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Baltimore City asks judge to halt State's takeover of Back River Wastewater Plant

Feces in Back River.jpg
Posted at 11:38 AM, Apr 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-01 13:29:40-04

BALTIMORE — Baltimore City is asking a judge to halt the State's takeover of the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The Maryland Department of the Environment says the City failed to comply with an order to end illegal discharges of water pollution at the plant, and the decline in proper maintenance and operations risks catastrophic failures that could result in environmental harm.

Last week, the state gave the City 48 hours to make changes that would be in compliance with environmental regulations.

RELATED: Sewage discharges, broken equipment prompt state takeover of city wastewater treatment plant

Three days later, the State felt proper changes weren't made prompting the takeover.

The City claims they didn't have enough time to correct the issues.

In their filing, the City says the Mayor and Environmental Secretary spoke half-way through that 48 hour deadline, during which time there was no mention of a State takeover.

The City says it has cooperated with the state and the issuance of a consent decree to govern long-term improvements at the plant.

“The City of Baltimore filed a memorandum in support of a petition to review MDE’s order today. As stated in the petition, we believe their actions have been both unfair and unproductive, especially considering the collaboration over the past several months,” said James Bentley, spokesperson for Mayor Brandon Scott.

MORE: Back River water quality impacting businesses, conservation efforts

But the state seems to disagree, citing past inspections and legal action taken earlier this year.

Here is the State's order giving notice of their intention to take over the plant.

Below is the City's court filing.