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Thursday’s Rain Triggers EC Safe and Sound Enhanced Stream Debris Removal Action

March 22, 2019

Media Contacts: 
Mark Miller, Administrator, Office of Public Information, 410-313-2022
Shaina Hernandez, Senior Advisor to the County Executive, 410-313-4200

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced that Thursday’s rainfall has triggered the second enhanced stream debris removal action since he unveiled Phase One of his EC Safe and Sound plan in December 2018. As part of his plan to ensure public safety, Ball ordered inspections and debris removal of nine streams any time the County has a rainfall of two inches or greater in a 24-hour period, or after an hour of sustained winds more than 30 mph. 

At the Alpha Ridge Landfill, a Howard County rain gauge reported 2.93 inches during a 24-hour period.  Gauges at other locations reported the following amounts:

  • Columbia Gateway - 2.54 inches
  • Little Patuxent River at Centennial Park - 2.12 inches
  • Patuxent River and 9th Street in Laurel - 2.36 inches

“Keeping our waterways in and around Ellicott City clear of debris is a critical element to ensure the safety of our residents, business owners and visitors during severe weather events,” said Ball. “Within three business days, we will begin inspecting 55 sites along these nine waterways and start a proactive clean-up of any identified debris.”

Under the enhanced inspection program, once the sites have been inspected by crews from Howard EcoWorks, its staff and Howard County Public Works crews will remove all identified debris within 14 business days.

Residents can follow the clean-up progress on an interactive map and see the quantity and types of debris removed, and view pictures from each of the 55 sites.

The first enhanced debris removal action was triggered by a February windstorm and crews cleared 3,850 pounds of tree branches, logs, stumps, cinder blocks and other metal from the nine waterways as a result.

Since launching Phase One of EC Safe and Sound, the County has hosted two public meetings to provide information and answer questions about the Flood Mitigation Assistance Program, which is a pilot grant program available to property owners in the Plum Tree, Little Plum Tree, Tiber-Hudson and New Cut watersheds for improvements to their structures only. A third public meeting was held to solicit community input for a new emergency public alert system.

Ball has also testified in both the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates to support legislation which would authorize the Maryland Department of the Environment to use the comprehensive flood management grant program to award grants to subdivisions that incurred infrastructure damage caused by a flood on or after January 1, 2009. The legislation is sponsored by Howard County Delegate Courtney Watson and Senator Katie Fry Hester.

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