LEONARDTOWN, MD (September 6, 2018) – Scientists and engineers from Maryland Department of the Environment’s (MDE), Shellfish Monitoring Program, together with staff from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Shellfish Sanitation Program will begin conducting a hydrographic dye dilution study beginning September 11, 2018.  They will be tracking the flow and dispersion of wastewater discharging into the St Mary’s and Potomac River’s from the Webster Field Annex Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP).

There is one 12-hour dye injection period scheduled during the study.  During this time, Rhodamine WT dye will be released from the Webster Field WWTP beginning the morning of September 11 at approximately 10:00 a.m., and will continue for 12 hours until approximately 10:00 p.m. on September 11.  As a result of the dye injection, portions of the lower St Mary’s River, in the general vicinity of Inigoes Creek, and the Potomac River may turn reddish in color for a brief time and will be visible from the shores along the immediate area of the wastewater treatment plants discharge.  Please note that this dye is not harmful to people or the ecosystem.

Photo of Dye Tracer on the Missouri River

Information collected during this study will be used by MDE to evaluate the impact of wastewater discharges on shellfish growing areas, and will help scientists determine where shellfish may be safely harvested.