Sewage Overflows Feed a Garden of Troubles
By Tom Pelton (WYPR, 9/30/2014)
On a road in Baltimore, from a gap in the pavement near a manhole cover, grows a tomato plant. Green roma tomatoes dangle like Christmas tree bulbs strangely out of place beside a steel guard rail. Nearby, just west of Falls Road near the Baltimore Streetcar Museum, several more unruly tomatoes and a squash plant rise and twist amid sewage smells beside an eroded section of the Jones Falls bike trail. David Flores, the Baltimore Harborkeeper, has a theory about the origin of this well-fertilized garden flourishing on the banks of the Jones Falls. It grows out of sewage.
“It’s not guerrilla gardening. It’s not some intrepid city dweller who is planting tomatoes and squash plants in open spaces here and there,” Flores said. “These are actually seeds that entered into sanitary sewer system. And because of these sewer overflows, just a couple of feet away, the seeds have come up out of the sewer system and deposited here in this grassy area next to river and germinated and grew tomatoes that I wouldn’t touch let alone eat.”
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