Coosa Riverkeeper collected bacteria samples on Tuesday, June 27th, from its 20 Swim Guide sites to assess the extent to which conditions have improved since Tropical Storm Cindy trigged 5 water quality alerts on the Coosa and 14 alerts on the Cahaba River. Over the weekend, one river-goer died in the floodwaters of the Coosa River, and four individuals were rescued from the Cahaba River. Tuesday’s sampling showed conditions are improving and close to returning to average conditions. All lake sites tested below our alert threshold for bacteria. All creek sites have improved dramatically, though Big Wills and Choccolocco Creeks were still hovering a little above the moderately high E. coli alert level. Those conditions should continue to improve and the next samples will be collected on Thursday June 29th with results available Friday June 30th by noon. It is impossible to predict if those sites will be below an alert threshold by the weekend, but the current trajectory is good.
It is important for people to understand that heavy rains deteriorate water quality conditions in all waterbodies, but equally important to understand is that those conditions will improve over time and become safe for recreation again. The Coosa Riverkeeper staff encourages any concerned citizen to reach out with questions to ensure the accuracy of the information they are hearing, as some inaccurate information was spread over the weekend (including a false claim that swimming had been banned in the river). The fastest and easiest way to reach out to Coosa Riverkeeper is via Facebook Messages or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Typically, sampling is only conducted for Swim Guide on Thursdays. In response to the massive storms of late last week which caused deteriorating water quality conditions and concern amongst lake-goers, Coosa Riverkeeper deployed a rapid response team to collect additional samples. The additional effort came at a cost of approximately $400, and Coosa Riverkeeper has urged Swim Guide followers to help support keeping the program free to use by contributing $10 towards the Swim Club program which directly benefit the Coosa River Swim Guide.
To get water quality results as soon as they are available, simply text “SWIMGUIDE” to 844-83 and join over 1,250 subscribers in getting the latest information.