get ill, more property will be damaged and the city won’t take any responsibility or help people.

In my neighborhood the untreated sewage backs up into buildings, homes after rainstorms. The city only helps a small bit, that’s after multiple families from my neighborhood fought for help for years. I had my house fixed with grant money from the neighborhood group but I can’t sell for a fair price because two houses up is a vacant house. The city allows the sewage to sit in the vacant houses until it flows out the basement windows. I have concerns city leadership that allows this will allow other unexpected damages to people and our homes, our health.


CorpCounsel t1_jdobrfi wrote

Yeah this is the part I keep coming back to - nobody asked where the waste water came from until it was a political issue.

Either the plant doesn’t work and we shouldn’t put anything in it, be it from Ohio or Baltimore or Mars, or the plant does work and we don’t need to worry about where the waste was collected.

I’m also enjoying how everyone is suddenly a waste water treatment expert.


megalomike t1_jdogte3 wrote

I heard the word chemicals on tv! How can our so called leaders allow this to happen!!!


[deleted] t1_jdqsoof wrote

We have frequent problems with environmental issues surrounding the CSX plant in Curtis Bay.

Explosions and chemical rain showers happen more often than they should. The city response has been non-existent.

IMO, our only hope is that Guinness (or some other corporation that depends on Baltimore having potable water) sues the state/city into action.


Animanialmanac OP t1_jdqv3xo wrote

I have friends in Brooklyn who’s children suffer from asthma. I often wonder if it’s from the chemical rain and discharge from the incinerator.

I’m in the Saint Agnes Violetville area. We have frequent problems with raw sewage leaks into our yards, homes and the street. Recently large trucks are dumping in the grassy areas and along side the woods. The residential roads aren’t made for large trucks, now we have multiple water main leaks, I worry about cross contamination from the sewage leaks.

Years ago our neighborhood group organized against having the CSX traffic in our neighborhood, the company wanted to use the residential streets to move rail cargo by truck to the next stop. We all worked together to stop it. Now we don’t have a unified neighborhood group, only a group of friends of councilwoman Porter who seem more interested in running for different elected positions than helping the neighborhood. A few years ago Clean Water Action and Blue Water Baltimore took some interest in the sewage problems but they disappeared. It’s sad to see how fast the environmental damage happens under bad leadership.

That’s an interesting idea of Guinness suing the city for clean water, that would help all of us.


Upperliphair t1_jdn5z1d wrote

Apparently the facility that they’re sending this to had an explosion last week. That’s fun.


EthanSayfo t1_jdnnyvu wrote

Call your reps, the mayor’s office, and the governor’s office. This is insane. There’s no reason to believe this company can manage this job safely based on the track record. My god.


Illustrious_Listen_6 t1_jdodhmy wrote

I do not trust these so called leaders to handle this situation. Didn’t Back River have issues recently?


jupitaur9 t1_jdr9jav wrote

What makes this a problem for Republicans and not Democrats?

Normally, Republicans love business and don’t think dumping into the environment is a problem. They’re doing a 180 here. What’s the story?


[deleted] t1_jdqt26q wrote



Animanialmanac OP t1_jdqvcks wrote

Two delegates from Baltimore County Szelega and Nawrocki are pushing back. I wrote to my delegate, Mayor Scott and Governor Moore, I haven’t heard back yet. I plan to write to the Baltimore County delegates tomorrow to thank them and encourage them to keep pushing back. It’s a shame our own city delegates aren’t helping residents with this.