Polluted Stormwater Runoff to Blame for Milky, Fish-Killing Jones Falls

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It’s like a low-rent biblical plague. As if to put an exclamation point at the end of Tom Zolper’s recent post defending the stormwater fee and warning of the threat to the environment and public health posed by polluted storm runoff, the Jones Falls turned technicolor and killed around 200 fish, which floated, belly up, into the Inner Harbor. Oh, and it smelled of sulfur, you know, like Mephistopheles.

The “bacterial event” that deprived a section of the Jones Falls of dissolved oxygen and released sulfur from the bottom of the Falls can be traced ultimately to stormwater runoff, according to both Tina Meyers, Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper, and Adam Lindquist, Healthy Harbor coordinator for the Waterfront Partnership. 

Stormwater runoff is high in nutrients (which sounds like a great thing, but here it’s bad) and produces the cycles of algae blooms and fish kills that anyone in the Chesapeake Bay region should be plenty sick of by now.

By the way, ABC’s Joce Sternman tweeted that the phenomenon “Looks like the milk in the bottom of my bowl after I eat Lucky Charms.” She must have been one of those kids who filled her bowl with nothing but the marshmallows.



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