Enterococcus is a bacteria found in the human intestine and therefore a good indicator of human waste.
The Charles County Department of Health, Division of Environmental Health Services, today issued an advisory warning the public to avoid contact with the water around Friendship Landing at Nanjemoy Creek.
Stream samples taken on August 3, 2006, to test for bacteria in this area exceeded the maximum contaminant level for recreational use. Health officials noted that additional sampling will be conducted to test the water quality.
The Health Department today also reiterated their prior advisory for the
public to avoid contact with streams in a 15-square-mile area between White
Plains and La Plata. The area goes west from Route 6/US 301 to Hoghole Run, north to Route 227 in Pomfret, east to Route 227/US 301 at Willetts Crossing, then south to Route 6. Isolated samplings points were in Hoghole Run, Port Tobacco Creek, Jennie Run, Wills Branch, and feeder streams in these areas. They stated that the advisory will remain in effect until
Dr. C. Devadason, MD, DPH, County Health Officer, said that recent isolated water testing results indicate that contamination from elevated levels of enterococcus
bacteria is still present. According to the non-profit, environmental organization, the Surfrider Foundation, "Enterococcus is a bacteria found in the human intestine and therefore a good indicator of human waste." A study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that an increased concentration of enterococcus bacteria correlated with increased illness of swimmers.
On August 03, 2006, Southern Maryland Online published an open letter from State Senator Roy Dyson (D-29) to Frank Wise, Chairman of the Maryland State Water Quality Advisory Committee. In the letter, Dyson referenced recent stories in the St. Marys Today and the Washington Post regarding polluted waterways and beaches in southern Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries in general. Dyson continued on to highlight how attempts to pass new legislation to combat the problem were thwarted by special interests. He noted that he suspects the Bay Restoration Fund is paying for new sewage plantsthat will probably lead to increased development along local waterways rather than cleaning up the problem with current sewage plants.
Coliform, Fecal Coliform, & Enterococcus Bacteria
Open Letter From Sen. Dyson to State Water Quality Advisory Committee
Dept. of the Environment Responds to Sen Dyson's Open Letter, Re: Polluted Waterways
Charles County Department of Health Water Contact Alerts