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Keyword: pollution

Short Documentary Spotlights the County’s Storm Drain Monitoring Efforts

County Executive Johnny Olszewski teamed up with County natural resource specialists and a utilities crew to locate the source of waterway contaminants flowing through the County’s storm drain system into a local stream. Using field testing and remote-controlled pipeline cameras, Olszewski and his fellow pollution detectives take viewers inside a crucial but rarely credited part of our local water cycle—the storm drain system.

His field trip is captured in a short documentary entitled “Watershed Moments—Pollution Detectives.” The five-minute video shows footage from inside the underground storm drain pipelines, and spotlights the County’s proactive storm drain monitoring program and pollution prevention efforts. It presents the importance of keeping storm drains clean, as they feed directly into local streams, and suggests ways that residents can be involved in this objective

“Most people have no idea that storm drains flow directly into nearby streams with limited or no filtering or treatment,” Olszewski said. “Our motto is ‘only rain down the drain,’ and if you see or smell possible pollution in a stream, please report it to the County so we can investigate.”

The video is the second episode in the “Watershed Moments” series and was produced by the Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability in collaboration with the Baltimore County Department of Public Works Bureau of Utilities and Comcast Cablevision. It is posted on the County’s website, and can be viewed and shared on Youtube.

By Dave Lykens, Acting Director
Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability

County environmental officials can’t be everywhere, so we appreciate it when people let us know when they see (or smell) something that doesn’t seem right to them. Reports from the public are a great compliment to our water quality monitoring.

The head of a stream.

Know Who to Call

If you see an environmental emergency, call one of the following 24-hour emergency lines:

  • Department of Public Works’ Bureau of Utilities
    Call 410-887-7415 to report sewage overflows from a manhole, pumping station or elsewhere.
  • Maryland Department of the Environment’s Emergency Response Division
    Call 1-866-633-4686 if you come across evidence of a chemical spill or a fish kill.
  • Baltimore County 911 Emergency
    Call 911 to immediately report a dangerous or potentially life-threatening situation. You can also call 911 if you see someone illegally dumping trash and debris.

Report Pollution Online

Piles of garbage bags.

To report less time-critical issues, such as a pile of dumped trash, wash water or other suspicious liquids flowing into a storm drain or stream, contact our Watershed Managers. You can report pollution online or by calling 410-887-5683 during regular business hours (between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.) on weekdays.

Thousands of Volunteers Removed Tons of Litter in 15-minute Clean-ups

At an awards ceremony this morning at Battle Monument School in Dundalk, students and staff were excited to learn that their school won the grand prize, a $3,000 environmental grant in this year’s Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge. County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Debbie Phelps, Executive Director of the Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools, announced that thirteen Baltimore County public schools were winners in this program that resulted in more than 4,900 volunteers picking up some 4,679 bags of litter in 359 litter clean-ups around the County over the past year.

Battle Monument students and staff celebrate their Clean Green 15 victoryCounty Executive Kamenetz encouraged the audience of students and faculty to think about where litter ends up. “The rain washes it into the storm drains, into our streams, and eventually to the Chesapeake Bay,” he said. “Litter not only looks bad in our neighborhoods, it also pollutes our waterways – and that’s bad for wildlife, fishermen, boaters and the environment.”


Clean Green 15 Results:Tons of Litter Collected, Thousands of Grant Dollars Distributed to Schools!

The 2017 program resulted in more than 4,900 volunteers picking up some 4,679 bags of litter in 359 litter clean-ups around the County over the past year.

In addition to litter, Clean Green 15 volunteers collected many tons of bulk trash items from parks, streambanks, schoolyards and other locations around Baltimore County. Clean-ups included schoolchildren as well as community-based volunteer activity.

Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge Winning Schools – 2017




Grand Prize

$3,000 grant

Battle Monument School

1st Place ES

$1,500 grant

Reisterstown Elementary School

2nd Place ES

$500 grant

Grange Elementary School

1st Place MS

$1,500 grant

General John Stricker Middle School

2nd Place MS

$500 grant

Perry Hall Middle School

1st Place HS

$1,500 grant

Dulaney High School

2nd Place HS

$500 grant

Sparrows Point High School




Bear Creek Elementary School




Edgemere Elementary School




Milbrook Elementary School




Westowne Elementary School




Colgate Elementary School




Charlesmont Elementary School


Clean Green 15 Now Underway for Next Year

In addition to awarding prizes to the winning schools from this year, Kamenetz also announced that the Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge is on for next year, with groups eligible to log clean-ups from May 1, 2017 through April 30, 2019 for consideration in next year’s awards. “We delighted to see the enthusiasm for the Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge,” Kamenetz said.

Through this program, BCPS schools and their community supporters conducted quick 15-minute litter clean-ups and competed from last May through this April to see which school communities could log the most clean-ups. The program is open to any group, including school-based groups, places of worship, youth groups, civic or community groups, scout troops, sport teams, businesses or other organizations that wish to help clean up their community. Groups were asked to report their clean-ups on the BCPS website.

Clean Green Collaboration

Through the Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge, the Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools awarded grants to the top winning schools to fund school-based instructional projects emphasizing the theme of environmental literacy.  Examples could include installing a reading garden or rain garden, planting trees, diverting downspouts, or environmental education projects. Six schools won Honorable Mention awards and received iPads and participating schools will receive a tree to be planted in their schoolyard.  

“The Clean Green 15 Challenge is a great, practical way for our students to learn about the environment at the same time as they demonstrate their pride in their schools and communities,” said BCPS Superintendent Dr. S. Dallas Dance.

This is the fourth year for the challenge, which is a collaboration of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability (EPS), Baltimore County Public Schools and the Education Foundation of Baltimore County. This year’s sponsors include Wheelabrator Technologies, Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability and Tradepoint Atlantic.

“Litter is not just unsightly, it harms wildlife and our environment,” said Council Chair Tom Quirk. “What I like about Clean Green 15 is that it gets students involved so they can make a real difference and understand that it’s not okay to litter.”

Photos from today's awards ceremony are available at Feel free to share!

Revised September 11, 2017