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.

 

 

 

Free trees – fact sheets and planting guides

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.

River Birch

River Birch

River Birch Fact Sheet and Planting Guide

Redosier Dogwood
Fact Sheet and Planting GuideRedosier Dogwood

 

 

 

 

 

Silky Dogwood

Silky Dogwood

Silky DogwoodSilky DogwoodSilky Dogwood Fact Sheet and Planting Guide

Eastern Red Bud

Eastern Redbud

Eastern Red Bud

 

 

 

Fact Sheet and Planting Guide

 

 

 

White Pine

White Pine 

Fact Sheet and Planting Guide

 

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) 

Construction causing soil to flow into a stream? what to do!

Here are some resources to help you:

- A YouTube video of a workshop presented a month or so ago by Richard Klein of Community & Environmental Defense Services about the big six watershed pollution sources (construction, storm water, new development, pasture, cropland, point sources) and how citizen organizations can tackle them: http://youtu.be/mmERdOw0kCk
- Potomac Riverkeeper’s Get the Dirt Out project: http://potomacriverkeeper.org/get-dirt-out
- To report sediment control problems in Frederick County (Rick Masser): 301 600 3507
Jefferson Tech Park ground breaking

Jefferson Tech Park ground breaking

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.frederickgorilla.com/sweet-deal-or-foul-play

CLEANWATER_LINGANORE, Inc forms to put stream health in Linganore on red alert!

Email the group at info@cleanwater-linganore.org

FINAL CLEANWATER_LINGANORE (1)

 

FINAL CLEANWATER_LINGANORE (2)

9/5/13 LTE: Environmental Good Stewardship

Environmental good citizenship

Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013 2:00 am

While Farrell Keough makes some good points on environmental decision-making authority in his Aug. 19 letter to the editor, I would add that the general public can also contribute to making our environment cleaner and healthier.

Recently I learned about a Friends of Frederick County project that engages citizens to take a look at streams and their condition (where visible, from public roads); if there is a problem with the stream such as trash, an erosive hillside, farming up to the stream bank or cows in the creek, the individual snaps a photo and sends it in.  Read the rest.

Register NOW to adopt a grid – 4 hours/year of volunteer time ONLY

DOWNLOAD REGISTRATION FORM HERE!

It’s easy, it’s fun, it’s relaxing and only requires 4 hours of your time each year.  Moreover the help you give IS SO VERY IMPORTANT to collective efforts of many people and organizations working to help clean up our waters in Frederick County.

There is cause for concern about our streams’ health in Frederick County.  You can help change that.  Please start now.

Read more.  REGISTER NOW!

Thank you.

FNP: New Partners in County Stream Improvement

New partners in county stream improvement

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New partners in county stream improvement

For The Frederick News-Post | Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 2:00 am

John Smucker recently partnered with the Potomac Conservancy as part of a project to remove a fish barrier, an outmoded dam and control bank erosion in Tuscarora Creek. He planted 55 native hardwood trees along with cocoa matts. Brook Hill United Methodist Church helped complete the field and leg work.

Ray Locke, coordinator of the Friends of Frederick County Clean Streams Initiative, is seeking to use similar techniques to improve the health of other streams in Frederick County. Frederick County has 20 different watersheds of which 11 are in poor condition. He is looking for groups to Adopt-A-Grid and install erosion stabilizers to improve water quality.  Read the full story.

Email:  friends@friendsoffrederickcounty or ray_locke@hotmail.com to adopt a grid.

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

 

New Market reconsiders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read entire article here.