Privatization could improve Baltimore’s troubled water system

An op-ed by NAWC president and CEO Rob Powelson was published in the Baltimore Sun titled “Privatization could improve Baltimore’s troubled water system.” In the piece, Powelson details Baltimore’s long time water system woes, including the city’s failure to meet drinking water standards in recent years, poor management and main breaks, and billing inaccuracies. He uses these shortcomings under municipal control to criticize Food & Water Watch for pushing its anti-private agenda in the city and emphasize how the city would be better served by working with a water company.

The record is clear: Baltimore’s residents have long suffered under the city’s poor management of the water and sewer systems. And unfortunately, the list of failures continues to grow by the day.

Under city control, the Baltimore water system has failed to meet some drinking water standards several times in recent years. The wastewater system also struggles: since 2002, the city has faced an ongoing consent decree lawsuit from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Maryland Department of the Environment for repeated illegal sewage discharges. In 2018, the city reported over 189 million gallons of sewage overflows. The old and failing system has repeatedly caused toxic sewage to back up into residents’ homes and overflow into local streams, putting both public health and waterways at risk.

Read the full story in the Baltimore Sun.

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