At least 200,000 gallons of wastewater containing some raw sewage flowed into the Chesapeake Bay when severe storms flooded much of the Baltimore region Wednesday night, city public works officials said.
From about 8:20 p.m. Wednesday until 2 a.m. Thursday, about 114,000 gallons of wastewater flowed out of a manhole in the 1700 block of East Chase St. in East Baltimore and, eventually, into the harbor. At 10 p.m., in what officials said was a related overflow, about 36,150 gallons of wastewater poured out of a manhole at 1000 North Durham St. nearby.
Heavy rain can inundate the sewer system by flowing into sewage mains through cracks in the pipes and down manholes.
More than two inches of rain fell across the region within a span of two hours Wednesday evening as severe thunderstorms passed through.
Another 50,000 gallons of wastewater that was in the middle of the treatment process at the Patapsco Wastewater Treatment Facility in South Baltimore overflowed into the Patapsco River. Officials blamed not just the massive surge of water but also a power outage at the facility.
Baltimore is working to comply with a 2002 order from federal and state environmental regulators to fix its leaking sewage system. The work was to be completed by the end of 2015, but the city missed the deadline despite spending $700 million over the past 13 years.
About $100 million in sewer upgrade and repair projects are ongoing around the city, public works officials said.