Federal judge approves consent decree to rehab Baltimore sewer system

A federal judge has approved a $1.6 billion plan to rehabilitate Baltimore’s aged sewer system and stop wastewater from leaking into the Inner Harbor by 2030.

U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz signed the order Tuesday and it was entered into the court record Thursday.

The consent agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency is the product of years of negotiations between the city and regulators who are concerned with the environmental and health impacts of sewage contamination. It replaces an agreement the city struck with the EPA in 2002 but then failed to satisfy, failing to complete repairs and upgrades by the end of 2015.

The advocacy group Blue Water Baltimore hailed the judge’s action.

“We are encouraged that state and federal regulators agree that all useful data should be considered when evaluating the success of work to fix our sewer system,” the group said in a statement.

Baltimore residents will foot the bill for many of the repairs through their water bills, which continue to rise in cost.

Baltimore Sun reporter Scott Dance contributed to this report.

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