An Introduction to Spoutn' Spring

a roadside "healing spring" located in the Frederick Watershed


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A Brief Note from the Page Author/Website Owner

This page is offered as a public service only, as an informational and educational webpage.  This is not a marketing site, nor is it a "preachy" site -- I have nothing to sell to you, and there is nothing I am trying to get you to believe, and rather, this page (or set of pages) is simply offered freely out of love and appreciation for the many gifts of God/Being/Source with which we are blessed on this planet.  All information offered is simply reported to the best of my ability, and my reportage, opinions and preferences as stated in this page remain my own.  If you choose to drink or use water from this spring or from other wild springs, you do so only at your own risk and you take sole responsibility for your choices and your actions. I take no responsibility for any outcomes you or others may encounter from drinking or using water from this spring or other wild springs, nor from streams or creeks, etc.  If you have any questions or concerns about the safety of, or use of, water from any wild source (spring, stream, creek, lake, etc.) please consult with your licensed healthcare professional.

I hope you enjoy this page!  Have fun!

To learn more about the author, please click here to go to the Vinny Pinto Central Directory website.

Almost Everything You Have Ever Wanted to Know About Spoutn' Spring!

Brief Introduction

For many years there has been a roadside spring -- equipped with a pipe or "spout" outlet -- located along a small little-traveled road named Hamburg Road, in Frederick, Maryland.  Some older locals say that the spring has been present -- and used frequently by passers-by -- in much the same form as it is today for at least the past 200 years.  The spring is locally known as Spoutn' Spring and Spout Spring, and it is located in an area known as the Frederick Watershed, about 9 miles northwest of the city of Frederick, Maryland, and very near the boundaries of Gambrill State Park. image 19 - spoutn spring, left front wide viewSpoutn Spring is actually outside the city limits of Frederick, but is still within the unincorporated area known as Frederick, and is located within Frederick County, Maryland.  The spring has apparently been locally known by the name Spoutn Spring (aka Spoutn' Spring) for well over a hundred years (probably more like 200 years), and is sometimes also known -- again largely to locals -- under names such as Spout Spring, Spouting Spring, Spoutin Spring and Yellow Spring (the latter name is incorrect; more on this later)-- some even call it simply "The Healing Spring", and I will discuss more about that later...  Strangely, there is a tiny road by the name of "Spout Spring Road" in the City of Frederick, along the same road that the spring is located on, but about 7 miles from the spring.

Why Have I Created This Page?
I have been fascinated by springs in general, and particularly:
  • hot springs and warm springs
  • healing springs 
  • other kinds of exotic springs, such as springs from extremely deep water sources which are claimed to supply primordial water or primal water
all of my life.  I am extremely fortunate to currently live in a remote area in the Frederick Watershed, just a few hundred yards from the roadside spring known as Spoutn Spring, and, indeed, there are actually several other roadside springs along Hamburg Road as well, although none are as reliable and consistent (e.g., consistent year-round flow), convenient or accessible as Spoutn Spring.  Incidentally, there are over a hundred springs in this remote mountainous area within less than one mile of the spring, but  most are not near roads and not easily accessible. In any case, I pass Spoutn Spring at least a few times per day on most days while I am on my walks, and I often encounter folks from far and wide who have parked in the small parking area (about large enough for three vehicles) across the road from the spring -- these people are invariably at the spring filling numerous water jugs, buckets and other containers.  Some of these folks are local old-timers who grew up in the area, but many of the folks have driven anywhere from 45 minutes to over an hour from Rockville, Bethesda, DC, or northern Virginia specifically to come to the spring and fill numerous jugs, buckets and carboys with water.  Indeed, a large majority of these folks who have driven from afar are of Asian origin, mostly Korean-Americans and Chinese-Americans, along with a few folks of Fillipino origins.  It is not unusual on most mornings to encounter two or more Asian-American families from the DC/VA area parked across from the spring, each filling from ten to twenty 5 gallon water containers at the spring, repeatedly crossing the road to pack the now-filled containers in their SUVs.  Many of these individuals and families make the pilgrimage to the spring at least once per week year-round, and some apparently make the one to three hour round-trip journey two or three times per week.  In fact, on weekends, it is not unusual to see three cars parked abreast -- as many as will fit -- in the parking area across the road from the spring, and two additional cars stopped in the uphill (westbound) lane of the road, totally blocking the lane (BTW, this is illegal, do not do it! You could also cause a serious accident!)
So, here are my reasons, or at least most of them, for creating this webpage:
  • I love springs and have always been fascinated by them
  • I much appreciate this roadside spring -- the water tastes good, it is very accessible, set up so that it is easy to fill containers, and it seems to serve at least a dozen people -- most of whom have traveled some considerable distance -- on even the least-busy day.
  • a number of the folks of Asian ancestry from the DC/VA area whom I encounter at the spring have asked me if the water is truly healing water or if it is safe to drink (more on both of these topics later...)
  • over the years, as we have met at the spring, a number of elderly locals who live within 5 miles of the spring, and who have known it and used it all their lives since early childhood (and the same for their parents and grandparents before them) have been kind enough to share with me what they knew of the spring
  • each day, as I pass the spring and it's many visitors -- many of them pilgrims from distant cities -- on my walks, it has often struck me that someone should create a short webpage on the Internet offering some basic information about the spring.

Some Basic Information About Spoutn' Spring
Some basic facts about Spoutn Spring were covered above in the Introduction section.  The spring is located along a small, winding, little-traveled rural road (the road was first paved only 7 years ago; prior to that it had been a dirt road for over 150 years) in an extensive mountainous wilderness area -- which is also a protected watershed area under county and state law -- and is located at an elevation of roughly 740 feet above sea level.  It is located in the Frederick Watershed, aka the Catoctin Watershed, which is part of the Catoctin Mountains, which, in turn, are part of the Appalachian Mountain range, the oldest mountain range on the surface of the earth.  The spring is a very "user-friendly" spring, in that it is located along the side of a rural country road in the mountains, and there is a small parking area -- large enough for perhaps just three vehicles -- just across the road from the spring. The spring has long been outfitted -- apparently by local old-timers who grew up in the area -- with a reservoir basin and horizontal exit pipe (aka "spout"), making it extremely easy to fill buckets, jugs or other containers.  The original pipe was an old length of horizontal iron pipe supported by concrete, and this was destroyed by well-intentioned but misguided county public works employees in 2001.  The current "spout" is a length of white plastic pipe, mounted horizontally, and held in place by rocks.  This spring is rather notable for a couple of other factors as well, as follow:
  • in contrast to most wild springs found in the mountains, or especially those located near roads, it has never been known to go dry, even during the worst droughts; in fact the flow rate seems to remain at a relatively constant high rate throughout all seasons and all droughts
  • the spring exhibits a high flow rate -- even though the exit "fill pipe" captures only perhaps one-quarter of the water flowing from the catch basin behind it (upstream from it), the flow rate from the pipe is easily at least 15 gallons per minute.
More About the Name of the Spring -- Spoutn Spring or Spout Spring
As mentioned earlier, the spring seems to have been known for much of the past 200 years or more as Spoutn Spring (aka Spoutn' Spring) or Spout Spring for well over a hundred years (probably more like 200 years), and is sometimes also known -- again largely to locals -- under names such as Spouting Spring, Spoutin Spring and Yellow Spring.  The latter name -- Yellow Spring -- is entirely incorrect.  There is indeed a cluster of springs named Yellow Spring, but located somewhat under two miles away. There is a road by the name of Yellow Springs Road just over a mile from Spoutn Spring, and there are several closely-spaced springs located not far from Yellow Springs Road (indeed, not far from the current location of Yellow Spring Elementary School) which are called Yellow Spring, because the water issuing from them is heavily laden with sulfur from underground deposits, and as a result, the water is yellowish and the ponds, ditches and creeks which are filled by the springs are covered with a yellowish layer from the sulfur. However, the name Yellow Spring has never been used consistently to denote Spoutn Spring. Rather, it seems to have primarily been known for over a hundred years by the name Spoutn Spring and several close variants of that name. 

What Are the Rumors About this Being a Healing Spring?
Well, it seems that many of the local old-timers -- folks who are now from 60 to 100 years old -- and who grew up -- usually on farms -- within about five or ten miles of the spring, believe that the spring is a powerful healing spring. A number of such locals, when I have met them at the spring and engaged in conversation with them, have told me that they firmly believe that the water from the spring has powerful healing properties for humans, animals and plants -- some have told me that their parents and grandparents before them believed the same thing. One elderly man whom I met at the spring, then in his 80s, who was a semi-retired farmer living about three miles down the road from the spring, told me that whenever one of his animals or trees "took sick" and when the normal remedies (nutritional supplements, medicinal drugs, or plant foods, etc.) did not work to heal the sick animal or plant, he simply drove to the spring with a few empty buckets, filled them, and fed the water to the animal in question for a week, or poured the water on the plant on a daily basis for a week. He claimed that this was almost always sufficient to heal the sick plant or animal, and he also claimed that he attributed the excellent health experienced by himself and his wife (both of them now elderly) to the fact that they regularly drank water from the spring. In fact, he took great pains to explain to me that the water available at their farmhouse came from a deep underground well, but that it could still not compare to the near-magical water from the spring. Indeed, the day that he told me this story, he was fetching large buckets of water in an attempt to "heal" a very sick old tree on his property after all other measures had failed -- he was confident that it would work. While primarily a long-held belief of locals, this belief that the water may have healing powers seems to be shared by a minority of the visitors who make a pilgrimage from cities over an hour away (Rockville, Silver Spring, Bethesda, Arlington. Washington, DC) to fill their containers at the spring.

Bottom line: I cannot offer a final answer on this subject, other than to say that most folks who drink this water seem to love it, and keep coming back for more, year after year, often driving distances of over one hour each way just to get to the spring. I, too, love the water from this spring and drink it regularly. Indeed, I have had visitors at my (nearby) home from as far away as Central Pennsylvania who, once I have shown them the spring and they have drunk its waters, return to the spring again and again to fill large buckets and jugs with the water for their use at home. As for whether it is truly a healing spring, as its local lore and fame tend to claim -- who knows? Certainly, my own "belly sense", or wisdom of the belly (more on this below..) tells me that this is wonderful water! Beyond that, I encourage you to find your own answer for yourself!

A Few Tests of the Water Regarding Claims of Healing Water It is now fairly well-known that the water from some (by no means all....) famous healing springs around the world -- including Tlacote in Mexico, Nordenau in Germany, and Lourdes in France -- and also the water from some famed sources of water such as the glacially-fed streams in the Hunzas, happens to exhibit certain antioxidative properties which may be measured by the presence of a very low Oxidation-Reduction Potential (aka ORP) and a low Relative Hydrogen score (aka RH score or RH2 score; this is an inverse logarithmic score, so a lower reading indicates greater levels of hydrogen), both of which indicate  Rather than take up time and space on this page to explain more about these ORP and RH scores and their relationship to the presence of very low molecular weight antioxidants, I suggest that if you wish to learn more about this topic, please see my off-site informational webpage on RH score, ORP and related measures.  In any case, some scientists have theorized that the healing powers of those afore-mentioned well-known healing springs may be wholly or at least partly due to the extremely unique ORP and RH scores in the strongly antioxidative range exhibited by the water. In other words, they have suggested that some or all of the healing powers of those springs may be due to the presence of certain very low molecular weight hydrogen-based antioxidants in the water, which can enter the body even through the skin. Of course, it is also true that the waters from some other famous healing springs does not exhibit these notable and measurable antioxidative properties. However, since I am an antioxidant researcher (among other things), and since the spring and its water are readily available to me, I have repeatedly tested the water from this spring to assess the ORP and RH scores (and related measures as well), and the scores have always been quite "normal" -- i.e., not notably in the antioxidative range. Incidentally, since this page also mentions some other wild springs located near Spoutn Spring, it is worth mentioning that I have also tested the waters from many of these other wild springs as well, and none have exhibited the particular hydrogen-antioxidant signature exhibited by waters from healing springs such as Nordenau, Tlacote and Lourdes. So, if the water from Spoutn Spring is indeed healing water, it is likely not due to the presence of the simple very low molecular weight hydrogen-based antioxidants found in the afore-mentioned famous healing springs.

Well, You Might Ask, Has the Spring Water Helped Me With Any Health Problems? While on the topic of whether the water from Spoutn Spring has healing properties, you might ask -- since I live within walking distance of the spring -- if perhaps I have noticed if the water from the spring has helped me with any health problems. Well, I am not a good person to judge that, and for several reasons, some of which are:

  • I am in very good health and do not tend to have health problems
  • My tap water, which I drink and with which I bathe daily, comes from a 100 foot deep mountain well in my backyard, less than 200 yards from the spring; the water from this well is totally raw and unfiltered. There is a very high probability that much or all of the water feeding my well comes from the same aquifer feeding the spring. Thus, the water which I drink daily from my well is likely already quite similar to the water from the well. I have confirmed this via dowsing, as have two other dowsers.
  • I tend to eat a very healthy diet
  • I tend to ingest lots of good antioxidant nutritional supplements, since I am a researcher in the field of nutritional antioxidants. These help to keep me very healthy.
But, on the Other Hand... Well, one more tiny piece of evidence that the local lore that Spoutn Spring is a healing spring may be true: Since -- among the many hats which I wear -- I am a spiritual healer, I come in contact -- usually via telephone or the Internet -- with a great number of remote healers and intuitives and "psychics". In the past year, two such persons, neither who knew any prior facts about the area in which I live or about the spring, have told me via telephone that they sense that the mountain on which the spring and my home are located has some "very powerful healing energies". This makes the matter all the more interesting!

Who Visits the Spring? Much as I have mentioned earlier, some of the folks whom I encounter at the spring are local old-timers who grew up in the area, and many of the folks have driven anywhere from 45 minutes to over an hour and a half (each way) from Rockville, Bethesda, DC, or northern Virginia simply to come to the spring and fill their water jugs. A large majority of these latter folks who have driven from afar are of Asian origin, mostly Chinese and Korean (a few Filipinos as well), and it is not unusual on most mornings to encounter one or more Chinese families from the DC/VA area parked across from the spring, and collecting perhaps 60 to 120 gallons of water for their use at home. Most of these Chinese and Korean folks have learned about the spring through their network of Asian-American friends, and far prefer the water to the sterile processed water available from their kitchen faucets at home. Additionally, I have -- albeit more rarely -- met at the spring folks who have made the pilgrimage from Central Pennsylvania (e.g., Harrisburg, almost two hours away) or from towns near Philadelphia (almost three hours away) or from the far reaches of southern or western Virginia. Most of them seemed to have initially learned of the spring because they had grown up in this area, or via locals whom they had met in college, or via a network of friends and relatives. All seem to keep coming back for water again and again, year after year. 

Where Does the Water Come From? We know from the capacity, constancy and reliability of the flow from the spring that the water comes from a relatively deep and stable, high-capacity aquifer; such an aquifer contains rainfall water which has percolated through multiple layers of soil, rock, gravel and sand to reach the aquifer or "water table". However, like most such wild springs which emerge out of hillsides and mountainsides, at least some small percentage of the water in the spring appears to be surface runoff water which has not yet been fully filtered by the action of multiple layers of soil, rock, gravel and sand. This is sometimes referred to as "artesian water" or "surface water", although both terms are rather imprecise.

However, as hinted earlier, the majority of the water coming from the spring must be water from below the low water table level of a relatively deep, stable and high-capacity aquifer, because the flow rate of the spring is very constant, steady, and high, even during the dry seasons and during the harshest droughts, including a recent drought which was reportedly the worst in experienced in this area in over 110 years. The theory that the spring is largely fed by flow from below the low water table level of a deep, high capacity stable aquifer makes sense... an examination of a USGS topographic map shows that the spring is located at a relatively low spot (about 740 feet in elevation above sea level) on the slope of a series of interconnected and contiguous mountainous geologic formations -- all consisting of largely wilderness forest -- which rise at least nine hundred and sixty (960) feet (to an elevation of at least 1,700 feet) above the elevation of the spring and which contain at least several thousand acres of forested wilderness surface area which collect rainfall.

More About the Local Geology in Which the Spring is Located The spring is located in the midst of a continuous and contiguous chain of mountains called the Catoctin Mountains, which are part of the Appalachian Mountain chain on the East Coast of the USA. The Appalachian Mountains are the oldest mountain chain in the world, older than any other mountains which rise above sea level, and contain what are essentially the oldest rock and the oldest geology in the world. Indeed, at one time, over 200 million years ago, the Appalachians were the highest mountains in the world, rising far higher above sea level than the highest peaks in the Himalayas do now.  However, over 200 million years of weathering, freezing, water action, wind, volcanoes, earthquakes, and the action of vascular green plants (e.g., green plants and trees), lichen, moss, algae and microbes have reduced the height of the chain considerably. In the local Catoctin Mountain part of the range, the highest remaining mountain now reaches a height of only 1,880 feet, and it lies about 9 miles north of the spring, near Thurmont, Maryland. A nearby mountain, less than two miles away from the spring, reaches a height of 1,680 feet, and other nearby mountains in the range reach at least 1,700 feet above sea level. The spring is located at an elevation which is just about one-half the average height of the local terrain, and this fact -- in light of the constancy and stability of the flow from the spring at all times -- provides more evidence that the aquifer feeding the spring is massive and extensive, and that the spring exits the aquifer at a point well below the low water table level.

Is the Water Safe for Humans to Drink? Well, the answer to that question depends upon what standard or yardstick you choose to apply, and, in any case -- due to reasons discussed in the sub-section below entitled One Potential Problem -- I do recommend that you may wish to consider avoiding collecting or drinking water from the spring during and immediately after heavy rainfall. 

Let's look at the mainstream view first:

By the commonly-accepted standards of most local health departments, the water is not usually safe to drink, although there is no known particular hazard which has been demonstrated, either. In my experience, at least once each year, a small article appears in the local newspaper, The Frederick News-Post, reporting that the Frederick County Health Department had recently tested water (such inspections usually test for presence of coliform bacteria above certain threshold levels) from Spoutn Spring and several other roadside springs across Frederick County, and often, the articles report that the water from Spoutn' Spring and several other roadside springs have been found to contain an excessively high level of fecal coliform bacteria. These bacteria are not usually harmful in themselves, but rather, their presence in amounts over a certain threshold level is often taken by public health authorities to indicate that at least some of the water in the spring may be from shallow surface runoff water, aka surface water, which has not yet been well-filtered by multiple layers of soil, deep sand and rock, and thus may still contain appreciable amounts of fecal material from local wild animals, including mice, rabbits, raccoons, skunks, snakes, turtles and birds. And, according to the reasoning of these health authorities, there could therefore be harmful microbes, or harmful one-celled organisms such as those which cause amebic dysentery or giardia, or even so-called intestinal parasites present in such traces of fecal matter as well, and such organisms could end up on the water, and these could prove harmful to some people, at least to people with known vulnerabilities, such as the very young, the very old, or those with immune deficiencies.
And, now, let's look at the view which I hold (my opinion only), which seems to be shared by most of the spring's many visitors who make the pilgrimage to fill their water containers.
Speaking as both a scientist and a mystic (I am also a spiritual healer), I feel the water is totally safe for me (sorry, I certainly cannot speak for other people!), and I have drank this water regularly for the 8 years that I have lived near the spring. Almost all of my visitors fall in love with the water from the spring, and return again and again to fill numerous jugs and buckets for later use. However, I suspect that response to the water, due to the presence of some surface water, could be highly variable across individuals. It is entirely possible -- per the reports and warnings from the county health department -- that the water from the spring could prove harmful to certain susceptible persons, or that it could even (albeit likely rarely, but no one knows for sure) contain giardia or amebic dysentery "spores". Due to factors discussed below in the section entitled One Potential Problem -- I do recommend -- no matter how brave you are -- that you may wish to consider avoiding drinking water from the spring during and immediately after heavy rainfall. 

My own view is that ultimately, it is up to each individual person to weigh the risks personally and to decide for themselves whether or not to drink the water from any particular wild spring. And, speaking as one who has trained for much of my lifetime as both a scientist and a mystic, I personally place far more reliance upon what I will call my "gut sense" or "belly wisdom" than on any abstract scientific reasoning or warnings. And my gut sense or belly sense tells me that it is fine -- for me -- to drink the water. However, let me warn you: I tend to run my entire life not from my intellect or mind, but rather based on the promptings from Spirit, via my Heart and Belly. You, the reader, must make your own choices - it is not for me or anyone else to try to do that for you! So, I encourage you to find your own answer for yourself!

Lastly, the evidence is that the majority of the water exiting the spring (except during heavy rainfall -- see One Potential Problem section below) comes from a relatively low point in a deep and stable aquifer. Thus, at least most of the water from the spring is not simply shallow surface runoff water (which would not yet have had a chance to be adequately filtered and cleansed by layers of soil, clay, sand, rock and beneficial microbes), and thus should be safer and of a higher quality than the water from seasonal springs or springs which show a wide variation in flow rate from season to season (e.g., high flow during rainy springtime, low flow during drier seasons.) The one exception to this observation may occur during and immediately after heavy rainfall -- please see the One Potential Problem section below.

One Potential Problem and a Suggestion I have examined the area surrounding this particular spring quite carefully, and there is one primary potential problem which I notice -- I will tell you about it below, along with suggestions on how to minimize the effects of this potential problem. 

Just to the left of the spring and above it, a natural drainage channel runs down the mountainside, much like a small creek bed. It is normally dry, but when heavy rains hit the area and surface water builds up rapidly on the mountain slope above the spring, some of the excess runoff water finds its way downhill in streams in such natural drainage channels -- there are several others in the area as well. However, the problem with the channel just above and to the left of the spring is that as it approaches the road, it unfortunately swerves to the right and dumps its load or runoff surface water into the soil and rocks just above the spring "pool" (the reservoir area just above the pipe/spout), and so when water is flowing in this channel during and immediately after heavy rainstorms, a lot of somewhat dirt-filled muddy water ends up getting dumped into this area, and my observations have shown that it then percolates down to drip into the underground flow just above the "pool". So, when this is happening during and just after heavy rainstorms, a certain amount of muddy surface runoff water from the mountainside ends up in the spring water as well, and some of this runoff water can contains small amounts of animal waste and various types of rotting or decaying matter.

Because of the above, I suggest that even if you are one of the many people who do choose to drink water from the spring under normal conditions, you may wish to avoid collecting or drinking water during heavy rainfall when the uphill drainage channel is filled with water, and also for at least the next few hours after rainfall ends, and perhaps for up to 24 hours after the cessation of really heavy rainfall.

Radiation Levels Due to Radon Gas and Radon Daughters in Water There has been a moderate level of paranoia in the USA, especially in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, about radioactivity in spring water and well water due largely to radon gas -- which is released by uranium scattered in bedrock, including the limestone and granite bedrock which comprise the Appalachian mountain range in which this spring is found. To be more accurate, most radiation found in well and spring water is due not only to radon but also to the short-lived radioactive gases which are produced when radon breaks down due to entropic radioactive decay -- these radioactive breakdown elements are often called "radon daughters". And, in my daily hikes past the spring, I have encountered more than one spring visitor filling their jugs who have asked me if I might be able to give them any information about the levels of radiation to be found in the spring water at Spoutn Spring.

Well, I had some spare time in October 2004, and so I dug up my digital ionizing radiation meter in my laboratory so that I could take some measurements on the water at the spring. I first tested a number of things for comparison purposes; scores are as follows, normalized to the background radiation in my house (100 years old; wood floors and upstairs plasterboard walls), which I set to a nominal score of 100. That nominal score of 100 reflects the normal average background ionizing radiation readings in my (wood construction; almost 100 years old) home, which tend to hover at around 16.4 uR/hour (microRoentgens per hour). Normal background levels worldwide tend to range from 9 to 25 uR/hour (some areas are far higher than the top of this average range), with the mean of worldwide observations falling around 11 uR/hr. Levels in my home, at 16.4, are a bit higher than the mean worldwide score, since I live in the Appalachian Mountains (not far from the spring), and on an underlying geological bedrock formation which contains tiny amounts of uranium and other radioactive element which emit radon gas and ionizing radiations into the local environment. This is quite normal for a mountainous region, and the levels of background radiation in my home are normal also for such a region.

I need to warn you that all readings offered below are merely one-shot sample readings which were taken over a single two-minute to four-minute observation period per sample (all readings converted to the same time base to allow comparison across samples) , and may not be typical; each measurement was taken for two minutes only, and since radioactive emission is a very random occurrence, it is entirely possible for one two minute period to show levels of radiation from a sample far higher or far lower than the average levels which would might be observed over a week or more. The same general principle is true of radiation levels in apples, persimmons, kitty litter clay, urine from a person, cat poop from your cat, etc.

Measured values follow, sampling period was two to four minutes per sample for samples measured on 10/29/2004: 

  • AVERAGE background radiation at my remote mountain wilderness home in Central Western Maryland (walls, floor, air): 100 
  • Unscented pure clay kitty litter from supermarket, purchased 8/2004: 148 
  • Agricultural rock dust from Utah: 155 
  • Agricultural paramagnetic rock dust: 120 
  • Human nutritional supplement clay from Wyoming: 137 
  • Poultry granite grit from NC (fine grade): 180 
  • GraniGrit poultry granite grit from NC, developer/layer (coarse): 105 
  • Pickling Lime (calcium hydroxide): 133 
  • Eggshells from my free-range chickens: 150 
  • Clay nutritional supplement tablets high in trace elements from NV: 125 
  • Fresh ripe organic persimmon fruit from local natural food co-op: 153 
  • A "hot" spot found on a plasterboard wall in a modern office building (built 1998) in Columbia, MD, measured in 1999: 560 
  • A friend's kitty litter box and cat poop therein, circa 1999: 440 
  • Fireplace ash, from Frederick, MD USA-area wood: 150 to 380 
  • Water at Spoutn Spring: 132 
  • Soil and rock surrounding Spoutn Spring: 89 to 105
Bottom line: No excessive levels of radiation were found at the spring or in the spring water as it exits the spring (measured above the spout pipe.) All radiation levels found were well within normal range.

Some Physical Measures of the Spring Water
TDS of the water ranges from 12 to 47, with median values at around 30 to 36 during dryer periods of the year. pH is somewhat variable, dependent upon relative contributions from shallow artesian near-surface runoff water (usually highest during and just after heavy rainfall) and water from much deeper and much more stable sources, but the pH usually ranges between 6.8 and 6.9. Water temperature ranges from 36 degrees F to 55 degrees F, dependent upon time of year.

The water flow is very robust and stable; this spring exhibits strong flow even during the most severe droughts.

The Spring is Not Far from Fort Detrick -- Any Danger of Pollution from Toxic Dumping There? Fort Detrick, operated by the US Army, is located on the same road on which the spring is located, but about 7.5 miles further downhill, and nearer to the city center, and within city limits. As local residents are well aware, Fort Detrick had been a large bioterror and weaponry research center for much of the 1900s, and there have been a number of reports in the media about hazardous toxic waste dumps and trenches which have been found on the grounds of the various campuses of Fort Detrick in Frederick; the media has further reported that some of these have been found at times to be highly contaminated with toxic wastes, including organochloride cleansers and solvents and also chemicals used in making explosives. Indeed, several wells and springs, including a spring located on a local farm just a short distance from Fort Detrick, were reported in the late 1990s by the local media to be highly contaminated with certain organochloride solvent toxins from the toxic waste trenches on the grounds of Fort Detrick. Because of the above facts, people sometimes ask me if there is some chance that some of those toxins from old dumps on the grounds of Fort Detrick could end up in the water coming from Spoutn Spring. My reply is that this is highly unlikely. Fort Detrick is located at an elevation of about 370 feet. The spring is located 7.5 miles northwest of Fort Detrick, and as a drive along the road from Fort Detrick to the spring will demonstrate, the spring is located at a much higher elevation than the grounds of Fort Detrick. Indeed, the entire 7.5 mile drive from Fort Detrick to the spring is a steady climb uphill, and since the spring is located at an elevation of about 740 feet, it is at least 370 feet higher above sea level than is Fort Detrick, and even higher than that above the underground trenches which had been used for dumping toxic waste there. Further, although the "mouth" or outlet of the spring is located at an elevation of approximately 875 feet, the terrain which feeds the spring is at an even higher elevation than that, and likely averages at least 1,200 feet above sea level, making it about 800 feet of more above any toxic waste dumps at Fort Detrick. Better, almost all of the "watershed" terrain which apparently feeds the aquifer supplying the spring is likely located, on average, about 10 miles or more from Fort Detrick, and often further. 

The above information is more than enough to convince me that the water from the spring does not contain any toxins from reported toxic waste dumps and trenches at Fort Detrick. Does that mean that this is a 100% guarantee that the water from the spring is free of those toxins? No. There have been several well-known cases -- albeit rare -- where toxins from toxic waste dumps managed to contaminate aquifers (aka the "water table") and then migrate uphill for many hundreds of vertical feet, and for at least ten horizontal miles, eventually contaminating aquifers -- and, concomitantly, contaminating wells and springs fed by those aquifers -- at some distance from the origin, and at a higher elevation above sea level (technically, any interconnected aquifers -- even at a distance -- could also be considered to be one continuous and contiguous aquifer, but the discussion herein assumes some degree of independence between the aquifers in the example.) However, such cases of uphill and distant toxin migration via aquifers are very rare, and, as you would guess, are due to extremely rare and unique geological conditions. It is highly unlikely that such would be the case with Spoutn Spring. In any case, the tests performed by the County Health Department on the spring water-- and such tests more and more nowadays do tend to examine water for such contaminants -- have never been reported by the articles in the local newspaper to have been found to contain any such contaminants.

Care of the Parking Lot and the Area Around the Spring If you are a someone who uses the spring, please be extra careful to treat the much-traveled parking lot and spring area with care, and not to litter or to leave behind old containers or other debris.

Also, and it should not be necessary to have to say this, but I have witnessed acts by spring visitors which prove otherwise: do not flush the reservoir behind the spring with any kinds of chemicals, disinfectants or bleach, and do not attempt to wash or rinse your buckets or other containers at the spring site using soaps, chemical disinfectants or bleaches. These substances end up contaminating the small stream which drains the spring and also the creek which it feeds, killing plants, fish, water animals and insects, and destroying the ecosystem. Worse, all the creeks and streams in the area, including the stream formed by the spring effluent, eventually end up in the Chesapeake Bay, which has already been heavily damaged by pollution. Because of the Chesapeake Bay drainage, anyone caught using soaps, detergents, chemicals, disinfectants or bleaches at, near or below the spring are subject not only to arrest and fines for illegal dumping and pollution, but also face the higher fines and jail terms imposed for polluting the Chesapeake Bay.

Lastly, much as I have mentioned above, on weekends it is not unusual to see three cars parked abreast -- as many as will fit -- in the parking area across the road from the spring, and two more cars parked/stopped in the uphill (westbound) lane of the road, totally blocking the lane. I should not have to mention this, since it should be obvious, but it is totally illegal in this state to park in the middle of the lane of traffic, and worse, you could also cause a serious accident if you were to do so!

An Update as of Late 2009
As mentioned above, there was at one time a makeshift parking lot for spring visitors located across the street from the spring and downhill from it, but the county eventually closed the parking lot by blocking access to much of it with large boulders because so many spring visitors, particularly urban and suburban folks from nearby cities, were dumping their household garbage there and were even washing their cars (yes, detergents and all....) there.

Where is the Spring Located? How Do I Get There? It is not my intention on this informational webpage to advertise the spring, nor is it my intention to attract more visitors to it. Rather, this page has been designed as a service to those who already know of and use the spring, whether locals, or "commuters" or long-distance "pilgrims" who make the drive to the spring from the DC/NoVA area and from eastern Pennsylvania and Philadelphia. In any case, the spring and its exact location has been mentioned for a long time on a number of websites devoted to homebrewing beer (many homebrewing enthusiasts insist upon using water from wild springs in their brewing), and aquariums (some aquarium keepers insist upon using only natural spring water in their tanks) and on some raw food websites (many raw foodists tend to prefer to drink water from wild springs), and, the spring and its location have also been listed on the FindaSpring website, at , for a number of years. However, I personally prefer not to disclose the exact location of the spring here, as the sole purpose of this page is to provide some interesting information about the spring to those who are already using it. Those who know where it is, know where it is. Those who are meant to know where it is will find it; it is not too hard to find, especially given the information present on many websites which have mentioned this spring for many years. By the way, the photo of the butterfly to the left was taken in May 2004, just yards from Spoutn Spring; there are many butterflies in the area in spring and summer.  

Other Roadside Springs Along the Same Road Un-named Spring #1 - developed, with a "pipe" or "spout" Just about a hundred yards up the road from the spring, on the same side of the road, there is a smaller, unnamed seasonal spring which tends to flow only during the seasons of fall, winter and much of springtime. It consists of a folded makeshift "pipe" made out of folded iron sheeting sticking horizontally out of a hillside embankment near the road (as with Spoutn Spring, on the right as you travel uphill), and it is well marked with a piece of ceramic clay pipe and several logs, all lying below the "spout", so it is not easy to miss. Any precautions noted for Spoutn Spring apply to this spring as well, and, particularly, any health cautions should be taken even more seriously than for Spoutn Spring, because the flow rate of this unnamed spring is much smaller and it is seasonal, indicating that the water source is primarily surface water rather than water from a deep, clean and stable aquifer. Nonetheless, this spring has it's die-hard aficionados, some of whom have gone to modest efforts to mark the spring and to maintain it over the years. By the way, the accompanying photo shows the 3 or 4 logs near the roadside which mark this spring, and also the section of ceramic flue pipe (upper left) which has been placed by "spring fans" just below the opening of the spring, largely hidden by leaves -- the opening is a folded piece of metal, forming a makeshift pipe, emerging from the earth of the embankment at a slight downhill angle.

Un-named Spring #2 - undeveloped A short distance -- about 200 feet -- above the un-named spring discussed above, on the same side of the road, but about 10 feet in from the road's edge, is an "undeveloped" spring -- "undeveloped" meaning that no one has made any effort to emplace a pipe or spout to make it easier to access a flow of clean water. This spring has a stronger and more steady flow than the unnamed #1 spring discussed above -- at least when it is flowing -- but, like un-named spring #1, this spring is very much seasonal (although there are some wet years when it tends to flow almost year-round). The flow from this spring meanders down the embankment to the ditch which travels along the side of the road. Using a small length (about 2 feet) of portable 1/2" or 3/4" rigid plastic pipe, it is possible to insert the pipe at an angle into the opening in the soil in order to get a reasonable flow of clean water without the debris encountered if you were to try to collect the water as it exits the ground.

Other Nearby Springs - all undeveloped There are three other springs on the same side of the road, and all within a few hundred yards of Spoutn' Spring (all uphill from it on the road) and the other springs mentioned above. However, all are small, undeveloped (no pipes or spouts) and almost all are seasonal, meaning they tend to dry up in summer and dry seasons. There are also two more year-round springs located along the roadside about a half-mile about Spoutn Spring, and again on the same side of the road, but each has a rather low flow rate and it is difficult to collect significant amounts of clean water due to the way that the water exits the ground. 

There are dozens, if not hundreds, more springs in the surrounding region, but these are not near the road and rather, are scattered in the wilderness. Many are located within 50 or 60 feet of the creek (on the other side of the road from the roadside springs), or are so powerful that they actually create minor year-round creeks which feed the main creek. Even if you are able to find them, most of them are not in a setting where is it is easy to extract clean water -- the water from such springs often emerges from beneath trees or rocks without any appreciable "waterfall" action which would allow easy collection.

Isn't The Whole Area of the Frederick Watershed Around the Spring Famous, or Infamous, for Some Rumors about Anthrax and a Pond?
Yes, it is true that the FBI twice explored and once fully drained and excavated a pond just 2 miles up the same road (the road on which I live) as part of their ongoing investigation into the terrorist anthrax attacks. And, yes, the road -- Hamburg Road -- was twice blockaded at each end in early 2003 for days at a time to restrict traffic as the FBI did their searches of the ponds. Apparently, they had received a tip from someone that a person whom they suspected of carrying out the anthrax mailings may have dumped some of his/her anthrax making equipment in the bottom of a pond in this area. Despite searches of three ponds and draining of one pond, apparently nothing definitive was ever found, according to the media. The Frederick Watershed, also known as the Catoctin Watershed, within which the spring as well as the ponds in question are located, has lots of ponds, and is quite rural and secluded. By the way, the creek which drains those ponds which were searched by the FBI runs parallel to the road alongside which the spring lays, but on the other side of the road, and about 30 yards downhill from the road and the spring.

What Are Some Other Names by Which Spoutn Spring is Known? Spoutn Spring, which is located in a wilderness area along a roadside in the unincorporated outer limits of Frederick, Maryland (MD), has been locally known also by the following names as well: Spoutn' Spring, Spout Spring, Spouting Spring, Spoutin Spring, Yellow Spring -- some even call it simply "The Healing Spring". As noted earlier, the name Yellow Spring is a mis-nomer.

Lastly, are There Any Hot Springs or Warm Springs in the Area? Hot springs and warm springs happen to be among my favorite kinds of springs, and, despite some careful research, I have been unable to find any evidence of any true hot springs located anywhere in the state of Maryland or any surrounding states (there is one almost-exception, a warm spring in Berkeley Springs, WV, which we will discuss in a moment...). The local geology on the East Coast simply does not tend to support such things, unlike the geology of many areas in the West, the Rockies and Far Mid-West in the USA, where there are over 1,200 known hot springs. These Western hot springs are ubiquitous due to the presence in that region of pools of molten magma which lie relatively close to the surface and are able to heat water in nearby aquifers, thus producing hot springs. In contrast, the East Coast and much of the East and Midwest (except for a few spots which produce a handful of hot springs in the Ozarks in Arkansas and three hot springs in the Black Hills of South Dakota) lie on much older geological formations, and any pools of molten magma are buried far below the surface of the earth, and thus relatively unavailable to heat the water in most aquifers. However, there are a few known hot springs in the East, about 46 of them, but none of them would likely qualify as true "hot" springs, due to their relatively "warm" temperatures, and, rather are likely better described as "warm springs".

And, if it is any consolation, one of those known warm springs is located not too far away from the Frederick, Maryland area-- it can be found in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia (WV). The presence of this warm spring has apparently been known for hundreds of years, and, interestingly, its presence does NOT indicate that the local geology is rather unique and more like that of the West, where the Earth's crust and mantle are relatively thin and layers of underlying hot magma are close to the surface. Rather, this spring is very unique, and studies have shown the the geological processes involved are similar to those found in the other 45 warm springs in the East, where the water from a nearby aquifer perhaps a dozen or more miles (at times up to 100 or more miles away) away is forced to flow downward to a point perhaps a mile deep below the surface of the earth -- where the rocks are relatively warm from magma activity below -- and then the water is again forced to return to the surface, to emerge in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. The diagram of the flow for the warm spring at Berkeley Springs looks like a giant "V" -- with the water starting in an aquifer a dozen or more miles away (to the west, if I remember correctly) being forced downward to a depth of nearly a mile or more, and then returning to the surface in Berkeley, West Virginia. Such a geologic phenomenon is apparently quite rare, and as mentioned before, there seem to be about 46 such known warm springs in the East.

A Solicitation and Note

At this time, this page is one of the first spring-specific pages on my Fun Springs website, devoted to interesting wild springs and healing springs from across North America. If you know of other interesting wild springs such as:

  • healing springs or mystical springs 
  • wild springs which produce high-quality water
  • springs which are reputedly fed from extremely deep water sources which are claimed to supply primordial water or primal water 
in North America in which you think other folks might be interested, please feel free to drop me a line at -- I will be happy to incorporate such information.
Some Photos of Flora and Fauna in the
Surrounding Catoctin Mountains

If you are interested in seeing professional photos of the landscape, animals and plants in the Catoctin mountains immediately surrounding the spring, you may wish to check out some photos taken by Bob Cammarata, a wildlife photographer based in Baltimore who spends much of his time shooting photographs in these mountains -- he is also a frequent visitor to the spring! To see some of his photos of the local area in his online photo gallery, please click here.

I have reproduced one of Bob's photos of Spoutn Spring below:

Donations and Support for this Website

This freely-offered educational website has been totally self-supported by the author, Vinny Pinto, since its inception (and many of my websites were started between August 2000 and June 2003). While I offer the content on this website freely, as a gift to all from my heart, it is quite obvious that not only did my research in these realms (and also my training, including formal education, that allowed me to offer this material in the first place) incur costs, but there are also monthly and yearly costs associated with web hosting, domain registration, etc. As you have likely noticed, I have chosen not to accept any advertising on any of my websites. As a result of all of these factors, any funds that you might choose to donate toward supporting my research work and this site will be very much appreciated.

Thus, I am seeking donations to help me to support this site -- even two dollars helps! If you wish to donate, you may do so by using your credit card, ATM card, debit card, or transfer from your bank account, via fully secure means. To make a donation, please go to the Donations and Support page ! All transactions are secure; in all cases, you get to choose the donation amount!   Thank you very much!   Vinny

A Brief Note from the Page Author/Website Owner

This page is offered as a public service only, as an informational and educational webpage. I have nothing to sell to you, and there is nothing I am trying to get you to believe, and rather, this page (or set of pages) is simply offered out of love and appreciation for the many gifts of God/Being/Source with which we are blessed on this planet. All information offered is simply reported to the best of my ability, and my reportage, opinions and preferences as stated in this page remain my own. If you choose to drink or use water from this spring or from other wild springs, you do so only at your own risk and you take sole responsibility for your choices and your actions. I take no responsibility for any outcomes you or others may encounter from drinking or using water from this spring or other wild springs, nor from streams or creeks, etc. If you have any questions or concerns about the safety of, or use of, water from any wild source (spring, stream, creek, lake, etc.) please consult with your licensed healthcare professional. 

I hope you enjoy this page! Have fun!

To learn more about the author, please click here to go to the Vinny Pinto Central Directory website.

Disclaimer and Cautionary Note
Please be sure to fully and adequately test water from any natural (aka wild) spring before you make the decision to ingest it; the quality of water found at wild springs will vary greatly, and many may contain levels of coliform bacteria that would be considered to be in excess of guidelines in your region for drinking water, and some may even contain harmful organisms such as giardia or harmful varieties of e. coli, etc. You bear the sole responsibility for deciding whether or not to drink water from any spring or other wild natural source. This website is offered simply as resource to provide some additional information on some natural wild springs that have come to my attention, and/or that I have visited personally, and the listing or mention of a spring or other natural water source on this website does not imply that the water is safe to drink, and rather, you alone bear the responsibility for deciding whether or not to ingest water from any of these springs, or whether to allow family members, pets or livestock drink such water. Further, while I do choose to drink the water from some of the springs that I have listed on this site, and while I may mention that fact at times, that does not imply that it is necessarily safe for you to ingest the same water, as individuals vary greatly in terms of their hardiness, level of health, level of immune function, and resistance to disease.

The creator of this website and any and all other persons involved in the setup and maintenance of the website take no responsibility for any outcomes associated with anyone's use of the water from any of the springs listed on this website.

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