What’s happening?

Contractors hired to clean up the Baltimore Patapsco Wastewater Treatment Plant identified dangerous and potentially explosive substances in the sewage, according to an inspection report released on June 7 by the Maryland Department of Environment, according to Fern Shen for Baltimore Brew. This report highlights worsening conditions at the plant, which came under fire last year for illegal sewage discharges along with Baltimore’s Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant. 

What are the specifics of the latest inspection report? 

The 38-page report details how the sewage processing facility—located in Curtis Bay to treat industrial and residential wastewater—has failed to prevent illegal pollutants from leaking into the Patapsco River and Chesapeake Bay. 

Among other issues, the report states that Synagro Inc.—the Middle-River based company hired to clean up the plant—detected traces of diesel, gasoline, acetone, and hydrocarbon concentrations.“There is a fire hazard and the potential for an explosion associated with the levels of hydrocarbons detected in the sludge if the sludge is processed through their dryer,” the report said. 

Anything else I should know? 

In March, MDE transferred control of the Back River plant from the Baltimore Department of Public Works to the Maryland Environmental Service, a nonprofit, independent state agency, due to reports of similar violations. 

You can read more here.