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Could a new grant help to improve the Baltimore's sewer issues?

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Posted at 5:59 PM, Aug 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-18 17:59:26-04

Many are sick of seeing Baltimore’s streets flooded when it rains, a new grant to help fix the city’s sewer system could help fix that problem.

The city of Baltimore is getting a little help when it comes to its sewer issues; $20 million to be exact.

The grant comes from the state of Maryland to help prevent sewer overflows throughout the city and improve infrastructure in the Patapsco and Herring Run sewer sheds.

The Board of Public Works approved the grant Wednesday.

"The state of Maryland is working with Baltimore City to stop sewage overflow in the city and in this case, were talking about a 20 million dollar state grant," said Jay Apperson of The Maryland Department of the Environment.

Those living in the city have likely seen the remnants of an old sewer system and backups–especially when the rain comes.

"Heavy rains often lead to sewage overflows. What happens is the rain water gets into the aging sewer pipe systems and overwhelm their capacity," Apperson said.

But this grant aims to pay for certain initiatives to fix those problems and aging system.

"These are projects that would repair or improve sewer lines, manholes, the lines that carry sewage from customers to the sewage treatment plant," Apperson said.

The grand also goes toward paying for much needed repairs to the sewer infrastructure.

"Obviously there's going to be a lot more money needed from the city but were' committed to trying to provide financial assistance when we can from the state of Maryland," Apperson said.

This is a unique grant, because normally, the state would offer low interest loans for things like sewer fixes.

"A change in state law allows us now to give them grant money to help them do this work."

State officials are also on board to further help the city as it prepares to make more substantial fixes.

"The city is looking at, when it's all said and done upwards of 2 billion dollars worth of improvements," said Apperson.

In a statement, the city's Department of Public Works said:

"We are already using money from the bay restoration fee to build enhanced nutrient removal facilities at our two wastewater treatment plants. Using this source of money for sewer projects will further help us to protect the environment, and our neighborhoods."

The grant comes from the state's Bay Restoration Fund.  No exact timeline for when the work is set to start.

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