Polluted county streams to blame for City’s drinking water contamination

Front page Polluted Source WaterIn 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

MAP Frederick_Monitoring

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.MAP-  Development Plans Including Monrovia

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.

 

 

 

CEDS News Service: an opportunity to address storm water pollution and management

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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.

Citizens lose again in taxpayers v BOCC: Frederick City drinking water soon to be dirtier

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.

 MAP linganore steep slopes erodible soils

 

 

 

 

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 [1] 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”[2].   “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.

 


[1] Soil Survey Staff, Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Web Soil Survey. Available online athttp://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/. Accessed [12/18/2013].
[2] Baltimore County, “A Methodology for Evaluating Steep Slopes and Erodible Soils Adjacent to Watercourses and Wetlands” http://resources.baltimorecountymd.gov/Documents/Environment/eir/steepslopeerodiblesoilsevaluation.pdf (accessed 12/18/2013) 

9/5/13 Glendening sees discrepancy between houses we are building and the type buyers want

Governor Glendening described exactly what FoFC has been saying.  The infrastructure needs for a community that is more dense and walkable is less.  And that there is a disconnect between what will sell and what we are building in Frederick County.  FoFC inserted the photos below (they are not part of the FNP article).

Glendening describes mismatch between housing supply, demand

By Bethany Rodgers News-Post Staff | Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013 2:00 am

The American dream is changing, and community design must keep up with it, former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening told a Frederick group Wednesday.

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Downtown Frederick City, a place to live, work and play.

In a talk focused on smart growth, Glendening said an increasing number of people are eschewing large, single-family houses in the suburbs and instead settling in dense, walkable communities. However, there’s a growing disconnect between the types of housing people want and what’s available on the market, he said.

“Keeping our downtowns strong and keeping our communities economically vibrant in the long term will require a different approach to growth than we have been doing for the last 60 years,” he said during the event at Frederick City Hall.

Two population trends are driving changes in the types of housing people want. For one thing, the nation’s senior population is on the rise, and by the year 2030, almost one in five Americans will be older than 65, Glendening said. Increasingly, older Americans are less inclined to head to Florida or a nursing home upon retirement and are more interested in aging in place. Seniors are now looking for communities where they wouldn’t have to drive and where they’re near stores, activities and health care services.

A large millennial population, made up of people between the ages of 18 and 30, is also shaping the housing needs of the future, Glendening said. These people are starting families later and are driving less, he said. The millennial generation tends to like small-lot homes or attached dwellings that are close to their workplaces and served by transit systems.

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Demand is waning for this typical strip mall in a non-walkable community.

In addition, rather than choosing their place of residence based on a job, an increasing number of these individuals are selecting the communities they like and then seeking employment in those areas.  Read the story…

8/24/13 FNP: New Market reconsiders annexation plans

 

New Market reconsiders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read entire article here.

Stormwater audit exposes the importance of inspectors and clean water enforcement!

 A June 7, 2013 email note from Richard Klein, Community and Environmental Defense Services

An October, 2011 Audit of the Severn River watershed revealed that hundreds of stormwater ponds and other practices had failed due to a lack of maintenance.  The Audit then uncovered the cause – a 2001 decision by Anne Arundel County to severely cut-back stormwater staff from seven inspectors to one! 

As a result of diminished inspections little maintenance has been performed and stormwater benefits steadily declined.  In the Severn River watershed alone the stormwater failures have allowed 25,000 pounds of nutrients to needlessly enter the waterway each year.  In fact, funding stormwater inspection programs is THE most cost-effective use of public dollars to minimize stormwater pollution releases into our waterways.

Since the 2011 Audit was released it has served to greatly expand public awareness of the importance of clean water law enforcement.  Nothing illustrates this better than the recent announcement that the County will quadruple their stormwater inspection staff.

 

Watershed Audit Quickest, Cheapest Way To Improve Water Quality

Through the CEDS Watershed Audit all existing activities are evaluated for compliance with Clean Water laws.  Due to many years of underfunded enforcement budgets, large volumes of pollution are entering our waterways from sources no longer in compliance with these laws.  A typical watershed is about 70 square miles in size and can be audited by a few volunteers or staff in no more than a week.  The Audit procedures are easy to learn and cost very little.  For further detail on Watershed Audits visitceds.org/audit.  To see if a compliance problem exists in your watershed call 1-800-773-4571 or simply reply to this message to schedule a no-cost initial Audit

 

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Richard Klein

Community & Environmental Defense Services

811 Crystal Palace Court

Owings Mills, MD  21117

443-421-5964

 

Discussion of public/private partnerships and who will pay for infrastructure?

Join the discussion group and ask questions, share you views and concerns!

Click here.

3/31/13 Citizen makes good planning points

Voting for a different approach to planning

Originally published March 31, 2013 in Frederick News Posthttp://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/opinion/display_lte.htm?storyid=148832#.UVzP3qtAS9c

While the city of Frederick’s small area planning effort achieves a positive force for local residents to share community goals and hopefully incorporate those objectives into a planning process generally dominated by private interests, they are but a stepping stone towards the kind of holistic planning efforts that make a city great and sustain its economic vitality and quality of life.

We like to talk a lot about building the future while we actually approve plans that either fit the past or stamp approval on a vision that is more dumb density than smart growth. While, like Josh Bokee, I admire the vision of residents in the small area plans of the Golden Mile and East Frederick Rising, these imagined benefits are far removed from their affects in the face of market realities.

 

And while they sleep soundly on opposite sides of town, the city engages in slash and burn quality of life by retail dominance on the north end of town. Clemson Corner offered better design with a tree-lined front to Md. 26, and they chose what I call the “great wall of Frederick.” Market Square juxtaposes three-story, narrow townhouses against parking for a strip mall. Both contribute to long-term traffic failures in the north end. The shifting focus around town also puts a drag on resources for both further private market investments on the sides of town, while also draining the municipality with infrastructure costs. Where is the balance? Where is the vision that benefits all?

 

What has occurred is we’ve weakened the standards for growth that fits alongside residential neighborhoods via zoning by devising this concept called mixed-use zoning. Mixed use is like scrambled eggs. You can’t tell one place apart from another, and it all ends up looking like a tangle of dense residential with retail and parking amenities.

 

Smart growth was supposed to be a tradeoff between density and green spaces, a sustainable community of walking and biking, not auto-centric stores and concrete alleys with next to no yard space.

 

I’d rather see us guide our development with design standards than a zoning that cans residents like sardines. The city long ago did some of its best planning vision with the East Street extension studies. The report justified community design standards with economic benefits.

 

Our current planning mainly counts up extra tax dollars, which then get thrown into projects like Carroll Creek and a downtown hotel, rather than quality of life improvements, like a Baker-type park on the east side. We seem to be on track to keep spending tax dollars to benefit bad development, rather than craft a place of real value and community vision.

You can bet I’ll be voting for something different.

 

Jack Lynch

writes from Frederick

Is poorly planned growth what you wanted from your county leaders?

The Frederick County Commissioners have approved or are discussing approval of over 7000 new dwellings, in many cases without appropriate plans for schools, roads, emergency services and other key infrastructure. We believe that our public officials should follow existing laws; in a growing number of cases that is not happening.

FoFC is using the option of last resort to protect your quality of life: litigation. As recently quoted in the Frederick News Post “We turned to the courts after finding that citizen concerns were ridiculed and dismissed …These lawsuits will determine whether the county follows state law, whether growth proceeds at a reasoned pace that does not increase taxes, traffic, school overcrowding and water and air pollution.”over 7000 new dwellings proposed or approved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FoFC is currently challenging:

* Crum and Thatcher (Frederick City north)

* New Market Municipal Growth Element in Maryland Court of Special Appeals(read letter from FoFC)

* Frederick City Comprehensive Plan in Frederick County Circuit Court

* Landsdale (Monrovia) at the Board of Appeals

* Landsdale Storm Water Management Administrative Waiver at the Board of Appeals, March 28, 2013 7pm

Landsdale in Frederick County Circuit Court

* Jefferson Technology Park at the Board of Appeals

* Frederick County’s 2012 Comprehensive Rezoning in the Frederick County Circuit Court

 

If school overcrowding is your concern, it is with good reason. Read this published letter from one Monrovia citizen who gives us the facts.

 

Watch the youtube: Plan for the Valleys, Baltimore County, receives national planning award

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7fKz6bsOjU