What is E. coli?
E. coli is a bacteria found in human and animal feces, that if ingested or enters the body through an alternate route, can cause illness when present in concentrations above a certain level. Thanks to an Embrace a Stream Grant from the Bluegrass chapter of Trout Unlimited, HCC is partnering with Cumberland Hill Neighborhood Association to test the levels of E. coli in West Hickman Creek through the months of April - August 2023.
Is it safe to be in the water?
The LFUCG Division of Water Quality benchmark limit for E. coli is 676 MPN/100mL. Any amount above this limit pose a danger to human health. In the watershed wide sampling performed by LFUCG as part of the research for the West Hickman Watershed Management Plan (WHWMP), E. coli samples exceeded the benchmark more than any other pollutant. However, E. coli levels even lower, specifically at 235 MPN/100mL are associated with 36 illnesses per 1,000 persons swimming or playing in the water. As levels exceed 235, the illness rate goes up. Thus the 235 MPN/100mL is what many state use as a "beach action value" or level at which advisories warn the water is unsafe for human contact, as recommended by U.S. EPA.
This monitoring will add to data provided by the WHWMP by sampling at Veterans Park, one of the most popular areas in the watershed for citizens to interact directly with the stream. The design of the tests aims to provide community friendly sampling methods to empower neighborhoods to keep an eye on E. coli levels in their backyards.
The first public meeting for this project occurred on April 29th. Neighbors from the Cumberland Hill
Neighborhood Association met to hear a presentation on the impact of pet waste and fertilizers on water quality and then learned how to sample the stream with Coliglow testing kits.
We will be lining up volunteers to test the levels of e-coli in the creek twice a month from May - Aug 2023. If you are interested in participating, please use the respective links below to sign up for one or more of the eight sampling days and to log and view test results.
Water Testers Needed!
View Test Results
Questions: Contact Liz Knapp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 859-230-7561