It’s been a tough month for the Bear Branch and its neighboring communities: algae blooms, mud floods and now this … see pic at right.
The latest insult to the creek was this large UFO – unidentified floating object – making it’s way downstream to the Severn River between the Pointfield Landing and Ben Oaks neighborhoods.
Our spotters in Bear Branch reported this bubbly UFO in September just downstream from the Shipley’s Choice Dam removal project.
It looks like either an early Halloween prank or a scene from the TV Show, The Prisoner, staring Patrick McGoohan.
A key part of the dystopian story was the evil doer’s use of this curious technology (at left), which prevented any escape from The Village, which was a reprogramming prison for political prisoners.
But after contacting Anne Arundel County’s Bureau for Watershed Protection and Restoration about the foam, we were informed that this was a hazardous chemical spill at the Fire Training Facility on Maxwell Frye Rd.
The continued use of foams like this for fire fighting is a controversial issue because these products are known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), aka “forever” chemicals, because they don’t breakdown in the environment.
Many lawsuits have been filed on behalf of fire fighters over their exposure to PFAS foams, which can cause cancer, which is the leading cause of death among fire fighters in the US, according to the Firefighter Cancer Support Network.
This chemical hazard incident followed a series of mud floods pouring down Bear Branch.
Just a week or two earlier, this same stream was inundated with sediment plumes during recent storms. These mud floods were traced back to construction surrounding the removal of the Shipley’s Choice Dam.
AACounty inspectors were called in after the first sediment plume. They identified the source as a failure by the county’s contractor on the project. They had failed to install and properly manage stormwater runoff controls. Changes were promised.
Then it happened again. Grrr.
If you see incidents like this, report them to Anne Arundel County’s Inspection & Permits division. Click here.
You do not have to know whether or not there is a violation. It is the inspector’s job to determine if there is a violation. Give them the street address so they know where to find the problem from a roadway. The County does not have any boats to investigate pollution problems.