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Wind Storm Triggers Ellicott City Safe and Sound Debris Clean-Up

Wind Storm Triggers Ellicott City Safe and Sound Debris Clean-Up

April 10, 2020
Media Contact:
Scott Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412
ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced the enhanced stream debris removal program, part of the Ellicott City Safe and Sound plan, was triggered last night after more than an hour of severe sustained winds.
“We saw intense sustained wind yesterday, which triggered the action to remove any debris to keep our streams clear,” said Ball. “This proactive measure prevents debris from collecting and causing stream blockages. We’re thankful for our EcoWorks team, who was still able to complete these inspections, even with reduced crew sizes due to COVID-19.”
When County Executive Ball took office in December 2018, streams were only inspected for debris on a quarterly basis. The enhanced stream debris removal program was one of the first initiatives announced under the Safe and Sound plan. The intent of the program is to ensure that certain waterways in the county are inspected on a more regular basis to reduce the risk of debris causing flooding during severe weather events. To date, more than 10 tons of debris have been removed from county waterways.

The enhanced stream debris removal program mandates that 56 inspection points along 9 waterways are inspected within 3 business days 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. Crews from Howard EcoWorks and the Department of Public Works then have 14 business days to remove debris. 
"After being notified that a Safe and Sound event was triggered, EcoWorks staff hit the ground to conduct inspections,” said Lori Lilly, Howard EcoWorks Director, “We divided routes among four people to inspect 56 points and found a range of conditions from no issue, to small amounts of debris to a couple more substantial trees that had come down. We will be working with County Highways over the coming weeks to get the material removed. We are glad that we can be supportive of the County and our community by taking care of the debris as it's one less thing to worry about during the current emergency."
Although Howard EcoWorks has already completed the inspections, the timeline for inspections does not officially start until Monday, April 13th due to the Good Friday holiday. The timeline for debris removal starts 3 business days later but delays are possible due to service disruptions caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic.
To follow the progress of inspections and debris removal, please visit