It’s not just Baltimore: Another city is sending much more sewage into the Chesapeake Bay, report says

Aug 26, 2019


Baltimore frequently gets the blame for millions of gallons of wastewater that flows from its sewers into waterways, but there is another city responsible for sending large amounts of such contamination and bacteria into the Chesapeake Bay, according to a new report.

Overflows from the antiquated sewer system in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, sent more than 1 billion gallons of sewage-tainted wastewater down the Susquehanna River in 2018, according to a report released Thursday by the Environmental Integrity Project. The Susquehanna is the main source of fresh water for the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake.

In Baltimore, sewage contamination released into rivers and streams totaled at least 260 million gallons in 2018. The volume of Harrisburg’s pollution is far greater in part because that city has a combined wastewater and stormwater system, while Baltimore has separate systems of pipes for sewage and rainwater.

The group’s report faulted Pennsylvania environmental officials and the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to impose penalties for the sewage pollution. It also said the contamination has actually increased since Harrisburg was required to address the overflows under an agreement with state and federal regulators in 2015.

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