Power restored to Maryland water treatment plant

Due to raw sewage dumped into local rivers and creeks, stay away from waterways for a few days. (WTOP/Mark Segraves)

WASHINGTON – Power has been restored to the Little Patuxent Water Reclamation Plant in Howard County, Md. after millions of gallons of sewage spilled into the Chesapeake Bay.

The overflow was caused by a power outage at the water treatment plant following Monday’s superstorm.

Water volume contributed to at least 19 spills of waste water throughout the state, says Jay Apperson, spokesperson for the Maryland Department of the Environment.

The spills ranged in size and include some residential overflows.

Officials are still collecting information, but Apperson is not aware of any drinking water plants that were affected.

“We don’t believe there is a health issue because it’s so diluted, but our heath officer has been monitoring the situation,” says Ken Ulman, Howard County Executive.

In other parts of the region, signs warned residents to stay away from polluted waterways for the next several days.

“Pollution may occur during rainfall,” reads one sign in Georgetown.

The Virginia Department of Health has suspended shellfish harvesting in parts of the Chesapeake because of floodwaters caused by excessive rainfall and tidal flooding.

“Due to potential microbiological and chemical pollution hazards, shellfish taken from areas affected by the emergency closure are currently unacceptable for consumption,” reads a statement on the department’s website.

See a map of the affected areas here.

Despite the environmental impact, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley says he is happy with utilities’ performance during the storm.

“This could have been a lot worse,” he says. “We did not get the sort of damage that some forecasted and we were preparing for.”

WTOP’s Alicia Lozano and Paula Wolfson contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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