View Operation Clearwater results through the interactive Swim Guide map below
Click here to see map.
Embedded map coming soon!
The South River Federation is a participant in Operation Clearwater, a bacteria testing program for community waterfront recreational areas on the South River that runs from May through Labor Day. The program provides waterfront communities on the South River with regular updates of the microbial water quality at their waterfront recreational areas. Operation Clearwater was started by the Severn River Association and is a collaborative effort with Dr. Tammy Domanski, a Professor of Biology at Anne Arundel Community College, aimed at providing timely public health information to participating communities and helping to identify times when it may be inadvisable to swim.
We are now accepting Summer 2016 applications. Click here for the application.
A 14 week schedule costs $400 and runs from May 18th through August 31st.
Anne Arundel County Health Department
The Anne Arundel County Health Department advises that after a rainfall, all Anne Arundel County beaches are under a no swimming/no direct water contact advisory for 48 hours due to predicted elevated bacteria levels from rainwater runoff and increased health risks. For more detailed information and to receive E-Alerts regarding water quality, sign up for the Health Department's E-Alert System: http://www.aahealth.org/alerts
2014 Bacteria Results: (Greater than 104 cfu/100 ml are considered elevated bacteria levels. These samples are highlighted in red)
- Anne Arundel County Health Department 2014 - sampling results
What are fecal bacteria?
OPERATION CLEARWATER monitors water quality by enumerating a group of bacteria collectively known as the Enterococci. These bacteria, like the fecal coliforms counted in the past, are associated with fecal waste of warm-blooded animals, birds and mammals. These bacteria themselves are not harmful to swimmers but they do indicate the presence of recent fecal contamination of water.
When the number of Enterococci exceeds 104/100 ml, there may be other microorganisms present in the water which could cause illness, such as gastroenteritis or ear infections. It is generally recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency not to swim in water containing enterococci counts that have an average value exceeding 35/100 ml or a single sample result of more than 104/100. Thus counts that exceed 104/100 ml are highlighted in red on our web site. For more information about the EPA method and interpretation of results, visit this EPA document.
The counts of bacteria in water are always variable. The number of Enterococci/100 ml will vary greatly depending on rainfall. Once we have received enough rain to cause substantial overland flow into our creeks and rivers, generally about one-half inch of rain, bacterial counts will tend to rise sharply and will remain high for 24-48 hours. This is especially true in areas where runoff flows down streets directly into creeks and rivers. For this reason, rain data are included in this report when we have had at least 0.5" of rain within the watershed 24-48 hours previous to sample collection. Of course, summer thunderstorms are notoriously spotty. As we measure rainfall in Annapolis, a brief but intense storm in Crownsville or Edgewater may not even be recorded.
Samples are collected on Wednesday mornings between 7 am and noon at a location of your choosing at the community's waterfront facility. Data are posted on the Federation website by Friday morning. If the number of enterococci exceeds 104/100 ml, Operation Clearwater Community Representatives are notified promptly by phone or email.
Past Bacteria Sampling Results:
|2011 Data [pdf]||2010 Data [pdf]||2009 Data [pdf]||2008 Data [pdf]|
|2007 Data [pdf]||2006 Data [pdf]||2005 Data [pdf]||2004 Data [pdf]|