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A sanitary sewer overflow was reported to the Department of Public Works yesterday, June 25, at 12:46 p.m. along a tributary to White Marsh Run, near Cordon Way (east of Honeygo Boulevard) in White Marsh. Baltimore County utility crews responded to the site, repaired a damaged 12-inch diameter sewer pipe and stopped the flow by 3:50 p.m. yesterday.

The overflow has been estimated at 72,000 gallons, based on information that it appeared June 19 but was not reported to Baltimore County at that time. (The public is asked to report any overflow to Baltimore County’s Bureau of Utilities: 410 887-5210 or to 911.) The overflow was caused by a concrete casement (or pipe lining) located along the tributary which, due to erosion, slipped and damaged the sewer line. Crews replaced 17 feet of pipe.

Although recent heavy rains have mitigated the impact, the public is advised to avoid contact with the water in the affected area. The Baltimore County Department of Health will monitor water quality at the sites and issue water contact advisories if necessary on the County website.

By Steven A. Walsh PE, Chief
Engineering & Construction, Department of Public Works

The older my kids get, the more questions I get about my job. I realize more and more that it’s hard for them to understand what I do because you just can’t see much of the end result. 

Our Bureau’s job in DPW is to plan, inspect, design, and construct water, sewer, storm drainage, roads and bridges in the County. We call this infrastructure. Some may call it critical. Life would be very different without these things that most people take for granted. We work hand in hand with Public Work’s other Bureaus (Utilities, Highways, Traffic, and Solid Waste), all of which maintain this infrastructure once it’s constructed. 

The County understands the importance of, and invests heavily in, its infrastructure. Unfortunately the importance of the investment and our work goes largely unnoticed and unseen by the public…as well as my kids, unless I point it out to them. 

It’s understandable. Who really cares about what you don’t see? You expect clean water to flow from the spigot. You expect the stuff going down the commode, and the trash you put out in front of your house, to just go away. You expect the bridge you are driving over – if you even notice it – to not do anything…like move. Unless someone is unhappy with the disruption of a construction project or work being done on the sewer system, infrastructure probably doesn’t come up much in casual conversation. 

With the upcoming National Engineers Week (February 19-25), I thought it appropriate to acknowledge the work of the men and women of DPW who take care of the County’s critical infrastructure.

It’s not magic that causes the water to come out of the spigot – it’s decades of system planning and a whole lot of engineering, construction, and hard work by Public Works’ staff. Even though you can’t see it, it is still very important to our lives. 


Revised April 6, 2016