The following appeared on Anne Arundel Patch earlier today.
Continued dry weather is keeping our swimming areas cleaner and safer than they've been all summer! And the good news is it looks like that could continue through much of Labor Day weekend.
Only four private swimming areas in the mid-county region tested unsafe because of high bacteria counts this week:
Glen Isle "� 544
Pine Whiff "� 198
Spring Lake/Beards Creek "� 116
Cadle Creek Community Dock "� 216
The acceptable level of enterococci bacteria is 104 or fewer bacteria colonies per 100 milliliters of water.
Enterococci are bacteria that are found in the GI tract of warm-blooded animals, which includes all birds and mammals. Their presence in surface water indicates recent contamination with fecal waste.
Rainwater washes contaminants such as dog waste, waste from leaking septics and wildlife waste from the landscape. Heavy rains also cause occasional sewage overflows and spills that also contribute bacteria.
Both the county health department and a network of volunteers test more than 100 public beaches and other areas around the county for bacteria. The results from the county tests are put online here, and for the volunteer tests here for Severn and Magothy rivers, here for South River, and here for Rhode/West River. All the sites listed above were tested by Watershed Stewards.
Operation Clearwater volunteers who test many private swimming areas on the Severn and Magothy rivers did not report their findings this week.
Tests, which usually are conducted mid-week, are really most useful for only a few days. Water quality can improve or degrade fairly quickly depending on whether it has rained. For that reason the county health department cautions residents to avoid swimming or direct contact with any "natural" water (swimming pools don't count) for 48 hours after a rain of inch or more.
--Tom Zolper, CBF's Maryland Communications Coordinator