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Nearly four tons of debris from Howard County waterways following severe storm

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Posted at 4:11 PM, Jun 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 16:11:02-04

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. — About four tons of debris were removed from was removed from streams and waterways following last week's severe storm that pummeled Howard County in less than two hours.

The storm briefly closed flood-plagues Historic Ellicott City and forced Halsey to cancel her performance at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia.

Nearly 35 tons of debris have been removed from stream channels in and around Ellicott City since the beginning of its controlled-flooding program.

This is the second debris removal for weather this year, and the 14th since the plan was implemented. The enhanced stream debris removal program was one of the early initiatives announced under County Executive Calvin Ball’s Safe and Sound plan.

"The increasingly severe summer storms we have seen in recent years can quickly cause a buildup of debris at multiple points in the watershed in and around Ellicott City,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “This process is so important to prevent downed limbs and other debris from blocking culverts and causing overflow. We’re so grateful to our Department of Public Works team and Howard EcoWorks crews who inspected waterways and removed nearly 4 tons of debris this week.”

Under protocols established by Ball in December 2018, debris will be removed after any rain event of 2 inches or greater accumulation in a 24-hour period, or after an hour of sustained winds over 30mph. Previously, waterways were only inspected on a quarterly or semi-annual basis. 

Within three business days of a qualifying wind or rain event, 56 locations on public properties and on Columbia Association property along nine Howard County streams are inspected. These sites have been chosen because they are locations that are known to experience, or contribute to, localized flooding.

Within 14 business days of the inspection, the material that was identified for removal during the inspection will be removed by crews from Howard EcoWorks and the Department of Public Works.