Building backups of raw sewage are a big problem in Baltimore. Over the past few decades, the number of sewage backups reported to Baltimore City has dramatically increased: from over 600 in 2002 to over 5,000 in 2015. Baltimore's Modified Consent Decree, outlining how the city will complete repairs to the sewage system between 2017 and 2033, required Baltimore City DPW to launch a new pilot Expedited Reimbursement Program to help residents with the costs of a basement backup - but only under certain conditions. And in the first year of the pilot program, when 4,632 reports of building sewage backups were reported to 311, only 74 applications for reimbursement were processed by DPW, and 64 of them were rejected. Read more about the policy barriers stopping this program from effectively helping Baltimore residents here.
On November 13, the Baltimore City Council held a public hearing to get answers about sewage backups - and we left with some answers, but many more questions. Read more about the public hearing here. The Council will convene a "part two" of the hearing soon, and your comments in the interim about direct experience with sewage backing up or recommendations for how the city could reform its practices around this issue will help educate the Council members as they prepare for this next step.
The City Council needs to hear from you. Click below to write your own comment and shape the public hearings about sewage backups in Baltimore.