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When it rains, sewage pours: 21 million gallons of contamination washed into Baltimore waterways this weekend

Some 21 million gallons of sewage-contaminated stormwater washed into Baltimore waterways amid heavy rainfall from Friday through Monday, city public works officials said.

Most of that — about 13.5 million gallons — poured into the Jones Falls through two large pipes around the 1800 block of Falls Road.

An additional 6.5 million gallons spilled from an overflowing sewer main at Wilkens Avenue and Brunswick Street in Southwest Baltimore, washing into the Gwynns Falls.

Around 3900 Belair Road, 867,000 gallons of contaminated stormwater made its way into Herring Run; two overflows in East Baltimore, in the 1800 block of E. Eager St. and 1700 block of E. Chase St., sent 32,000 gallons directly into the Inner Harbor.

About 2½ inches of rain fell across the region from Friday through Monday, according to the National Weather Service. Sewage overflows occur any time heavy rain inundates Baltimore’s century-old sewer system, infiltrating it through cracked and broken pipes and exacerbating backups that exist even during dry weather.

The Baltimore Department of Public Works maps sewage overflows across the city online. But the data was unavailable Wednesday amid a ransomware attack on city government.

Baltimore is under a consent decree with state and federal environmental regulators to stop the sewage pollution by 2021.

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