Demands for cleaner drinking water in Baltimore City and County compelled Catonsville banker and philanthropist Victor G. Bloede to organize and Baltimore County Water & Electric Company in 1909.
In 1910, Bloede's company purchased the abandoned Avalon Iron & Nail Works and build a water filtration plant on the site. A large brick building housed the pumping machinary, and concrete holding ponds settle dirt and debris out of the ater. The remnants of the holding ponds are still visible. Water purified at the filtration plant was pumped into southwestern Batlimore City and County.
Bloede organized his company at a time when people were learning the value of natural resource conservation. Following the industrial revolution, resources were scarce. Citizens needed clean drinking water, industries needed power, towns were turning to water-generated electricity. Pollution, erosion, and sedimentation threatened regular clean water supply.
Fortunately, the Maryland Forestry Board organized in 1906 to help address these issues. Patapsco Forest Resever, which became Patapsco Valley State Park, began in 1907 with goals to plant trees and reforest the reverbanks. Tree roots hold soil in place, reducing erosion and sedimentation. Trees also filter water and absorb pullutants that run into the river with rainwater.
People today still rely upon the Patapsco River for clean drinking water. Baltimore residents drink water from the river collected in Liberty Reservoir.
Text with lower left photo: A view of Liberty Dam and Reservoir which supplies fresh water for Baltimore County.