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Public comment period for Baltimore DPW watershed plans extended

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Posted at 12:41 PM, Dec 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-18 16:32:53-05

BALTIMORE — The 30-day window for the public to view and make comments on the Baltimore City watershed assessment of the north Lower Patapsco and Baltimore Harbor watershed has been extended an additional four weeks, the Baltimore City Department of Public Works announced Monday.

The new deadline for the comment period is 5 p.m. on Jan. 16, 2019. The previous deadline was 5 p.m. on Dec. 19.

“It’s for anybody with any interest in what’s going on with the watersheds,” said Jeffrey Raymond, the Chief of Communications and Community Affairs for the Baltimore DPW. “This is all part of what we go through as part of our stormwater permitting process.”

While a thorough understanding of the plans might be more pertinent to those working in environmental advocacy or property development, the flow and management of water in the region has the potential to affect any resident.

“People don’t necessarily think of water if they live on dry land and not just near the harbor,” Raymond said. “Everybody lives in a watershed, so when it rains or it snows, that water goes somewhere.”

Often where that water goes can be impacted by impediments like development, trash, infrastructure, or potential chemical pollution.

“We take a hard look at these watersheds, all the different characteristics of the watersheds, and then make a plan to keep them as clean and as flood controlled as possible,” Raymond said.

The 71-page draft proposal for the Lower North Branch Patapsco Watershed Assessment can be viewed online here.

The 115-page Baltimore Harbor Watershed Assessment can be viewed online here.

A hard copy of the reports can be requested by contacting the Watershed Planning and Partnership Section at 410-396-0732 or emailing publicworks@baltimorecity.gov (subject line “Watershed Assessment Request).

Comments can be submitted by emailing publicworks@baltimorecity.gov (subject line: “Watershed Assessment Request”), or by mail at Baltimore City Department of Public Works, Office of Compliance and Laboratories, 3001 Druid Park Drive, Room 238, Baltimore, Md., 21214.

According to the DPW website, each assessment attempts to:

  • Catalog the characterizations of the watershed, including taking inventory of the current physical and social conditions
  • Identify and rank the water quality issues present in the watershed, including prioritizing factors contributing to water quality problems and a description of the watershed’s total maximum daily loads (TMDL), a regulatory term describing the maximum amount of a pollutant a body of water can receive while still meeting water quality standards.
  • Analyze suitability and identify areas of priority for improving water quality and meeting the total maximum daily waste load allocations for the watershed, hopefully maximizing other potential benefits associated with restoration