Swim Guide

Every summer from Memorial Day until Labor Day, you can count on Coosa Riverkeeper to help your family get the skinny before you dip on the Coosa by testing water quality at popular places on the river. 

IS IT SAFE TO SWIM?

Jumping into your favorite swimming hole during the summer should be the easiest decision you make all year. That’s why we dedicate our Thursdays & Friday’s from Memorial Day until Labor Day to test the Coosa’s most popular places to dip. Because, no one should have to gamble with their health when it comes to splashing in the river. Check out where we test in your neck of the woods and learn what our data means…

JUST LIKE A TRAFFIC LIGHT.

JUMP IN!

If you see a green alert, it is all good! Water quality at the site has low levels of E.coli present during the time the sample was collected.

HOLD UP!

There is a moderate amount of E.coli present in the sample that was collected. Proceed with caution--cover all cuts/bites, and consider not putting your head underwater.

WAIIIIIT!

High concentration of E. coli detected. The standard for E.coli is 235 cfu/100mL. EPA estimates at that rate 8 in 1,000 people will contract an illness.

30 SITES. 16 WEEKS.

Check out this week’s results & data table

WHAT WE'RE TESTING FOR:

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BY THE NUMBERS: 2019

We issued 69 water quality alerts.

GET THE SKINNY ON SWIM GUIDE:

we share our results weekly through social media, e-mail blasts, text message alerts, media alerts, and through word of mouth!

FAQ

get the skinny on our most frequent questions and answers

The goal of this program is to provide YOU with information about water quality conditions at popular recreation sites on the river so you can make informed decisions for where you and your family enjoy the Coosa during the summer. The most common question we get from our members is “Is it safe to swim?” Before this project, there was hardly any water quality data at these swimmin’ holes on the Coosa. Now there is!

Our results only represent a small bottle full of water just below the surface at one instant in time in a large river that is constantly changing. River conditions fluctuate on daily and seasonal cycles. They change dramatically during rain events or pollution events. Generally you will observe that through the hot, dry spells of summer, the results don’t really change a whole lot week to week. However, if it rains after we collect a sample, river conditions will certainly change. Typically they change for the worse, and the extent to which they worsen depends on a lot of factors particular to each site (some sites worsen dramatically, other sites only worsen a small amount). Unfortunately we only have the resources to monitor each of these sites one day a week. We cannot guarantee that water quality conditions are similar to our posted results beyond the date, time and location at which our samples were collected. You can help us collect more samples by donating to Coosa Riverkeeper! This project is made available to the general public only because of our dues-paying members. Thank them by joining them!

You can help by supporting our work financially. You can also really help by spreading the word! Share this page on Facebook or other social media with your friends and fellow river rats.

Most importantly, don’t swim in a stream contaminated with fecal matter. If you have open cuts or scrapes or nasty bug bites, you should be extra mindful of making contact with river water. Additionally, because bacteria levels are higher after a rain event, you should exercise more caution for several days after a big rain. Remember, if it has rained since we took our last sample, odds are bacteria levels are now higher than the posted results.

No. Neither the Alabama Department of Environmental Management nor the Alabama Department of Public Health conduct this type of water quality monitoring program. While this type of testing is performed by the State on our coastal beaches in the Gulf, it is not performed on inland freshwater lakes and streams. We think that’s a shame, so we’re spending our Thursdays in the summer testing your favorite swimmin’ holes to let you know how they are!

DAM OPERATING SCHEDULES

STREAM FLOW GAUGE

Thank you to our funders:

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SWIM GUIDE

$10 covers the cost of ONE bacteria sample.

MAKE A SPLASH & JOIN SWIM CLUB TODAY!