The Board of Estimates for the City of Baltimore has approved construction of the $430 million Headworks Project at the city’s Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant. A key element of the City’s $1.2 billion plan to comply with a 2002 consent decree, the new system will eliminate more than 80 percent of the city’s current sanitary sewage overflow volume.

To be built by joint venture of Clark Construction, Bethesda, Md., and Ulliman-Schutte, Miamisburg, Ohio, using construction manager at-risk project delivery, the new system will add four 1,000-hp pumps to help mitigate a longstanding hydraulic flow issue that prevents a key 12-in sewage main from emptying fully. During heavy rain events, excess flows results in substantial back-ups and overflows several miles upstream.

A separate pump system will activate during storms, channeling excess flows into two storage tanks with a total capacity of 36 million gallons. The water will be gradually returned to the process flow as conditions return to normal.

Two existing sewage outflows are also to be closed as part of the project, which is being co-funded by Baltimore County. The system is also expected to alleviate persistent flooding issues in several residential neighborhoods.

Construction is scheduled to get underway this summer, with the system fully operational by the end of 2020.