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Maryland streams checked for spike in pollutants - baltimoresun.com

Posted by babyaqua 1585 days ago in Water Quality from http://www.baltimoresun.com

On a bridge behind a strip mall on Liberty Road just west of Baltimore, a group of state biologists trekked out in the morning drizzle Monday to gauge the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

From the bridge over the Gwynns Falls, they lowered a device about 2 feet into the brown-green water to take the temperature and measure the dissolved oxygen. Then they lowered a bottle with a small crane to collect a water sample, checking for sediment, nutrients and solids.

The effort, made at 54 sites each month across the state since 1986, shows the short- and long-term health of Maryland's streams, the Inner Harbor and, ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay. The results not only help guide those who regulate pollution, but help the biologists show how the way people live and work affects the water quality nearby and downstream.

Monday's tests came on the heels of record snow and above-average rain that likely washed extra pollutants into the water. This could signify an early onset of dead zones, the oxygen-deprived stretches in the bay where underwater grasses can't grow and fish can't live.

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