Daphne's Coastal Water Quality Monitoring
As part of our continued commitment to protecting the health and welfare of our community, the City of Daphne and Daphne Utilities have enlisted help from an independent environmental consulting firm to implement a bacterial water quality sampling plan. Water quality samples will be collected by the independent testing lab along the bay in three (3) locations and tested for the presence of fecal coliform bacteria. Daphne’s May Day Park is monitored and tested separately by ADEM. The results will be posted/linked on this website no later than two business days after being received, unless noted otherwise.
Latest Water Quality Status
Understanding the Issue
What is it? Fecal coliform, E. coli, and Enterococci are bacterium that originate in the intestines of warm-blooded mammals, such as livestock, pets, birds, and humans. Sources of fecal coliform contamination in waterbodies can come from the following: agricultural practices where animal waste is not properly filtered or contained, seepage or untreated discharge from septic tanks and or sewage treatment facilities, and storm water in urban areas where dog, cat and other animal waste can be transported into the storm drains during rain events.
Why is this important? The presence of fecal coliform bacteria is used as an indicator for the presence of disease causing pathogens. Illnesses associated with fecal coliform pathogens can range from upset stomach, diarrhea, and rash to more severe illnesses such as hepatitis and typhoid fever.
Is it in our Bay? Is it a problem? Illnesses related to fecal coliform pathogens are rare. Less than 1 in 100,000 people will become ill from recreational waters. Regardless, Mobile Bay is a valued asset for our community and the City of Daphne and Daphne Utilities are working together to ensure it stays that way. The implementation of this coastal waterway bacterial sampling plan will help us determine whether fecal coliform bacteria is present along the Eastern Shore.
Does rain contribute to the problem?
Stormwater runoff is generated from rain events that flow over land or impervious surfaces, such as paved streets, parking lots and building rooftops, and does not soak into the ground. The runoff picks up pollutants like pet waste, trash, chemicals, oils and dirt/sediment that can harm our rivers, streams, lakes and coastal waters. Ultimately the source of bacteria in urban stormwater is animal waste. Identifying the specific source is more challenging and likely varies with location and land use. Typical sources include domestic pets (dogs and cats) and wildlife, particularly birds.
How are we exposed? People can be exposed to pathogens when eating contaminated shellfish or by accidentally swallowing water while swimming in contaminated waters. In addition, harmful pathogens can enter into the body through small cuts, abrasions, or through a persons’ nose, mouth, or ears.
If bacteria is present, what can we do about it? There are a number of actions that can be taken to help reduce the amount of fecal coliform bacteria that can make their way into our streams and bay. Among these are:
- Inspect and ensure septic tanks are working properly
- Protecting natural, water filtering vegetation along stream banks
- Ensure public sewage collection systems are operated properly and have adequate capacity
What can I do? All of us in the Daphne community live, work and play in close proximity to a number of creeks and streams which flow to Mobile Bay. We must work together to ensure our local waterways are protected now and for future generations. Your public agencies cannot do it alone. We need your help. Follow these guidelines to assist us in keeping our waterways healthy:
- Pick up after your dogs and cats. Whether its at a dedicated dog park or in your own yard, pet waste needs to be picked up, bagged and disposed of in your garbage.
- Protect our stormwater systems by keeping leaves, debris, and litter out of gutters and storm drains. When heavy rains can’t flow through our stormwater systems fast enough, the rainwater ends up in the sanitary sewer system. These systems are not designed to handle rainwater and sometimes overflow a mixture of sewage and rainwater. Keeping debris out of the stormwater system will help keep the rainwater flowing properly.
- Don’t put anything down your house drains but the "Three Ps" (pee, poop, and paper). Sanitary sewer systems sometimes develop blockages which cause sewer overflows. These blockages are often cause by fats, oils, and grease (FOG) from food waste. (Daphne Utilities shares information here on preventing grease related overflows and backups.)
- The same thing applies if you have a septic tank. Failing septic tanks from blockages and damage can allow untreated sewage to seep into the ground where it will get into our local waterways. Have your septic tank inspected annually and pumped out on a regular basis.
For more information, contact Environmental Programs at 251-620-1500.
RESULTS ADVISORY KEY
|"Green" = Acceptable The most recent testing of water from this site revealed Enterococci levels below the EPA recommended threshold. Water quality is acceptable.|
|"Yellow" = Re-Test The most recent testing of water from this site revealed Enterococci levels above the EPA recommended threshold. There may be an increased risk of illness associated with swimming at this site. Because elevated bacteria levels are often transient and usually fall quickly, this site is now being retested. The status will be revised to red or green based on the results of the retest.|
|"Red" = Re-Test Repeat testing of this site has again revealed Enterococci levels over the EPA recommended threshold. There may be an increased risk of illness associated with swimming at this site. This site will be retested until "acceptable" results are found.|
- ADEM website.http://adem.alabama.gov/programs/coastal/beachMonitoring.cnt
- EPA’s Microbiology website. http://www.epa.gov/nerlcwww/
- Oram, B. 2014. Fecal coliform bacteria in water. Water Research Center. https://www.water-research.net/index.php/fecal-coliform-bacteria-in-water. Accessed 1 Nov 2018
- Focus on fecal coliform bacteria. 2005. Washington State Department of Ecology, Revised 02-10-010. https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/documents/0210010.pdf. Accessed 1 Nov 2018
- Minnesota Stormwater Manual. https://stormwater.pca.state.mn. us/index.php?titleBacteria_in_stormwater