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Water Contact Alerts, Water Quality Advisories and Area Closings

Recreational Water and Public Beaches

August 23, 2016 5:06 PM


Current Alerts/Advisories

Water Contact Alerts Currently in Effect: 

A sanitary sewer overflow on July 30, 2016, has resulted in a Water Contact Alert for the Patapsco River, Gwynn Fall until further notice. Direct contact with these waters should be minimized or avoided until the Alert is lifted. Normal precautions such as avoiding contact with open cuts or wounds, and washing any exposed body areas thoroughly with soap and water, and especially before eating, should be followed if water contact is necessary.


Beach Area Closures:


Water Quality Advisories Currently in Effect:

  • A water quality advisory for Patapsco River Fresh Water locations in Baltimore County at Baltimore Annapolis Road westward to Hammonds Ferry Road remains in effect until further notice.

Alert/Advisory Procedures

The Baltimore County Department of Health, Environmental Health Services (EHS) closely monitors and samples beach areas for water quality, posts sampling results, and issues beach closure notices, Water Contact Alerts and Water Quality Advisories.

When recreational water conditions exceed standards and sewage contamination is suspected or evident,sampling will occur and the results will be posted online, Water Contact Alerts are issued or public bathing beaches are closed. Contaminated conditions can be produced by storm water run-off from severe storms, sanitary sewage overflows, or marine accidents. After the storms have passed, local wind and tide conditions can result in the intermittent re-intensification of those conditions for extended periods in tidal waters. When water quality parameters are generally elevated or abnormal, but no sewage contamination is present, a Water Quality Advisory will be issued.

Recreational water users are reminded:

  • Be observant for cloudy or discolored water in streams, rivers, or the bay, and of waters that are laden with debris. Water quality may have been negatively impacted.

  • Do not drink stream water.

  • Avoid contact with potentially contaminated water if you have open cuts or bandaged wounds. If accidental contact with contaminated water occurs, wash any damaged skin areas as soon as possible.

  • Minimize hand to mouth contact and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before eating.


Revised August 8, 2016        

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