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Water In Baltimore Moves Underground

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By Cathy Duchamp

Work is underway in Baltimore to move drinking water underground. It's part of a larger effort to upgrade the city’s aging infrastructure.

It’s a pool of water the size of two football fields. But you’ll probably never see it.

"When this is all done it will look like a grass field here. The reservoir will be buried and non-accessible," says Tim Braden with the Baltimore Department of Public Works. He shows me one of three open-air water storage pools that are being replaced by giant underground tanks.

"Anytime you have an open reservoir you have issues," he says.

Bird poop, pollen and pathogens like Cryptosporidium that can make people sick. The upgrades were mandated by federal drinking water regulations. But Braden says there were other considerations, too.

"We also did it for security reasons. After 9-11 it was a concern. The sheer possibility of somebody dumping something into an open reservoir," he comments.

The cost to replace this storage pool is $37 million. Part of the money comes from federal stimulus funds. Most of it comes from rate increases paid by people across Central Maryland who get their water from Baltimore.

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