Best Predictable Shit Storm: Baltimore City Department of Public Works

After every rain—and sometimes after the sun shines—and usually on Friday afternoons, DPW informs us that raw sewage “mixed with rainwater” has spilled into the Jones Falls, Gwynns Falls, or some other tributary. Sometimes it’s a little—30,000 gallons, say, as if someone flushed a toilet the size of an Olympic swimming pool. More often it’s hundreds of thousands of gallons, the figure to be revised upward in subsequent press releases. The department has been rebuilding the old sewer (and water) pipes for more than a decade, under a consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The cost of this work, just on the sewer side, has already approached $1 billion and will cost another billion on top of it over the next decade. Meanwhile, private basements flood with turdwater and feces streams into the bay, where tourists sometimes, for some reason, swim. Or sink.

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