In News

By Mary Maushard

The largest stormwater management project at the Port of Baltimore’s Fairfield Marine Terminal is expected to be operational by early summer.

A large underground sand filter will absorb and treat the runoff from 14 acres, at least twice what earlier sand filters at the Port have treated. This filter replaces a wet basin — a ship’s berth confined on three sides — that caught the stormwater runoff and drained it into the harbor. But that basin was filled in as part of a project to use dredged material to create a 7.5-acre parking lot for 20,000 vehicles.

“We are treating more terminal area than what is required, over 14 acres,” said Craig Huntley, Project Engineer and Senior Civil Engineer for Moffatt & Nichol, Inc.

The sand filter is the last part of a multiproject $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. That Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant funded the completion of the additional parking for vehicles at the Fairfield terminal.

If the runoff is not filtered, when it rains, the oil, grease and sediment on the parking area will run off and end up in the Chesapeake Bay. The first inch of runoff, which contains most of these substances, will now go into a storm drain, settle into the sand filter, flow into perforated pipes and eventually drain into the Bay — cleaner than when it started.

Moffatt & Nichol has done multiple stormwater-management projects at the Port, but this one is somewhat different. In addition to being the largest, the project is “a rare opportunity to work with a new area that did not have the utilities and other constraints that parts of the Port have,” said Andrew Forbes, Civil Engineer for Moffatt & Nichol.

This is possible because the sand filter is being installed as the vehicle storage space is under construction.

The TIGER grant was also used to deepen the access channel to Seagirt Marine Terminal to allow the largest container ships to reach the Port’s most modern container terminal and to expand railroad access at Fairfield by building a new rail loading and unloading facility there.