Thursday 17 August 2017

Media Statement: Waterkeepers Chesapeake Asks MDE to Take Closer Look at Polluted Rivers in Maryland

Waterkeepers Chesapeake Asks MDE to Take Closer Look at Polluted Rivers in Maryland

Comments Issued on 2016 Report of Surface Water Quality  

Waterkeepers Chesapeake, along with nine independent Riverkeeper organizations, asked the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to look at a number of river and stream segments in the state to assess and quantify the level of pollution associated with each waterway. Each of the rivers and streams included in the MDE report, “Maryland’s Draft 2016 Integrated Report of Surface Water Quality” had previously been isolated as needing coverage under the Bay TMDL, or Total Maximum Daily Load, the so-called “pollution diet,” a blueprint for cleaning the Chesapeake Bay.

In previous years, some of the segments were listed as Category 5, the most impaired waterways. Under provisions of the Clean Water Act, these river and streams should have been assigned a TMDL for cleanup. The list includes Miles River, Jones Falls, Gwynns Falls, Gunpowder River, Chester River, Potomac River, Susquehanna River, West River, Pocomoke River, Wicomico River, Choptank River, Middle River, Back River, Patapsco River, Baltimore Harbor, Magothy River, Severn River, South River, West River, Patuxent River, St. Mary’s River, Mattawoman Creek, Piscataway Creek, Anacostia River, Monocacy River, Youghiogheny River and a few others. 

In addition, MDE has not followed up on river segments listed as Category 3 (insufficient information on water quality standards) and Category 4 (impaired or threatened).

Betsy Nicholas, Executive Director of Waterkeepers Chesapeake, said “we need to know that MDE is taking the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay seriously. Some of these rivers serve residents as the source of drinking water, while nearly all flow into the Bay. Impairment of any stream segment is a serious threat to clean water.”  

For more information or to receive copies of the comments, contact Mitchelle Stephenson, Waterkeepers Chesapeake (Mitchelle *at* WaterkeepersChesapeake.org).