CRBI starts monitoring bacteria level in Etowah River
Article Published in Rome News Tribune 04/23/11
The Coosa River Basin Initiative is looking to keep the public informed about the amount of bacteria in the Etowah River with the new river monitoring program the group launched this week.
CRBI Executive Director and Riverkeeper Joe Cook said volunteers will conduct weekly bacteria monitoring at three sites in Bartow and Floyd counties now through September.
Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division has identified most of the Etowah River from Allatoona Dam to Rome as “polluted” because of high bacteria levels. The primary cause of the pollution is believed to be stormwater runoff from urban and suburban areas and agricultural operations. Spills from sewage systems can also contribute to high bacteria levels.
CRBI will conduct weekly monitoring for e-coli bacteria at the U.S. 411 bridge in Bartow County, at Grizzard Park at the Rome bypass and at the Second Avenue bridge in Rome.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers e-coli levels below 126 colony forming units per 100 milliliters (cfu/ml) safe for recreation, including swimming. Under such levels, the EPA would expect eight illnesses for every 1,000 swimmers.
Tests conducted Tuesday and released at the end of the week show average levels of 108 cfu/ml for the three testing sites. At U.S. 411 in Bartow County, levels were 63.7; at the Rome bypass and Grizzard Park, levels were 131.4; and at Second Avenue in Rome levels were 129.6.
“We run regular canoe and kayak trips on the Etowah, and it’s rare that we don’t get out and play in the water. When we do this we always get questions about the health of the river,” said David Promis, program coordinator at CRBI. “Our early tests suggest that all is well. But, generally bacteria levels are higher during the hottest days of summer.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT JOE COOK or DAVID PROMIS at 706-232-2724 or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com