BALTIMORE, MD—The contaminated waste water from East Palestine, Ohio that was set to be processed at the Back River Waste Water Treatment Plant will no longer be coming to Baltimore.
On Friday, March 24, 2023, the Baltimore City Department of Public Works was notified by Clean Harbors Environmental Services that it was selected by the Environmental Protection Agency to accept, treat, and discharge the wastewater collected from rainwater, collected water, and stream water above and below the cleanup site of the Norfolk Southern Railroad derailment in East Palestine, Ohio that occurred on February 3rd.
Officials from both Baltimore City and Baltimore County expressed dire concerns about the safety of the project and, on Monday night, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said that Clean Waters could not discharge the treated water in the city’s wastewater system.
“While we are confident that our Baltimore facility is safe to handle and process that waste, as we have made clear from the beginning of this process, we would only be moving forward with the approval of all federal, state and local regulators,” Clean Harbors spokesman Jim Buckley said in a statement.
Numerous elected officials, including Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewksi, and Delegates Ryan Nawrocki and Kathy Szeliga, had spoken out against the proposal and were even planning to draft emergency legislation to stop the project.
Back River Water Water Treatment Plant had issues of its own earlier this month after an explosion rocked the complex.
The health and safety of our residents and our waterways is a top priority, which was why we supported efforts to prevent the discharge of treated materials into our shared system and are encouraged by Clean Harbors’ plans to identify alternative solutions for this wastewater. https://t.co/M9sJCWey4k pic.twitter.com/bTfBVOt1wJ
— County Executive Johnny Olszewski (@BaltCoExec) March 28, 2023
I stand against any efforts that potentially compromise the health and safety of our residents, and the environment.
As such, we are denying Clean Harbors request to dispose of pretreated wastewater into the Baltimore City wastewater collection system. pic.twitter.com/mWKuyu5ksU
— Brandon M. Scott (@MayorBMScott) March 28, 2023
Photo via Wikipedia / Kristian Bjornard