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Department of Health Orders Emergency Closing and Warns Against Direct Water Contact In Bear Neck Creek and Whitemarsh Creek

Annapolis, MD (June 28, 2006) - The Anne Arundel County Department of Health has ordered an emergency closing and warns against swimming, waterskiing and other direct water contact in Bear Neck Creek and Whitemarsh Creek (Edgewater) due to a wastewater overflow. The emergency closing extends from Bear Neck Creek’s headwaters to Carrs Wharf Road and includes Whitemarsh Creek. The emergency closing will remain in effect until further notice.

The Department advises people coming in contact with the affected water to wash with soap and warm water immediately.  Clothing should also be washed.

The Department of Health is responsible for closing recreational water areas when a sewage spill, leak, high bacterial count or other problem indicates that a human health risk exists.   Bear Neck Creek and Whitemarsh Creek will be re-opened when follow-up testing shows water quality meets acceptable levels for two or more consecutive days.

The Department of Health also advises that due to the high volume of storm water runoff currently entering all creeks and natural waterways in the County, levels of harmful bacteria in the water may be much higher than normal.  Swimming and water contact may result in infection of various types.  People of all ages with open skin wounds or chronic health problems should be especially cautious regarding contact with natural water for the next several days until water conditions return to normal.

For updates on the status of the emergency closing, call the Water Quality Line, 410-222-7999, or visit the “Water Quality” page on the
Department’s Web site, The Water Quality page also has a new section for signing up to receive free e-mail alerts when a County recreational waterway is closed or an advisory is issued by the Department of Health.


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