Six million people call the state of Maryland home. As a state laying on the east coast of the United States, Maryland has diverse terrain and a variety of water sources.
Streams, rivers, lakes, and underground aquifers supply the majority of the water used and consumed by Maryland residents. The presence of so many different sources results in a variety of water quality issues that must be dealt with on a case by case basis.
The diversity of land types throughout the state means that there are many different negative influences on the water supplies for each region. Some may encounter agricultural runoff while others deal with industrial pollution.
Common Water Problems by City
Maryland residents enjoy a relatively high quality of water. However, this does not come without some drawbacks. The treatment processes and type of source both influence the final product entering homes and businesses.
Loch Raven Reservoir
Smell, Taste of Chlorine
Smell, Taste of Chlorine
The City of Baltimore uses three reservoirs in areas surrounding the city to supply its drinking water. Rain and snowmelt contribute to the replenishment of the supply.
As the water moves over and under the earth to reach the storage reservoirs it accumulates different dissolved minerals. These minerals create hard water for Baltimore residents, resulting in some physical symptoms like dry, itchy skin after bathing.
Baltimore also struggles to maintain a balanced pH level, attempting to use lime to make it more alkaline. This is not always accomplished, leading to some unusual staining on metal surrounding faucets and taps.
Chlorine is added during the treatment process to kill the vast majority of bacteria and harmful biological contaminants. While vital to supporting a clean, drinkable water supply, the smell and taste of chlorine can at times emanate from taps.
The Potomac River may be most popular for its meandering near the Nation’s Capital but is also supplies the majority of consumable water for Frederick, Maryland.
Of course, a water supply like this comes with issues including dissolved minerals entering the system and giving residents hard water. This can lead to dry skin after bathing and an itchy scalp.
Maryland as a whole seems to deal with low pH in their water. The negative impacts include staining of metals that contact the water frequently and even some corrosion over long periods of time.
Frederick uses chlorine in its water treatment process to eliminate harmful organisms. At times, this can lead to the smell or taste of the chemical when drinking or using the water.
Many people forget that Annapolis is the capital of the state of Maryland. It is also home to the United States Naval Academy and is one of the older cities in the United States.
Annapolis sits directly on the Chesapeake Bay, yet sources the majority of its water from underground aquifers accessed by deep wells. The city still takes the protection of the bay seriously as it does have impacts on the replenishment of the aquifers beneath the surface.
As water sits in aquifers, it absorbs dissolved minerals. This causes hard water entering the system and is not resolved by typical, city-wide water treatment. Residents of Annapolis may experience dry skin after bathing. A buildup of limescale could occur, as well.
Low pH is a problem that can cause blue-green stains of sinks, tubs, and even light-colored laundry. Over time it can cause issues with corrosion of pipes and supply lines.