Department of Public Works
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Sewage Collection and Pumping System Facts

Baltimore County's sewage collection system successfully handles approximately one billion gallons per year through its network of 3,000 miles of pipeline, 116 pumping stations and 60,000 manholes. The average age of the system is approximately 45 years. Over 99 percent of the wastewater handled by the system is pumped safely to wastewater treatment plants without incident.

Overflow Causes

  • Roots, debris and grease build-ups are the most frequent causes of pipeline blockages and overflows - and for over 70 percent of manhole overflows.
  • The remainder are by a variety of causes such as structural pipe failure, vandalism, and inflow and infiltration during heavy rainfall.

We Need Your Help !

  • Never pour grease down sink drains or into toilets.
  • Pour oils and greases (including salad oils, and bacon fat) into a container such as an old milk carton or other empty non-recyclable container and dispose in the trash. You can also use coffee grounds or kitty litter to absorb the oil.
  • Do not put grease down garbage disposals. Put baskets/strainers in sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids, and empty the drain baskets/strainers into the trash for disposal.
  • Dry wipe and scrape grease and food scraps from trays, plates, pots, pans, utensils, and grills and cooking surfaces into a can or the trash for disposal.

Prevention and Repair Methods We Use

  • Bureau of Utilities crews work around the clock, every day, to monitor, inspect, and perform routine maintenance on sewer system components. The average response time for main line sewer blockages is 28 minutes.
  • A new computerized alarm and monitoring system has been installed that provides faster, more detailed and more accurate information on sewage system operations. This $1.5 million monitoring system will monitor sewage flow, flow failures and alarms.
  • An average of $45 to $50 million is invested every year in strategically planned capital improvements to the sewage system; $240,291,000 is currently allocated in the five-year budget. These funds will enable the County to enhance the reliability of the sewer conveyance system and minimize overflow events through rehabilitation and replacement of pipelines, and retrofitting and upgrading pumping stations' with new technologies to enhance pipeline and pumping station operations.
  • Baltimore County's Plumbing Code requires grease interceptors in restaurants.
  • Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) program instituted to inform and educate the public.

Contact Information

Bureau of Utilities
11112 Gilroy Road, Suite 104
Hunt Valley, MD 21031

Phone 410-887-1836
Fax 410-887-1832

TTY Users call Maryland Relay 1-800-735-2258

Revised January 10, 2014

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