Water Watchdog Report

What: Muddy water
Where: Chelsea School site on Ellsworth Dr. near downtown Silver Spring, across from the old SS library
When: 2015-06-09 at 10:00 AM
Reported By: Kit Gage
Additional Details:

Citizens Helping DPS Protect Sligo Creek
Using Kit Gage’s photos of runoff after the rain and Anne Vorce’s photos of silt fence problems just before the rain, we raised our concerns to the County’s Department of Permitting Services (DPS), who enforce the County’s erosion and sediment control laws at the Chelsea construction site. Agreeing with our complaints, Inspector John Thrasher required the developer to repair the damaged or missing silt fences. We appreciate Inspector Thrasher’s quick response.

Update – June 19, 2015

Silt Fences and Curb Cuts Don’t Mix

Seven Oaks-Evanswood resident Vicki Warren spotted muddy runoff coming off the Chelsea construction site in Silver Spring in the aftermath of the afternoon downpour on June 18th. She took a photo. Runoff was particularly noticeable at the persistently problem corner of Ellsworth and Springvale, but was also evident near the right side of the new Chelsea Heights road.

The muddy runoff was draining into the storm drains on Ellsworth. This means that the sedimented water traveled downstream in the underground watercourse for some 6 blocks, where it daylights at the Bennington Outfalls on Bennington Drive and then flows into Sligo Creek. Sediment kills aquatic life.

However, turn out, the silt fence had been put across two concrete curb cuts. This meant that there was in fact no barrier to the drainage of muddy water from two very muddy spots: the corner of Springvale and Ellsworth (which most of the site drains to anyway) and a spot along Ellsworth near the new Chelsea Heights road. As of last evening, the pond of muddy water at the Ellsworth corner was escaping below the silt fence at the curb cut. Moreover, the muddy water may have contained more than simply mud: broken pieces of asphalt were also part of the brew behind that particular silt fence.

Similar problems at these and other spots had been reported last week by Kit Gage and Anne Vorce. Kit documented the muddy runoff in her report below to the Water WatchDog Action Log. Our concerns were also raised to the County’s Department of Permitting Services, which is responsible for keeping muddy runoff from leaving the site. These problems had been addressed very quickly by Inspector John Thrasher of DPS; and the developer EYA had erected a silt fence and other ESC barriers around problems areas.

But, until Vicki Warren’s report last night, no one noticed that silt fences and curb cuts do not mix !

– Anne Vorce, for “The Chelsea Project: Working with DPS and EYA to Protect Sligo Creek from Construction Runoff”, with Advisor stormwater expert Richard Klein, CEDs