On Saturday, August 29, a small group of volunteers conducted an Outfall Screening Blitz (OSB) in the Roland Run, a tributary to the Jones Falls that flows through south central Baltimore County. Volunteers waded through a half-mile section of the stream that runs between Morris Avenue and I-695. They collected water quality samples from two stormwater outfall pipes that were discharging water, even though it hadn’t rained in more than 48 hours.
Cause of the Outfalls
Based on the results of our chemical tests, one of the samples collected near the I-695 overpass was probably groundwater—a harmless and natural discharge. However, we determined that the second outfall, near Seminary Avenue, was most likely sewage-contaminated. The sample had a strong sewage smell and a high ammonia content, both telltale signs of sewage contamination.
Once we reported this sewage contaminated outfall to the Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability, they promptly initiated a follow-up investigation in order to fix the problem. Thanks to the hard work of our OSB volunteers, the Roland Run just got a little bit cleaner.
If you would like to learn more about illicit discharges and join our efforts in finding and eliminating pollution like this throughout the Baltimore region, please sign up for our next Outfall Screening Blitz training event on Saturday, October 10.