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Critical Infrastructure News

Flooding damaged hundreds of cars shipped through the Port of Baltimore during the last year


The Port of Baltimore has trumpeted success shipping automobiles of late, but aging infrastructure is causing flooding problems that officials fear could hurt its future with automobile manufacturers.

Maryland's port authority on Thursday was poised to ask the state Board of Public Works to approve $9.5 million to fix recurring flooding that has occurred during times of heavy rain over the last year but it withdrew the request at the last moment.

The withdrawal was a procedural decision, port representative Richard Scher said. The funding request is expected to be heard at the board's next meeting Aug. 5.

Dundalk Marine Terminal has been experiencing flooding during severe storms, according to Board of Public Works documents. Floodwaters from an Aug. 12 storm damaged more than 800 vehicles last year. That storm dumped 5 inches of rain on the terminal in three hours. Other storms causing flooding in the last year include a June 2014 storm with 2.5 inches of rain falling in three hours and a June 27 storm that dropped 4 inches of rain over a two-hour period.

The flooding threatens to cost the port automobile business, it said in board documents. The port has been on a recent hot streak in auto shipping. The port led the country in automobile shipments for the fourth straight year in 2014, breaking its own record with 792,795 cars shipped.

Board documents cite old infrastructure as a reason for the flooding. Dundalk Marine Terminal's storm drainage system dates back to the former Harbor Field airport, with contract drawings stretching back to the late 1920s. The $9.5 million the port plans to request would go for design, engineering, and construction of storm water improvements. They would include new water containment vaults and conveyance systems.

Source: BBJ

Business donations push Canton water wheel past $200K in funding


Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore Inc. is getting closer to its Canton trash-collecting water wheel, thanks to three big donations this month. Canton Car Wash and 1212 East Apartments each donated $10,000 in July, with Baltimore Water Taxi contributing an additional $11,680, bringing the fundraising total to $212,810 since the announcement in mid-June. The total cost of Baltimore's second water wheel is estimated at $550,000.

The Canton water wheel, modeled off the Inner Harbor installment, is part of Waterfront Partnership's Healthy Harbor initiative that aims to clean up Baltimore's harbor and connecting waterways. The second water wheel will be near Boston Street Pier Park at the Harris Creek outfall. It will be solar-powered, like its Inner Harbor brother, which has removed 205 tons of trash from the harbor since it was installed in May 2014.

Waterfront Partnership has about a year to secure the rest of the $550,000 before some of its grant funding expires in June 2016.

More water wheel projects could be in Baltimore's near future, said Adam Lindquist, manager of Waterfront Partnership's Healthy Harbor Initiative. "We do think there are other outfalls, particularly in the Middle Branch of the harbor that would benefit from water wheel technology," he said.

Source: BBJ