Press release form MountainTrue:
Each Thursday afternoon throughout the spring, summer and fall, the French Broad Riverkeeper releases new, up-to-date bacteria monitoring results for approximately 30 of the French Broad River’s most popular streams and recreation areas. Results are posted to the Swim Guide website at theswimguide.org — the public’s best resource for knowing which streams and river recreation areas are safe to swim in, and which have failed to meet safe water quality standards for bacteria pollution.
The Swim Guide lists each testing site as either passing or failing according to the EPA limit for E. coli in recreational waters of 235 cfu (or colony forming units) per 100 milliliters.
This Week’s Results:
Out of 31 sites tested this week, 16 sites met the EPA standard for E.coli. The cleanest access points — those with zero detection of E.coli along the French Broad River are as follows:
- Flat Creek at Montreat
- Pigeon River at Hartford
- Pigeon River at Walter’s Power Plant/Upper
The 15 sites that did not pass the EPA’s limit are as follows:
- Hap Simpson
- Glen Bridge Park
- Hominy Creek Greenway
- Hominy Creek at the Buncombe County Sports Park
- French Broad at Hominy Creek Park
- Horseshoe Boat Access
- Pearson Bridge
- Highway 191 – Mills River
- Westfeldt Park
- Mills River Boat Access
- Cane Creek at Fletcher Community Park
- Mud Creek at Brookside Camp Road
- Mud Creek at Hendersonville (7th ave)
- Spring Creek in Hot Springs, NC
- Rhododendron Creek at West Asheville Park
“This week looks a little cleaner than last week,” explains French Broad Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson. “About 52 percent of the sites we tested passed the EPA standard for E.coli. We still have not met our goal of 100 percent of the sites passing, but we got a little closer this week. Help us take action at iloverivers.org.”
Samples are collected on Wednesdays, processed using the Idexx system, incubated for 24 hours, and results are analyzed and posted on Thursday afternoons. Results are available on the Swim Guide website (theswimguide.org) or on the smartphone app, available for Android and Apple iPhones
E. coli bacteria makes its way into our rivers and streams from sewer/septic leaks and stormwater runoff – especially runoff from animal agricultural operations with substandard riparian buffers. E. coli can also indicate the presence of other more harmful microbes, such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Shigella, and norovirus. Heavy rains and storms often result in spikes in E. coli contamination, increasing the risk to human health. Contact with or consumption of contaminated water can cause gastrointestinal illness, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic, and wound infections. The most commonly reported symptoms are stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and low-grade fever.
In general, waterways that are located in more remote areas or near protected public lands that lack a lot of agriculture, development or industrial pollution sources are the cleanest and will be less affected by stormwater runoff. Areas closer to development and polluting agricultural practices are much more heavily impacted.