Gunpowder River Water Quality June 2, 2021 Update

Gunpowder Riverkeeper is proud to provide up-to-date water quality information to residents of Baltimore and Harford counties along the Gunpowder and Bush River Watersheds. 

In partnership with Community Environmental Laboratories, an EPA-certified water testing laboratory located in Harford County, we now have the capacity to sample various access points along the rivers for E. Coli levels. Our water monitoring and mapping help inform the public on where they can recreate safely along the Rivers. This information may serve as indicators for possible stormwater or point-source pollution impacting public health. 

The EPA’s Safe Swimming Criteria for Maximum Probable number of E. Coli is 126 MPN (geometric mean) and 235 MPN (single sample).

On June 2nd, Gunpowder Riverkeeper sampled Foster’s Branch, Town Creek and the point at Mariner’s Point Park. The Foster’s Branch sample was the lowest at 30 MPN and The Point was at 130 MPN.

However, Town Creek was measured at 500 MPN. 

According to the Maryland Department of the Environment’s brief on the EPA’s water quality criteria, at the EPA’s Safe Swimming threshold of 126 MPN (geometric mean) / 235 MPN (single sample), it is estimated that 36 individuals out of 1000 swimmers may contract a water-borne gastroenteritis illness. When our samples indicate E. Coli counts over the EPA’s criteria, it is recommended that the public avoid contact with the water within that area of the Gunpowder River until further sampling is conducted.

For additional water quality monitoring in the Gunpowder, Little Gunpowder, Bird and Bush Watersheds:

Harford County Health Department Recreational Water Sampling

Baltimore County Department of Health Water Sampling

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