Anne Arundel County officials have instituted voluntary restrictions on indoor water usage on the Mayo Peninsula after recent heavy rainfall overwhelmed the area's sewage treatment plant.
About 10,000 gallons of partially treated sewage have overflowed from the Mayo Wastewater Treatment Plant, prompting the county Health Department to close Bear Neck and Whitemarsh creeks.
Health officials also warned yesterday of higher bacteria levels throughout all of the county's creeks and other waterways, caused by increased storm runoff from a five-day series of storms that ended Wednesday. They said that people with open skin wounds or chronic health problems should be cautious about coming into contact with the waterways for the next several days until water levels return to normal.
The Department of Public Works issued the plan as the runoff from the storms doubled the normal daily water flow into the treatment plant to 1 million gallons.
The voluntary restrictions will be in place until further notice. Tanker trucks have retrieved more than 100,000 gallons of wastewater and sent that to other treatment plants. County officials will continue to truck the overflow to other plants until the ground and surface water levels abate.
County officials have estimated that 11 inches of rain have fallen at the plant since late last week. According to the National Weather Service, rainfall amounts elsewhere in the county over the five-day period varied from about 4 1/2 inches to more than 9 inches.
The health department's emergency closing extends from the headwaters of the Bear Neck Creek to Carrs Wharf Road and includes Whitemarsh Creek.
Those who come into contact with the Bear Neck and Whitemarsh creeks should immediately wash with soap and warm water. Clothes should also be washed. For more information on the emergency closing, call 410-222-7999 or visit www.aa health.org.