Baltimore City Council Hearing: Assistance for Sewage Backups
Sewage backs up into homes in Baltimore thousands of times per year - sometimes caused by tree root intrusion, sometimes caused by rainstorms overwhelming the sewer and stormwater pipes, and sometimes caused by clogs and debris in the city-maintained pipes under the street. For too long, too many residents have been left without help when sewer backups happen in their homes through no fault of their own.
In 2018, Baltimore City launched a new Expedited Reimbursement Program to assist city residents with the costs of cleaning up sewage backing up into their home. In 2021, the City established a direct cleanup assistance program, the Sewage Onsite Support (SOS) program. While these programs are important steps to support residents dealing with this environmental and health hazard, both are flawed due to strict qualification criteria and lack of public awareness about the programs.
Baltimore City’s Department of Public Works (DPW) released a study assessing the feasibility of expanding these two programs in November 2021 and recommended against expanding them.
On October 12th, the Health, Environment, and Technology Committee is holding a hearing about the findings and conclusions DPW outlined in their feasibility study. This hearing is an opportunity for YOU to tell your stories about sewage backups to the City Council, inform Councilmembers about any positive or negative experiences you’ve had with the City’s two sewage backup assistance programs, and help shape how Baltimore City responds to this critical health risk and financial burden in the future.