Maryland dredging waste facility degrades nearby groundwater quality

By on February 1, 2013

Maryland’s Pearce Creek Dredge Material Containment Area had a negative impact on nearby groundwater wells, according to U.S. Geological Survey testing.

USGS samplers tested 50 wells and found 15 percent had beryllium and arsenic levels higher than U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards for drinking water.  Also, according to a press release on the findings, almost every well violated EPA secondary standards, which apply to water taste, color and odor.

The facility, which is a waste depository for dredging material, influences groundwater in Maryland’s Magothy aquifer and upper Patapsco aquifer.

Lead study author Cheryl Dieter said in the release that dissolved oxygen and chemicals from water at the dredge dumping site seeped into the watershed causing a degradation of quality in upper aquifers.

Image: Pearce Creek Dredge Material Containment Area (Credit: Cheryl A. Dieter/USGS)

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