Water Quality Analyses (WQA) with EPA Concurrence of MDE's Findings: Back Creek

The Back Creek watershed is located in the Upper Eastern Shore region of the Chesapeake Bay watershed within Maryland. The watershed covers a portion of Cecil County. The watershed area is 8,729 acres. The Chesapeake & Delaware Canal is located in the Back Creek watershed. The canal was constructed in 1829 to create a shipping lane between the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware River. Over 40% of all shipping traffic in and out of the Port of Baltimore travels through the canal. The canal is currently operated by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and is the only major commercial shipping canal operating in the U.S. today. The only major community in Back Creek, Chesapeake City, is located on both sides of the entrance to the canal. The city was founded in response to the growing needs of canal operations and commerce.

Back Creek (basin code 02130604) was identified on the State’s 1996 303(d) list as impaired by nutrients, suspended sediments, arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd) and silver (Ag). All impairments were listed for tidal waters. A Water Quality Analysis (WQA) of As, Cd and Ag for the tidal waters of Back Creek was conducted by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) using recent water column chemistry data, sediment chemistry data and sediment toxicity data. A data solicitation for these metals was conducted by MDE and all readily available data from the past five years was considered. Results show no impairment for As, Cd and Ag. The report available below will be used to support the removal of the 8-digit basin from Maryland’s list of Water Quality Limited Segments (WQLSs) for As, Cd and Ag. Accordingly, TMDLs for As, Cd and Ag are not required for Back Creek. The nutrient and sediment impairments will be addressed separately at a future date. 

Water Quality Analyses of Arsenic, Cadmium and Silver in Back Creek, Cecil County, Maryland 

EPA Concurrence:  November 11, 2005

EPA's Decision Letter EPA's Decision Letter
Main Report  backcreek_As_Cd_Ag_final.pdf (680KB)
Comment Response Document backcreek_CRD_As_Cd_Ag_final.pdf (56KB)

Contact Information

Please direct questions or comments concerning this project to Maryland's TMDL Program at (410) 537-3818.