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Montebello Water Filtration Plant - I

Operation & Maintenance

3900 Hillen Rd, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA

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Project Overview
Project Name: Montebello Water Filtration Plant - I
Date Completed: 1915
Location: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Project Status: Operation & Maintenance
Project Type: Water/Environmental
Project Subtype: Drinking Water

Project Tags: water treatment Historic


Project Team

Disciplines That Worked on Project

Civil Engineer: Water (Drinking water treatment)

Project Details
About this project
Baltimore City in the 1800s suffered from epidemic typhoid, cholera, and dysentery. The Montebello Water Filtration Plant I was completed in 1915 and significantly improved the health of the city’s residents. The Montebello Water Filtration Plant I was Baltimore's first water filtration plant and was the second largest of its type in the nation.

In the 1800s, people incorrectly thought diseases spread through “bad air”. They thought air vapors were produced by bacterial microorganisms in bad water and rotting food. This was known as the miasma theory of contamination. To address this problem, new houses in Baltimore were constructed on elevated land in the Montebello, Clifton and Belvedere regions which had their own water supply.

In the late 1800s, slow sand filtration (SSF) was routinely used in Europe to clean water. SSF separates particulate solids from the water, which produced high quality water that is free of pathogens. In 1893, SSF was successfully used by chemist Allen Hazen in Massachusetts. The SSF significantly reduced the amount of typhoid for people using the treated water. Therefore, Baltimore decided to construct the Montebello Water Filtration Plant I, which used SSF. The plant was completed in 1915. It later used rapid sand filtration (RSF).

Today the Montebello Water Filtration Plant I is one of the three major municipal water filtration plants in Baltimore providing clean water to 1.8 million residents in Baltimore city, parts of Baltimore, Howard and Anne Arundel counties. The other plants are Montebello Water Filtration Plant II and Ashburton Filtration Plant. Water for the Montebello Water Filtration Plant I comes from the Loch Raven Reservoir. The plant new has two rapid mix chambers, four flocculators, four sedimentation basins, and 32 rapid sand filters.

Who benefits from this project, and how?
Before the Montebello Water Filtration Plant, many people in Baltimore City got sick and died from typhoid, cholera, and dysentery. Because of this, and other, water treatment plants, people in Baltimore City don't have to worry about these diseases.
What's unique about this project?
The Montebello Water Filtration Plant I was Baltimore's first water filtration plant and it was the second largest of its type in the nation. The plant is used by the Maryland Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) through tours to celebrate Earth Day.

Funding & Costs
Funding source: Public



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