By: Mary Abe, Manager of Stewardship
On Saturday morning July 20th, Neil Gehrels, AWS member and donor, noted that at the confluence of Indian Creek and Paint Branch at Lake Artemesia, Indian Creek was at its flood stage as well as butterscotch in color-indicative of sediment runoff. Paint Branch was at normal stream stage with no signs extreme sedimentation. No rain events had occurred so Mr. Gehrels contacted AWS to investigate.
Aroundlater that afternoon, after walking the Indian Trail System from Greenbelt Road towards Lake Artmesia, Indian Creek still appeared cloudy and to have experienced some sort of event involving sediment. Heavy equipment could be seen operating behind the Shell gas station and Suntrust Bank at Branchville Road. Upon further investigation, a water main break had in fact occurred and was still being flushed into Indian Creek. Additionally, a small tributary at the intersection on the opposite side of Greenbelt Road on 57th Street smelled of sewage and was black in color. This tributary feeds directly into Indian Creek.
As seen by the photos, the blow out must have been considerable if capable of heaving the paving as shown, certainly capable of breaking other lines such as the sanitary sewer line. WSSC site manager, did not give a time table for repairs as the contractor to repair had just arrived. We told the site manager that Indian Creek was clouded for sediment for more than a mile downstream. He said that he would then put sediment control devices up to help mitigate this issue,
We will keep on top of this break and the subsequent direct discharge into Indian Creek. Thanks again to Neil for his observation and stewardship of Indian Creek.
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