BALTIMORE — The Patapsco Waste Water Treatment Plant is still going.
A necessary entity, says Department of Public Works Jeffrey Raymond, but not without those carrying heavy hearts.
"These are deadly, serious jobs. They are vital for the life and health of the people and the environment, but when all is said and done, at the end of a shift, and it's time to relax and be among people, and not just co-workers," he said.
The acting manager at the plant says the family there is mourning the loss of Trina Cunningham, a maintenance supervisor who worked for DPW for more than 20 years.
Officials say she was the person who fell 20 feet off of a catwalk into a water filtration system last night.
"There's a lot of moving equipment. There is a lot of water. There is enclosed space, and in the case of Patapsco, there are elevated catwalks above the floor of the facility, so safety is paramount," Raymond said.
Both the department and MOSH – Maryland Occupation Safety and Health – are investigating.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only one other person has died in Maryland at a sewage treatment facilities since 2011.
"Everyone is trying to take notes to make sure that we know to the best of our knowledge what happened, and then that becomes part of the playbook of making sure that that doesn't happen again. It's critical that we learn from what happened," Raymond said.
It's a learning process that brings with it a heavy toll as those looking into this accident see what went wrong.