2012 Fecal Coliform Monitoring
Volunteers from the Brodhead Watershed Association have completed the fifth summer of fecal coliform monitoring in the Brodhead Watershed.
Volunteers collected stream samples from their assigned sites 10 times over the summer and delivered the samples to Microbac Labs for testing. Funding from the PA Department of Environmental Protection paid for the analysis of the samples. DEP also trained the volunteers in proper sample collection procedures and chain of custody requirements. Nine volunteers took part in the program with Don Miller and Pat Kennedy testing 6 sites on the lower Brodhead, Sheelagh Murphy collecting samples from Lake Creek and the McMichael headwaters, Anne Fetherman testing the Cherry Creek, Darryl Speicher, Chris Perry and Geri Daley sampled the Buck Hill Creek at two sites, Bob Stevens sampled the headwaters of the Pocono Creek and Scot Run below the Great Wolf discharge and Ellen Davis testing the Swiftwater Creek at two sites and Forest Hills Run below Mt. Airy.
The best results came from Bob Stevens’ testing in the Pocono watershed with no samples exceeding the standard for swimming, or other water contact activities. Swiftwater Creek above and below Lake Swiftwater also met the swimming standard all summer.
The worst site in the watershed was Forest Hills Run with one sample showing 17,000 cfu/100 (coliform forming units per 100 ml) and four other dates exceeding the swimming standard (200cfu/100ml). At this site on Forest Hills Run, the geometric mean of 5 samples collected from 7/13/2012- 8/7/2012 was 322.16 cfu/100 mL and the geometric mean of 5 samples collected from 8/13/2012-9/6/2012 was 1195.73 cfu/100 mL.
Another poor site was the Brodhead at Glen Park where 7 of 10 samples exceeded safe limits.
The maximum fecal coliform count allowed by state regulation from May 1 to Sept. 30 is a geometric mean of 200 units per 100 milliliters of water The geometric mean is calculated from samples collected on five different days over a 30-day period. The rest of the year the maximum level permitted is a geometric mean of 2,000 units per 100 ml.
Fecal coliform bacteria are non‑disease causing organisms which are found in the intestinal tract of all warm‑blooded animals. While fecal coliform bacteria itself does do not cause disease, it’s presence means human or animal fecal waste is in the water and the waste may potential contain disease-causing pathogens.
BWA will be sending these results to the appropriate municipalities and suggesting additional testing at sites of concern.
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