Raw Sewage Flushing Into Bay

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WASHINGTON (CNS) — A large and dirty problem continues to percolate underneath Maryland’s towns and cities, unseen and out of mind, flowing into the Chesapeake Bay: aging sewer systems.

Between 2005 and the present, 1.9 billion gallons of sewage and rainwater have been dumped into the state’s waterways.

That’s roughly 100 flushes of an average toilet for every person who lives in Maryland – that is going straight into the state’s rivers and streams.

“They were designed with the notion that they would overflow,” said Jay Sakai, director of the Maryland Department of the Environment, Water Management Administration. “It was an easier way to resolve the sanitary situation at the time.”

Some of these “combined” sewer systems were designed to carry both rainwater and sewage and to overflow when it rained. Yet many sewers designed only to carry sewage also overflow when it rains.

“There’s just more people (now),” said Jim Foster, president of the Anacostia Watershed Society. “The sewers were built 50 years ago, 100 years ago, and there’s just more people.”

Sakai said the additional people and the age of the systems are forcing Maryland to struggle with expensive remediation.

— By Aleksandra Robinson, Capital News Service

About Simon Kelly

Letters to Editor

  1. Imagine that, a broken, antiquated system in the US ! With half the world begging for water we combine our gray water, urine and feces facilitating the delivery of excess nutrients to the bay, then regulate commercial fishing out of existence hoping for a solution. How completely stupid ! A cheap, simple solution would be separating and using gray water, then using dry composting toilets separating and using the urine. We can extract 3 times the hydrogen from urine with half the energy as we can from water.

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