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Keyword: environment

​Blocked Gutters Can Lead to Environmental and Safety Concerns

 Baltimore County residents are reminded that raking or blowing leaves and grass trimmings into the gutter or street is unsafe, potentially damaging to the Chesapeake Bay and illegal.

Leaves in the gutter can lead to fires and endanger children who might try to play in the leaves. Leaves and grass trimmings can also clog drains and, if the leaves do get to the bay, cause algae blooms. Algae blooms absorb oxygen and light that fish and aquatic plants need to survive.

Instead of raking or blowing these yard materials into the gutter, the County suggests that residents compost them. Composting leaves and grass trimmings is an easy way to produce an environmentally friendly soil additive for use in gardens. 

Another option for Baltimore County residents is to simply mulch fallen leaves with a lawn mower and leave them on the ground, providing a great natural fertilizer for lawns as the leaves decompose. Mulched leaves can also be collected and used around plants, garden beds, under shrubs and hedges and under trees. The mulch will keep the soil moist and protect the roots of the plants. 

Baltimore County residents who choose to bag their yard materials should put them out where they normally place their trash, in accordance with their trash and recycling collection schedule. Residents are reminded to use paper or plastic lawn and leaf bags to set out their yard materials, not trash cans or any other type of container. 

For more information on how to handle yard materials at home, residents may visit baltimorecountymd.gov/solidwaste or call 410-887-2000.


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.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017