FOSC Chem/Bio WQ Monitoring Summary
November 2017

This is a brief summary of our November 2017 results from chemical and bacterial monitoring at various locations along Sligo Creek.

Bennington Drive
Volume was moderate at SA 10 with few suds. Salinity/TDS/conductivity were all slightly higher than usual for this time of year. Occasional small suds in current. Chlorine levels were back up, as was ammonia-N (0.26 mg/L). Surfactants level was very high (6.1 ppm), sound levels were down from prior readings (to 43 dB) and air readings were quite clean as usual. Coliform levels were down substantially from October's reading, but E. Coli tripled. Our snails appear to be gone for the season. Outfall had maroon algae, which i common here. Bird activity was high. Almost no silt or dirt in receiving pool - unusually clean, sandy bottom.

Wayne Avenue
Ammonia-N edged up to the 0.50 mg/L mark. Salinity, pH and TDS were all slightly below fall averages. Chlorine quite elevated (.08 ppm total chlorine), surfactants also extraordinarily high (6.3 ppm LAS). Steady stream of suds down main channel was clearly visible. Light tan algae on outfall's final 2 feet. Coliform levels extremely high - TNTC (too numerous to count) About 20 fish, all 4 to 8 inches long above leaf litter of receiving pool. Moderate flow in channel. AQ readings slightly higher (worse) than at Bennington, but still within the safe/excellent range. Noise level averaged about 57 dB. No birds seen.

Fleetwood Terrace (main channel)
Temperature was noticeably lower than at outfalls. Surfactants were much higher than usual here as well (3.9 ppm). Free and total chlorine were lower than recent readings (.01 and .02 ppm, respectively). Ammonia-N ticked down to 0.14 mg/L and conductivity, TDS and salinity all remain fairly low. Coliform levels have dropped substantially from mid-summer readings (now 600EC/1500TC). No aquatic life visible, but a great blue heron appears to have made the newly-built seep one of its hunting grounds. Algae covering the rocky substrate, still about 3 to 9 inches long. Moderate flow in channel, currently impeded by a branch and leaf dam that has raised the water level behind it by about 4 inches. PM readings excellent, dB again at 52.5.

Maple Avenue
Pool appeared to have received small detergent discharge just before arrival. Then a 30-minute slug of sediment from 01A outfall began during monitoring. Steady stream of suspended, light tan sediment that clouded the pool brown and filled half the receiving apron. This same light tan colored sediment is clearly visible all across the apron, suggesting this is not an isolated incident. Flow volume moderately strong in 01A and 01B, no flow in 01C. Ammonia-N levels were about double October's (0.14 and 0.34 mg/L, respectively). Salinity, TDS and conductivity levels were low. Water level in pool was moderate, outfall apron cracks have grown and it continues to tip into the receiving pool. Chlorine levels in KE01A were quite low, but sky high in KE01B (.07 free chorine, .30 total chlorine). Surfactants were high in both outfalls as well, particularly KE01A (3.7ppm). Raccoon tracks in iron algae of KE01A only. A fair amount of plastic trash, leaf dam in 01B. PM AQ levels were excellent, noise levels at about 57 dB, which is normal here.

Park Ritchie
No report made.

On the chemical readings, surfactants (soaps/detergents) everywhere and sediment at Maple Avenue are the big surprises. On the biological side, as always, Wayne Avenue produces the highest Coliform readings, and we also saw a big spike in the KE01A numbers at Maple Ave in TKPK. Bennington was a mixed bag and Fleetwood's numbers were a step in the right direction. Please let me know if you have any questions about this month's chemical or Coliform readings. As always, I will share this with Steve Martin at DEP as well.

You can view previous WQ Monitoring Summary reports here:

Results from
Periodic Outfall Monitoring
Along Sligo Creek

FoSC and the Center for Watershed Protection (CWP) Apply Scientific Testing to Improve Sligo Creek

Several outfalls into Sligo Creek are tested periodically by volunteer Pat Ratkowski. Pat tests for ammonia, temperature, and pH to discover illicit discharge problems which may then be reported to the County. An illicit discharge detection and elimination (IDDE) program is a requirement of the County’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer (MS4) permit. Recent research conducted by the Center for Watershed Protection (CWP) in Sligo Creek and Baltimore City has indicated that illicit discharges are a much greater contributor of nutrient and bacteria pollution than was previously known. Their elimination can help make significant progress towards meeting local and Bay-wide total maximum daily loads (TMDLs). CWP has produced national guidance for developing and implementing IDDE programs, which includes identification of the most appropriate parameters to detect illicit discharges, many of which have sewage components. Volunteers can test for these recommended parameters at outfalls to help find illicit discharges and monitor problematic outfalls over time.

Outfall Photos December 2014

Map of Outfall Monitoring Sites