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Many of the history books that I have read concerning Baltimore, all point to the Great Fire as the reason for new water and sewer systems. But as I read thru the records of the Commissioners and Engineer’s Annual Reports, it shows that the need for new sewage works was on the minds of every Baltimorean as early as 1815. With the increase of the water supply, from the Gunpowder River in 1881, there was an enormous amount of waste – cesspools and privies overflowed so badly that the Baltimore Harbor became a disgrace.

Here is a view of the 1904 fire in Baltimore: Courtesy of the DPW Museum and the Peale Museum