Water Blog - 2014 Outfall Screening Blitz Racked Up Successes

News, notes and thoughts from Blue Water Baltimore.



2014 Outfall Screening Blitz Racked Up Successes Sewage

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Cleaner Water, Outstanding Volunteers, and a Successful 2014 Outfall Screening Blitz Season

The 2015 monitoring season for Blue Water Baltimore’s Outfall Screening Blitz (OSB) program is almost here! Before we plunge into this year we’d like to take a moment to reflect on the many successes of the Outfall Screening Blitz Program in 2014.

Over the Past Year

Last year Blue Water Baltimore trained 72 people for the OSB program, who logged a combined 372 volunteer-hours during OSB events. In the field, our volunteers surveyed 23 miles of streams in the Herring Run, Gwynns Falls, Chinquapin Run, Powder Mill Run, and Dead Run.20140919_Austin_Tyler_OSB2

Our volunteers

  • catalogued 195 stormwater outfalls
  • collected 111 dry-weather water quality samples to determine whether or not pollution was present

Forty-nine outfalls tested positive for possible sewage contamination, 20 outfalls tested positive for possible drinking water contamination, and 3 outfalls tested positive for possible washwater contamination. All of these outfalls were reported to local authorities who conducted independent follow-up investigations.

Our Accomplishments

V11-GWN-107Two of our greatest success stories come from the Gwynns Falls watershed, where our volunteer crews discovered two major sewer overflows this summer. In July, we found raw sewage seeping from underneath a sewer pipe retaining wall near Carroll Park Golf Course. Samples collected from the site and an adjacent outfall, along with an independent investigation by Department of Public Works (DPW), confirmed that compromised infrastructure was the culprit.

The City reported that 43,000 gallons of sewage spilled into the Gwynns Falls. In September, we reported a slow drip of sewage coming from a damaged sewer pipe that crosses the Gwynns Falls stream just south of Edmondson Avenue. DPW reports confirmed that more than 17,000 gallons of sewage discharged into the Gwynns Falls. In both cases, DPW remediated the problems and ended the flow of sewage that would have continued completely unnoticed if it weren’t for our volunteers’ efforts.

Dedicated Volunteers

Our volunteers are what make the Outfall Screening Blitz program such a success, and it is through the continual support of volunteers like you that this program will once again find and eliminate major pollution issues in 2015. Join us for our next AAS/OSB training will be held on Saturday, April 18th: sign up today!

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