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Maryland Geologists Examining State Fish Hatchery Water Supply

Dye Tests May Cause Harmless and Temporary Discoloration

Albert M. Powell State Fish Hatchery

Albert M. Powell State Fish Hatchery

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will conduct localized dye-tracing tests in the area around the Albert M. Powell State Fish Hatchery in Washington County.

The tests are scheduled to begin Feb. 27, dependent on weather conditions.

As part of these efforts, the Maryland Geological Survey will place dye in surface locations less than a mile north of the hatchery to test water flow. The hatchery uses water from a natural spring for fish-rearing operations but recently cloudy water and low water volumes have been observed. The department has been working to determine potential causes of the disruption and possible remedies.

When the dyes are first introduced into groundwater, the water may appear bright green or red. It is likely that the applied liquids will emerge in several springs around the area as well as Beaver Creek, and possibly even some nearby wells. As the water flows, the colors will become diluted until they ultimately dissipate within one to three days. The dyes are nontoxic to humans and fish, and have been certified for use in drinking water systems.

This test is being coordinated with the Maryland Department of the Environment and Washington County Health Department. For questions regarding the study, residents are encouraged to contact Hydrogeology Program Chief David Bolton at 410-554-5561.