Civic News
Environment / Health / Technology

Baltimore releases interactive map showing sewage overflows

Along with visualizing the location of overflows, The Baltimore Department of Public Works is looking to provide a tool that speeds up the public notification process.

Baltimore's map of sewage overflows keeps four months of data. (Photo courtesy of Baltimore DPW)

In Baltimore, heavy rain is often accompanied by sewage overflows into the city’s waterways.

The figures often released in the days afterward, with the number of gallons of the toxic mix of wastewater and rainwater – sometimes in the millions – and the location where the overflow happened.

The Baltimore Department of Public Works is offering a way to speed up the notification process and track the sewage by map.

An interactive map debuting on the DPW’s website Friday provides a look at where the overflows are occurring using “near real-time” data. All known overflows are shown, and it’s available on the map for four months.

In the city’s century-old system, the sewage overflows can be a feature, not a bug. According to the Baltimore Department of Public Works, the system is designed with structured overflows when sewers get too inundated. Other overflows are caused by blockages  The city is working to make repairs that will eliminate the overflows, with 83 percent of the overflows eliminated by the beginning of 2021.

In the meantime, the map is an effort to alert the public once the muck appears.

“There will be no waiting for press releases or social media updates to obtain this important public health information,” DPW states.

See the map

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