Fix city sewage, not sep­tics

Baltimore Sun - - FROM PAGE ONE - Bill Ritzel, For­est Hill

Gov. Larry Ho­gan’s pro­posal to re­lax “best avail­able tech­nol­ogy” reg­u­la­tions on sep­tic sys­tems to just those in crit­i­cal ar­eas in­stead of all sep­tic sys­tems is a good one (“The sep­tic back­slide,” Aug. 23). A good ar­gu­ment can be made that they work bet­ter, but does re­quir­ing them in ar­eas that are not crit­i­cal make Ch­e­sa­peake Bay wa­ters any cleaner? I think not, es­pe­cially when you look at the big pic­ture of sources of waste­water pol­lu­tion.

Con­sider, for ex­am­ple, the re­cent news about 10,000 gal­lons of raw sewage leak­ing into the In­ner Har­bor and 21,000 gal­lons leak­ing into the Jones Falls (“More than 20,000 gal­lons of raw sewage re­leased into Baltimore wa­ter­ways over week­end,” Aug. 22). These leaks oc­cur fre­quently from the city sewer sys­tem and in some spots the sys­tem has de­signed-in over­flows dur­ing pe­ri­ods of heavy rain. If you track the re­ported raw sewage leaks in The Sun over a year, it adds up to hun­dreds of thou­sands of gal­lons or more into streams and har­bor. Fixes to this prob­lem have been re­peat­edly de­layed and with time­lines years away.

We all want to pro­tect and im­prove our wa­ter qual­ity. Let’s put our pri­or­ity and fo­cus on fix­ing this source of pol­lu­tion that is hav­ing a huge direct im­pact of the qual­ity of the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay and get it done.

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