Forest Drive Step Pool Conveyance System

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What is polluted runoff?

Parts of the Chesapeake Bay watershed contain a high percentage of impervious cover – paved or other hard surfaces such as roofs and roadways that prevent rain water from being absorbed into the ground.  Instead, water runs along these surfaces, collecting trash and substances such as motor oil, lawn fertilizers, and pesticides.  This polluted stormwater flows into streams and rivers, where it threatens aquatic ecosystems and public health.  

Effective stormwater management, on the other hand, creates safe paths for polluted runoff to be captured and filtered through the ground before it reaches waterways.  This helps keep the environment clean and our communities healthy!

Flooding and erosion before the restoration. Credit: Anne Arundel County.
The new step pool conveyance system. Credit: Anne Arundel County.


Project location: Annapolis, MD

Problem:  Three destabilized culverts near the busy intersection at Hilltop Lane and Forest Drive in Annapolis were causing channel erosion and impaired water quality in Spa Creek, which drains to the Severn River.  Additionally, the waters around Truxton Park, a public water access point used predominantly by residents in nearby lower-income neighborhoods, had become dangerously polluted.

Solution:  Using proceeds from its Watershed Protection and Restoration Program, Anne Arundel County installed a step pool storm conveyance system (SPSC) in the problem area. This system slows and stabilizes the water stream as it transitions from higher to lower areas.  The step pools absorb pollutants and prevent sediments from entering Spa Creek, resulting in improved water quality.

Scale: 500 linear feet treating runoff from 41 acres

Pollutants removed: 37.5 lbs/yr nitrogen; 34 lbs/yr phosphorous; 64 tons/yr sediment

Funding sources: Anne Arundel County’s Watershed Protection and Restoration Program fees

More information:


Contact information:

Robb Fish | WPRP Anne Arundel County | 410-222-4240 | E-mail:
Anne Arundel

Key project facts

Project Type:
Stream Restoration
Story Focus:
Environmental Justice, Environmental Benefits
Stormwater Utility Funds:
Problem Addressed:
Erosion, Failing Infrastructure, Runoff Pollution
Year Installed:
State Legislative District:
Congressional District:
MD 3rd