Governor’s Press Release

BALTIMORE (December 15, 1997) -- The State of Maryland today intervened in a lawsuit filed today by the federal government against the City of Baltimore alleging violations of the federal Clean Water Act at the city's Ashburton Water Filtration Plant and Patapsco Wastewater Treatment Plant. The United States supports Maryland's effort to intervene in the lawsuit.

Maryland's complaint alleges that at least since 1992, the Ashburton plant regularly violated Clean Water Act permit limits on chlorine, suspended solids and aluminum in its treated wastewater which is discharged into a tributary of Gwynns Falls, part of the Patapsco River watershed. The complaint also alleges that since March 1993, the Patapsco plant exceeded its wastewater discharge permit limits on chlorine, total suspended solids, pH, dissolved oxygen, biochemical oxygen demand, phosphorus, and fecal coliform. The Patapsco plant discharges into the Patapsco River.

In 1992, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) cited Baltimore for more than 1,000 permit violations at the Ashburton plant. In a subsequent consent order, Baltimore agreed to correct these violations by dredging its waste lake. The order was amended to extend the construction schedule so that a dechlorination facility could be constructed. To date, the city has not fully complied with either order or with the discharge limits of its National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit required under the Clean Water Act.

Today's legal activities undertaken jointly by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Maryland Attorney General's Office for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and MDE, respectively, seek unspecified penalties for the violations and a court order requiring corrective action at both plants and the Patapsco sewer system.