River Monitors Collect Data on Yuba to Determine if its Safe to Swim

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Dan ChaplinResults from SYRCL’s June 2015 Safe to Swim sampling are in and all sites sampled are below state mandated thresholds for bacteria! This year, SYRCL has selected five priority sites including Bridgeport, Purdon Crossing, Edwards Crossing, Highway 49 Bridge, and Oregon Creek Swimming Hole to sample on the 2nd Saturday of every month.  Volunteer River Monitors collect standard water quality parameters along with special samples which are analyzed at Cranmer laboratory for analysis of total coliform and E-coli bacteria.

In years past, SYRCL collaborated with the State Water Resource Control Board (SWRCB) to test for bacteria contamination at popular swimming holes throughout the Yuba watershed as part of a “Safe to Swim Study.”  In 2014, SWRCB finished their report in the South Fork of the Yuba River and the North and Middle Forks, yet SYRCL wants this crucial data to continue flowing for Yuba lovers.  EPA Contact Recreation Guidelines indicate E. Coli levels should remain lower than 235 MPN/100mL and for the month of June results show that E. Coli is below this threshold at the tested sites (see graphs below).  There are no EPA guidelines for total coliform levels.  Testing will continue through August and if any concerns are found, SYRCL will follow-up with authorities immediately.

Total coliform is an indicator bacteria and refers to the entire group of bacteria known as coliform bacteria.  Different types of bacteria are naturally occurring  and harmlessly feed on dead plant and animal matter.  E. Coli is the principal sub-group of the total coliform group.  E.coli is a bacteria that is found in the intestines of all mammals, and so makes a useful measurement for indicating the presence of fecal contamination in water.  Common sources of such pollution are untreated sewer discharges, failing septic systems, pets and wildlife, storm water, ill swimmers, and improperly disposed boat wastes.  We all can help prevent this pollution of our rivers and streams by picking up after your pets at the river, avoiding swimming when ill with diarrhea, and maintaining septic tanks regularly.


e. colicoliform

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