The following appeared on AnnapolisPatch yesterday.
Spotty thunder storms earlier this week washed enough pollution into some area creeks and rivers to make for unsafe swimming and other recreational activities. Click here for a Google map of the bad water spots.
Overall, dry weather continues in Anne Arundel County, keeping many public swimming areas and creeks and rivers healthy enough for summer fun.
But weather reports as of Friday show a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms Saturday and Sunday so all bets are off when that happens. Runoff from storms carries human and animal waste into nearby streams, spiking bacteria levels. County and state officials caution not to come into contact with water for 48 hours after a significant storm.
So here’s the list of places around the area where storms hit and raised bacteria levels this week. Remember, the water tests were conducted Wednesday, so bacteria levels are likely to have fallen by the weekend – UNLESS more thunderstorms roll through. Again click here if you want to look at the Google map of the places:
Old Severna Park -728
Hopkins Creek – 264
Brown’s Pond – 300
Back Creek – 112
Bembe Beach – 298
Mill Creek – 1404
Dividing Creek – 900
Pine Wiff – 188
Wilelinor – 140
Holly Hills – 238
The acceptable level for swimming and other direct water contact is determined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Maryland Department of the Environment and the Anne Arundel County Department of Health. For bodies of water that the Department samples weekly and biweekly, the acceptable level of enterococci bacteria is 104 or fewer bacteria colonies per 100 milliliters of water. For areas that are sampled monthly, the acceptable level is 158 or fewer colonies per 100 milliliters. See Water Quality Fact Sheet. All the spots on the list above exceed safety levels.
Both the county health department and a network of volunteers test over 100 public beaches and other areas around the county for bacteria. The results from the county tests are put online here, and for the volunteer tests here for Severn and Magothy rivers, here for South River, and here for Rhode/West River. All the sites listed above were tested by Watershed Stewards.
Have fun, stay safe.
Maryland Communications Coordinator
Chesapeake Bay Foundation