Since 2002, Baltimore's more than doubled rates to meet a Jan. 1, 2016, consent decree deadline of no longer releasing excess untreated sewage into local waters.

It didn't make the deadline, basements keep backing up, and untreated sewage still occasionally pollutes the Inner Harbor and Chesapeake Bay.

Baltimore’s sewers is a familiar entry in the national story of deferred infrastructure maintenance. But it also uniquely encapsulates how those lagging repairs, combined with the difficulties of enforcing environmental regulations, are a vicious cycle. One infrastructure problem has literally led to another.

Read More