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Workers cut off sewage leak in Southwest Baltimore

Workers stopped a leak in an old sewage main in southwest Baltimore Saturday, more than 18 hours after a rupture in the eight-inch pipe caused raw sewage to spew into the Gwynns Falls at a rate of 50 gallons per minute, according to the city's Department of Public Works.

The break in the terra cotta main, in a wooded section of Leakin and Gwynns Falls park, was identified at noon on Friday, but crews did not begin working on the problem until daylight Saturday. The leak was difficult to reach because of large, downed trees, a department spokesman said.

By 6 p.m. Saturday, workers had installed a new pipe to bypass the old one, but more work will need to be done Monday morning, said the spokesman, Kurt L. Kocher. He said the ruptured main was at least 70 years old.

At the rate of release given by the city, about 54,000 gallons of sewage would have escaped into the falls in 18 hours.

Signs alerting nearby residents to the leak and residents along the watershed to the fact that "urban streams are subject to pollutants" were posted.

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