February 19, 2019

Media Contact:
Scott L. Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball will pre-file legislation this week that, if passed, will allow county workers to access streams on private property to remove debris that has the potential to cause flooding. As part of his Ellicott City Safe and Sound plan announced in December, Ball mandated more frequent inspections of streams, but those inspections are only on public property due to the limitations of current law.

“It’s important to remove debris from streams to prevent future flooding. That means we sometimes need to go onto private property,” said Ball. “Currently, the right-of-entry onto private property is negotiated on a case by case basis, which can take an extended period of time and could jeopardize public safety."

The legislation empowers the Department of Public Works to enter any building, structure, or premises to inspect streams and other waterways for debris, or to remove natural and man-made obstructions which could impede the passage of water during future rain events..

“The County will continue to negotiate with individual property owners for quick access to the location of debris,” said James M. Irvin, Director of the Howard County Department of Public Works. “We believe this legislation will help to facilitate that process."

“I am pleased to support County Executive Ball’s legislation to remove storm debris from properties that could potentially be hazardous and cause flooding,” said Delegate Courtney Watson, whose district, 9B, includes Ellicott City.  “I’m grateful that the safety of residents has been at the forefront of his Administration and I look forward to continuing our partnership to make Ellicott City Safe and Sound."

“I will happily support any effort by our Administration to clear and maintain each of three main waterways that run into and through Main Street – the New Cut, Tiber and Hudson branches,” said Howard County District 1 Councilmember Liz Walsh. “This bill could be the first step in allowing that work to happen in a systemic, methodical approach that will benefit the entire watershed, and those of us who live, work and love to visit here.”  

The second part of the legislation clarifies existing authority for the county to prevent any illegal dumping. 

To learn more about the Ellicott City Safe and Sound program, visit https://www.ecsafeandsound.org/.

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