Recreational Water Quality
- Seasonal Water Quality Sample Results
- Water Quality Monitoring Program
- Emergency Numbers for Fish Kills, Algae Blooms and Pollution Issues
- Nitrogen-Reducing Units for Private Septic Systems
After rainfall, all Anne Arundel County beaches are under a no swimming/no direct water contact advisory for at least 48 hours due to predicted elevated bacteria levels from rainwater runoff and increased health risks. Do not swim in cloudy, murky water. During the summer swim season, the Recreational Water Quality Monitoring Program will resume its routine sampling following the 48-hour period.
WARNING: The Department warns that all natural bodies of water can contain bacteria, viruses or other harmful microorganisms and advises against swimming to any individual who has an ear infection, a perforated eardrum, open cuts, scratches or skin lesions, or a compromised immune system.
Do not swim in water areas where there is a fish kill or other dead animals.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Anne Arundel County Department of Health takes water samples from area waterways. The water is tested for enterococci, bacteria that come from the intestine of all warm-blooded animals. Enterococci are used to indicate water quality trends in recreational water. Water quality results are updated weekly, biweekly or monthly, based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's criteria of location, use, ecological factors, pollution sources and risk of contamination. Results are reported as MPN (most probable number) of bacteria colonies present in the water. Some results are reported as running averages and others are reported as single sample results.
The presence of enterococci does not always indicate a public health threat. Many factors can affect readings. Rainwater runoff, waterfowl and tidal action can cause high results that nature will fix in a day or two.
After rainfall, all Anne Arundel County beaches are under a no swimming/no direct water contact advisory
for 48 hours, due to predicted high bacteria levels. (preemptive advisory)
Some rivers and creeks in Anne Arundel County are sampled from Memorial Day to Labor Day. To see the swim season 2012 water quality results of a sampled river or creek, view the 2012 Water Quality Report.
The Department operates a 24-hour automated test results phone line at 410-222-7999. For information on the Recreational Water Quality Monitoring Program, call 410-222-7241.
- Water Quality and Swimming or Fishing In Anne Arundel County Rivers and Creeks - fact sheet
- Environmental Protection Agency - information regarding water quality
- Maryland Department of Natural Resources - information on algal blooms in Maryland
- Algae Bloom Online Sighting Report (DNR)
- Harmful Algal Blooms: Health Effects
- Maryland Department of Natural Resources "Eyes on the Bay"
- Maryland Department of the Environment - Fish and Shellfish Consumption Guidelines
- Maryland Healthy Beaches
- Maryland Beaches Program
- Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works