Reporting Water Pollution Just Got Easier

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Blue Water Baltimore’s new Pollution Reporting Form makes it easier than ever to pinpoint the location of pollution using GPS coordinates or a street address.

Hundreds of fish reportedly died in Herring Run and one of its tributaries.
Hundreds of fish reportedly died in Herring Run and one of its tributaries.

In fact, accessing the form with your smartphone will automatically fill in your current GPS coordinates if you are at the site of the pollution incident.

We encourage you to bookmark the form on your phone, so it is always handy.

You can even upload three pictures with your report, and all submissions are forwarded immediately to the pollution investigation team at Blue Water Baltimore.

The new form can be used to report pollution incidents like the fish kill that occurred over the summer in Tiffany Run. While out for a walk in Herring Run Park in late August, a Northeast Baltimore resident became alarmed when she saw fish gasping for breath at the surface of the stream. As a strong chemical odor began filling the air, hundreds of dead fish covered the stream bed where the Herring Run flows beneath Harford Road. Whatever was polluting the stream was suffocating the fish, and the citizen knew who to call, David Flores, Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper.

After the incident was reported via the Pollution Reporting Hotline, a team from Blue Water Baltimore investigated the area and was able to track the fish kill upstream to the outfall at the northernmost point of Tiffany Run where the stream is channeled underground. Emergency personnel from the Baltimore City Department of Public Works were contacted and dispatched to investigate the area, but they were unable to pinpoint the source of the pollution.  Most likely, the culprit was illegal dumping of a chemical into a storm drain upstream that was toxic and lethal to the stream fish.

Our new pollution reporting form can be used to alert Blue Water Baltimore to other types of pollution as well.  This past spring, a citizen in Federal Hill discovered several large blue barrels that had been left in front of a recently renovated townhouse.

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Barrels containing hazardous materials that were removed and properly disposed of before ending up in a neighborhood streams.

These barrels are often used to dispose of the harsh chemicals that remove formstone from the façade of brick homes. Hydrochloric acid chemically disintegrates the lead glaze that bonds the formstone to the brick, and this dangerous acid/lead mixture is supposed to be contained in barrels before being properly disposed of according to EPA regulations.

Since the barrels contain hazardous materials, they must be properly labeled and handled very carefully by trained professionals.

However, it became clear that something was wrong when the barrels went unsecured and unclaimed for over a week on the street.  Upon further inspection, the barrels didn’t have any labels providing company identification, an EPA license number, or even a Maryland State license number – in fact, the only labels on the barrels were from New Jersey.

The citizen acted fast and alerted Blue Water Baltimore to the presence of these barrels and also contacted the EPA, Maryland’s Environmental Crime Unit, and Baltimore City’s Environmental Crimes Unit.  Because of his quick response, the 330 gallons of lead-contaminated acid wash were removed from the sites and properly disposed of before they ended up in one of the neighborhood streams.

Whether it is a fish kill, illegal dumping, a sewage overflow, or an algae bloom, you can report any kind of pollution to Blue Water Baltimore through our online Pollution Reporting Form.

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