Watershed Management and Monitoring aims to eliminate illicit water pollution by receiving and investigating pollution reports and referring environmental emergencies and concerns to appropriate authorities. A concern is a problem that could have negative impacts on the environment, such as:
- Chemical spills
- Discharging wash water to a storm drain
- Fish kills
- Sewage overflows
- Stream or stormwater that smells or looks bad
- Trash dumping
Citizen reports of environmental problems are a great complement to regular monitoring programs. Citizens can provide immediate local information that increases the chance of eliminating illicit connections to pipes in the storm drain system. Watershed Restoration maintains a database with all County residents' waterway and stream complaints, including problems with blockages, erosion and debris.
What to Know Before Reporting
- Natural erosion—Streams are dynamic systems therefore minor erosion is to be expected. The flow in streams will overtop the banks or flood periodically.
- Yard waste along streams—Placing leaves and grass clippings along stream banks degrades water quality.
- Riparian buffers (vegetation around streams and waterways)—Baltimore County’s policy is to allow riparian buffers to grow naturally and not be maintained.
Foam can be natural or a sign of pollution. Foam can occur naturally in streams when dissolved organic compounds act as surfactants. They reduce the surface tension of the surface film of water. This allows fine bubbles and froth to form, accumulate on the surface, and be moved into calm areas by wind and water currents. A good way to tell if it’s natural or manmade is the smell. Naturally occurring foam usually has an earthy or fishy smell, where as the manmade detergent foam has more of a perfume smell. Don't hesitate to contact us if you notice something suspicious.
Also called iron flocculent, can be found in slow moving or stagnant areas of a stream. It can appear as a rusty, orange slime and may create an oily sheen on the water surface. This is a naturally-occurring bacteria. You can tell the difference between an iron bacteria oily sheen and real oil by poking the surface of the water with a stick. If the globules move back together again, this is a true oil sheen.
Contact Information for Reporting
Learn who to contact based on the type of issue being reported.
|Trees endangering power lines|
|Roadside dumping and debris|
|Capital Projects and Operations (CPO)|
Investigates advises the property owner on corrective measures, or if the issue meets certain criteria, it will be recommended as a potential Capital Restoration Project.
|Code Enforcement |
Trash and debris on private property
Department of Public Works and Transportation
Maryland Department of the Environment
The following are environmental emergencies as well as immediate threats to public health:
Your Homeowners' Association or a local watershed association
Trash in waterways
To report a concern, complete the form below or call 410-887-5683.