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Baltimore County News

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Keyword: environment

By Steve Walsh
Director of Public Works

Next time you take a drink of nice cool, clean water; flush away something nasty or take a pleasant drive, think of the engineers over time who have made our modern comforts and sanitation possible. Engineers are the original environmentalists who have toiled for centuries to protect us and our surroundings by coming up with ingenious ways to keep raw sewage, rotting garbage, pollution and disease under control and from affecting our daily lives.

The History of Engineering

Photo of an aqueduct

Ancient engineers developed the aqueducts and water treatment, starting with the ancient Egyptians who collected rainfall and designed copper pipelines to dispose of sewage. Around 2000 B.C., Hindus figured out that water should be stored in copper vessels, exposed to sunlight and filtered through charcoal. The early Romans created drains and sewers and fostered hygienic processes. The “filth, pestilence and plague” of the Dark Ages helped inspire further innovations in engineering.

In the 1600s, English philosopher Sir Francis Bacon conducted thousands of experiments on the treatment of water, including boiling, distillation and percolating it through filters. In the 1800s, hydraulic engineers worked out methods to deliver abundant clean water to the developing cities and reduce the choking pollution from industrial smokestacks. In the 20th century, American engineers sent Neil Armstrong to the moon to take his “giant leap for mankind.” For more of these historical nuggets, check out the interesting article "History of Environmental Engineering," by Washington University in St. Louis Professor Charles A. Buescher Jr., PE, DEE.

The County's World-Renowned Engineering

Photo of the shore of Loch Raven

If you hike or bike around Loch Raven, Prettyboy or Liberty Reservoirs, you may be interested to know that our world-renowned reservoir and dam system for drinking water in the Baltimore region is thanks to engineer extraordinaire Abel Wolman. He was in the very first graduating class of the Johns Hopkins School of Engineering in 1915, and went on to become the architect of Baltimore City’s expansive water and sewage treatment plants built in the 1930s, which still serve some 1.8 million people in Baltimore City and County.

Modern-day engineers come in all stripes, including civil, environmental, transportation, aeronautical, electrical, mechanical and chemical. They keep our bridges and roadways in working order, reduce stormwater run-off from roads and buildings, dredge waterways to keep them open, protect and restore our streams and shorelines, and much more.

National Engineers Week

Did you know that the word "engineer" derives from the Latin words "ingenium," meaning "cleverness," and "ingeniare," meaning "to contrive or devise?" So if you know a clever engineer who is helping to keep our environment healthy and the gadgets, gizmos and systems of our society running smoothly, please take a moment to thank him or her during National Engineers Week, from February 17 through 23. (Sponsored by the National Society of Professional Engineers.)


Show Airs on Cable Channel 25 and Online

The latest edition of Baltimore County’s half-hour cable television public affairs show, “Hello Baltimore County,” includes an in-depth interview with County Executive Johnny Olszewski, an overview of the County’s environmental health function and details on how you can join the Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge.  

Clean, Green and Litter-free – Find out how your group can make a difference in your community and help a local school win the Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge.

Meet Johnny O – County Executive Johnny Olszewski discusses his top priorities, and plans for open transparent government.

What’s Up Doc? – Baltimore County’s top doc, Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch explores environmental health issues like the cleanliness of restaurants, public pools and more.

You can also view the show on the County website’s Hello Baltimore County page. In addition to online access, the program runs several times per week on Cable Channel 25 in Baltimore County, at the following times:

Mondays: 1:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 10 p.m.

Tuesdays: 12 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9 p.m.

Wednesdays: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 10 p.m.

Thursdays: 1 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 8 p.m.

Fridays: 11 a.m., 6 p.m.

Saturdays: 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m., 10:30 p.m.

Sundays: 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m., 10:30 p.m.


Action Will Preserve 23 Acres of Developable Land and Protect Local Waterways

Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler and 6th District Councilwoman Cathy Bevins announced the County’s plans to preserve a significant parcel of environmentally sensitive land in Middle River to prevent development, thereby protecting water quality for local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay.

The County plans to acquire 23 acres, located on the southwest corner of Bengie’s Road and Bourque Avenue, which is less than a mile from Dark Head Creek and Middle River, and is immediately adjacent to another 28 acres of open space owned by the State of Maryland. Program Open Space acquisition funds will be applied to reimburse the full $100,000 purchase price.

“Preserving rural lands is one of the most effective ways to protect the drinking water supplies for 2.6 million people in the Baltimore region, as well as the water quality of our streams and rivers that flow to the Chesapeake," Mohler said..

"I am always looking for sites around the district for Project Open Space,” said Bevins. “I am thankful for the administration for purchasing this land. This is the latest in a long list of ways we have worked to improve the environment here in Middle River. From dredging the Bird River to preserving open space, I have worked hard to protect and improve the environment.” 

The property is zoned for medium-density residential development and has a recorded 20-lot subdivision. By purchasing this property from Windlass Woods, LLC., the County is guaranteeing its ability to serve as a filter for stormwater, protecting the water quality of Middle River and the Chesapeake Bay. It will be preserved as a forested refuge for wildlife, while offering scenic views in a growing area of the County, near the Baltimore Crossroads mixed-use development.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017