Residents clean up after the flood on Frederick Avenue and Chedworth Lane in the Beechfield neighborhood.
As parts of the Baltimore region flooded Sunday, the heavy rains were also washing 10 million gallons of sewage-contaminated stormwater into Baltimore’s Jones Falls — one of the largest waste discharges city officials have reported in recent years.
Heavy rains routinely overload Baltimore’s aged sewer system, sending human waste out of manholes and outflows that pour directly into the Jones Falls.
The overflows are the result of cracks and breaks in the aged sewer system, and of its century-old design. The city is under a consent decree with federal and state environmental regulators to end the overflows, which violate the federal Clean Water Act, by 2022.
Most of the sewage, 7.5 million gallons, came out of an underground pipe near the intersection of Greenmount Avenue and East Preston Street, where the Jones Falls runs underground toward the Inner Harbor.
While the destruction in Old Ellicott City 6 miles away garnered international attention, the same storm displaced at least six people from their homes in Southwest Baltimore's Beechfield neighborhood.
Sewage pollution is not limited to the Jones Falls or other city waterways — Anne Arundel County officials on Tuesday closed a portion of the Patapsco River to swimmers through June 28. They said more than 1 million gallons of sewage washed into the river from Baltimore and Howard counties upstream.