Faulty septic tanks and sewage spills are widely believed to be a major source of pollution in Rock Creek. Roughly 50% of the land area that sends water to Rock Creek has a county sewage system and the other half is serviced by septic tanks. Much of the area was originally developed before there were building codes and many of the septic systems are old (see watershed maps).
The county’s sanitary sewer system was built adjacent to several of the fresh water streams that feed the creek (see watershed maps). Watershed advocates walked the county sanitary sewer line during the rainstorm that lead to the very high tides and flooding in March 2010 and detected no sewage smell along the lines. The smell of sewage was documented in the 2009 AA County sponsored study Targeted Biological Assessment of Streams in the Patapsco Tidal and Bodkin Creek Watersheds
Keeping storm water out of the storm drain system reduces the likelihood of sewage spills from the county’s system. If rainwater can be process through tree’s and vegetation or infiltrated into the ground it’s beneficial for the Rock Creek watershed.
Proper maintenance of septic systems by homeowners is also critical for the Rock Creek watershed.