2020 Bacteria Sampling

The Federation is proud of the role it plays in keeping residents informed about when and where it is safe to swim. Weekly, all summer long, Marvin Solberg and Diane McBee, two excellent Federation volunteers, spent Wednesday mornings taking water samples at local participating beaches and marinas to be analyzed by Home Land laboratories in Annapolis.

The rains from Hurricane Isaias hammered the river. EPA advises not to swim in water containing above 104 mg/l enterococci. Our twenty sites together averaged 2,392! The bacteria levels this year kept spiking, even at sites that historically have had low levels.

We are not sure how much everyone staying home because of COVID-10 has played role, perhaps putting extra strain on residential septic tanks. This August was the 4th rainiest August in history for the Baltimore Region with 11.8 inches total. Rainfall heavily influences bacteria levels. Anne Arundel County does not advise swimming in our local rivers and creeks within 48 hours of a rain event.

Some communities had a flocks of geese adopt their beaches this summer, which dramatically increased bacteria readings. Some, through a combination of human and canine volunteers, managed to encourage the geese to find a different location and the bacteria levels lessened while others continue to struggle with resident geese.

We cannot provide services like Bacteria Sampling without the generous support of local communities. Knowledge is key in our fight for healthier, cleaner waters.

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