In 2013 City of Frederick tap water violated federal health standards for carcinogenic chlorination byproducts. Three of the 8 official sampling sites had contaminant levels above what is considered safe for drinking. This health hazard is a result of polluted source water (streams, rivers, lake); it is not due to any deficiency on the part of the Frederick City water treatment. Frederick County has a history of polluted surface water, Frederick City has a history of tap water contamination from the chemicals used to clean the polluted water. The two are naturally linked.
A review of tap water test results submitted to the State of Maryland by Frederick City reveal widespread contamination of city tap water with dangerous levels of chlorination by-products. During the water treatment process chlorine mixes with organic material in the water (soil/sediment) and forms disinfectant byproducts (DBPs) that are known to cause adverse health effectsand are regulated as carcinogens. Two of the most well-studied DBPs, Trihalomethanes (THMs) and Haloacetic Acids (HAAs) are found in Frederick City’s drinking water posing a potential health risk to Frederick City residents. The Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for safe drinking water established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is 80 parts per billion (ppb) for THMs and 60 ppb for HAAs. Read full report here.
Results from a Public Information Act request to the Maryland Department of the Environment for Frederick City water sampling data between 2011-2014 revealed that:
- 22% of the 83 samples collected had greater than the 60 ppb safe drinking water standard (MCL) for HAA
- 8 % of the 83 samples collected had greater than the 80 ppb safe drinking water standard (MCL) for THM.
- 42% of the 83 samples collected had greater than 40 ppb HAA, which is below the MCL yet still in the range associated with health risks like small for gestational age babies when exposed during 3rd trimester
- 11 % of the 83 samples collected had greater than 60 ppb THM, which is below the MCL yet still in the range associated with health risks like birth defects, bladder cancer, stillbirth and small for gestational age babies
These contaminants are the result of organic material in the water reacting with chlorine products used to treat it. The higher the levels of organic pollution in the source water the more difficult it is to treat, and the higher the levels of chlorinated bi-products that are typically found in treated tap water
Lake Linganore and Lower Linganore Creek provide 42.4% of the total surface water sourced for Frederick City’s drinking water . Current erosion levels at the Lake are 5 times the state standard, clearly contributing to Frederick city’s tap water contamination problem. In 2007 the Gardner Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) strengthened the county’s protective stream buffer ordinance so that it reflected the scientific recommendations to protect our source waters, streams and wetlands. In 2013 the Young BOCC reversed that and weakened the county’s protective stream buffer ordinance substantially. Moreover the Young BOCC has approved rezoning 1346 acres for residential development in the Lower Linganore Creek drainage, with 913 additional acres on the agenda for approval this summer. Minimizing stream protection and adding additional pollution to Frederick City’s source water will make a problem that is already five times worse than it should be – even worse for the City. And, we should expect higher levels of these carcinogenic treatment by-products in Frederick City water.
It is worth noting that the safe drinking water standard (MCL) is based on an annual average; Frederick water violated this limit at 3 of 8 sampling sites in 2013. But shorter-term, legal spikes above the MCL, like those mentioned above, may also be associated with serious health consequences, especially during pregnancy. The given percentages above don’t mean illegally high levels, however the spikes, which may be short-term and legal, could still be harmful.
Citizens concerned with water quality, your drinking water, land use
and the environment are sharing trees.
Please donate to our Healthy Streams Frederick County campaign! Learn about the trees and what environmental conditions they like.
Eastern Red Bud
The Potomac Watershed Partnership, in cooperation with the Maryland DNR Forest Service present the Backyard Buffers Program. This program is designed to assist homeowners who have a stream or other waterway on or adjacent to their property to create a streamside buffer of native trees and shrubs. A streamside buffer can create habitat for wildlife, reduce peak winter temperatures, and reduce the amount of sediment, fertilizer, and toxic materials that enter our waterways. Deep-rooted trees and shrubs can also stabilize streambanks, protecting them from erosion…
Backyard Buffer packet reservations are typically taken during the month of March, with bags available for pickup at a designated local site in time for the spring planting season. A limited number of bags are available each year on a first-come first-served basis.
Lawn to Woodland
Did you know that an estimated one million acres of Maryland’s land is currently lawn, unnecessarily costing land owners like you time and money? Through Lawn to Woodland, the Maryland Forest Service is offering to plant trees on designated property owner’s lawn free of charge if they own one to four acres of unused lawn. Unused lawn can be converted to tree cover at no cost to landowners while simultaneously improving the health of our environment.
Are Coops a way to resolve the stormwater BMP maintenance crisis and to allow Watershed Groups to quickly reduce stormwater pollution?
Read about this and more by following the CEDS News Service.
Lake Linganore is the major drinking water source for Frederick City residents.
Based upon a preliminary assessment it is clear that there are highly erodible soils and steep slopes adjacent to the streams and water bodies in the Linganore at Eaglehead PUD. Clearing the land for development exacerbates sediment runoff into Lake Linganore and the little tributaries that feed it. Since Lake Linganore is already experiencing a significant sedimentation problem, allowing development on these soils will make a serious problem even worse.
Methodology for Identifying Highly Erodible Soils and Steep Slopes in the Lake Linganore at Eaglehead PUD
Soils based on National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Soil Survey  within the Lake Linganore at Eaglehead PUD (as revised 5/17/13) identified as being highly erodible are presented.
The most thorough discussion of soil erodibility is in Baltimore County’s “A Methodology for Evaluating Steep Slopes and Erodible Soils Adjacent to Watercourses and Wetlands”. “The ‘High’, ‘Medium’, and ‘Low’ values were assigned to each Map Unit Symbol (MUSYM) in place of K factor values to aid users of this document in determining which soil erodibility scores to use. ‘High’ erodibility is determined based on the narrative ratings for various MUSYM’s. The Web Soil Survey contains a multitude of K factor values for each soil map unit. All of these values were taken into consideration when assigning the ‘High”, ‘Medium’, and ‘Low’ values in Appendix A” (Baltimore County). If the soil is not listed in the Baltimore County Appendix A, then a Kf or Kw factor of 0.32 or greater is considered highly erodible. Steep slopes were identified by overlaying the NRI/FSD prepared in September 2007 and tracing the slopes identified as greater than 15% (spot checked and revised using 10’ County contours). These areas are identified by legend symbol on the attached concept plan.
Here are some resources to help you:
Keep your eye open to the Jefferson Tech Park construction. The workers are in close proximity to a stream flowing through the property. Read more about the development: - The Frederick Gorilla Magazine article by Katherine Heerbrandt on the boondoggle that is the development of the Jefferson Tech Park: http://www.
A report commissioned by Monrovia residents states that a transportation study for a proposed 1,510-home development in the area is riddled with flaws and underestimates the traffic that would be created by the new housing.
The group of residents who oppose the Monrovia Town Center project has sent the analysis to officials with the Maryland State Highway Administration. The group, Residents Against Landsdale Expansion, also requested a meeting with state transportation officials before Frederick County commissioners begin deliberating on the town center project planned near Md. 75 and Md. 80.