Anne Arundel County Councilman John Grasso is listening to lessons from his dad to restore the Glen Burnie creeks.
"My dad used to say, ‘If you got a mountain in front of you, it’s always going to look the same until somebody picks up the shovel and moves the dirt,’" said Grasso, R-Glen Burnie.
Grasso’s project, Clean the Creeks of District 2, is using fountains to put more oxygen in the Marley and Furnance creeks, which will decrease the smell, he said.
"We need oxygen in the water. If we don’t get it, we smell the fish and crab, and I’m sick and tired of smelling it," Grasso said.
Since he can remember, he has been tired of looking at the polluted Marley Creek that he grew up on.
"Too much analysis creates paralysis," Grasso said. "That’s what irritates me: Nobody will roll up their sleeves and do something."
So Grasso is doing just that. He describes his initiative to clean the creeks as his science experiment: initially, he considered using large compressors and PVC piping, then an ice-eater and electric motor. Upon flipping through Popular Science magazine, which he gets all the time, he saw an advertisement for cascade fountains.
"I thought, This is a better idea! I don’t have to get a compressor and it will look better," Grasso said.
After many trials and errors, he has found what he says is an aesthetic solution to getting more oxygen into the waters.
"It’s a monkey see, monkey do type of thing," Grasso said. "When my neighbors saw the fountain, they said they would take one."
Grasso and his Clean the Creeks team will soon begin a door-to-door campaign to sell the fountains, targeting every house that has septic on the creek. The fountains cost at least $400 each. Grasso said he estimates the fleet of fountains to cost about $20,000 total.
"If I have to pay for each fountain, I will," Grasso said.
Grasso also said that the fountains are the first step of the restoration process. Educating people to get rain barrels and discouraging fertilizers is the next step.