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Since the 1970s, the City of Baltimore has studied ways to address wet-weather related issues in its wastewater collection and transmission system. On September 30,2002, the City entered into a Consent Decree with EPA, MDE and the Department of Justice requiring improvements to the City's portion of the wastewater collection and conveyance system. This resulted in the implementation of a 14-Year Wet-Weather Program consisting of the following four basic elements, with an estimated total cost of up to 1 Billion:

Completion of immediate sewer system improvement and SSO elimination projects,

Implementation of a comprehensive sewershed planning program,

Implementation of a comprehensive sewershed rehabilitation program, and

Continuous upgrades to operations & maintenance.

To date, the only two areas of the City with combined sewers have been retrofitted with separate storm and sanitary sewers. Many of the Paragraph 8 (of the Consent Decree) construction projects to eliminate SSOs have been completed, within or ahead of the scheduled finish, but not without the challenges typically faced during utility construction in urban areas.

Presently, the City is embarking on a comprehensive sewershed planning program, encompassing each of its eight sewersheds. The City has retained the services of Metcalf & Eddy, Inc. as Program Managers, to ensure that the individual sewershed studies mesh into a consistent and well-conceived capital improvement program. A pilot sewershed study is being conducted in the Western Run area of the City to develop the standards and protocols to be used on each of the eight sewershed studies.

During the course of the sewershed studies, SSES activities will identify defects in the collection system that will require immediate attention. A rehabilitation program to address these serious defects will be in place during each of the sewershed studies. In addition, the Sewershed Study and Plan prepared by each sewershed consultant will identify corrective actions to eliminate SSOs and other wet-weather capacity-related issues.

Currently, the Program Manager is assisting the City's Operation and Maintenance Department in improving its current O&M practices to improve the present performance of the wastewater collection system and to fulfill the requirements of the Consent Decree. Recognizing that the City and rate payers will make significant contributions to the upgrade of the collection system assets over the coming years, a well-designed and properly-implemented O&M Program will serve to protect and optimize the large capital investment being made to eliminate wet-weather capacity related issues.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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