Heavy storms damage trash boom along Back River
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 12:49

Boom expected to be repaired by end of week

by Ben Boehl

    One of the signature achievements of the Back River Restoration Committee (BRRC) is a trash boom in place along Back River between the Eastern Boulevard and I-695 bridges.    
    The purpose of the boom is to collect bottles, paper  and other trash from washing into Back River, but as BRRC president Don Albright said, the trash boom is not meant for trees.
    Last week’s heavy storms brought a large volume of trees and tree debris into the water, and the boom was damaged on Monday, June 10.
    “With all the water from the rain, the high tide brought in the trees,” Albright explained.
    Boom manager Clark Testerman said this is the third year for the boom and the first time this year that it was damaged.
    He said the boom was damaged three times in 2012 and two times in 2011.
    The boom is 600 feet long, and an anchor is placed every 50 feet to help keep it stable. Testerman added the anchors were helping, but the trees were too much.
    “The boom was working on Monday,” Testerman said. “Then it was raining bad at 5 p.m. and the lower boom had been compromised.  It was such a mess.”        
    Testerman said that the boom has been temporarily fixed and it was fortunate that on Thursday, June 13, the thunderstorms were not as severe.
    Tony Kotecki, BRRC vice president, said the boom has helped over the last three years, as there has been limited trash coming into the river, but agrees with Testerman and Albright that trees are too much for the boom to handle.

Kotecki believes the best way to solve the situation is to tackle the problem at Herring Run in Baltimore City which he believes is the source of the trash that floats down to Back River.
    “You heard about fighting fire with fire. How about fighting wood with wood? Build a [wooden] wall up Herring Run and put it upward to make a v-shape to block the trees,” Kotecki said, suggesting that someone could go up there by boat to get any trash that would get stuck.    
    Aware that funding could be a roadblock to such a project, Kotecki told The Eagle that BRRC could hold a fundraiser if there is not sufficient funding from the government to undertake such a project.
    Kotecki said he was also told by government officials that more studies need to be done before a wooden wall could be put into place at that site.
    “They come out and say that you have to have a study. We have a study every time there is a [serious] storm,” Kotecki said.    
    “We have to find a way to stop the trees.”
    Until then, BRRC has to rely on the trash boom, which is not expected to be fully repaired until the end of this week.
    “We are very concerned because the boom is not in place,” Albright added.