I wrote earlier this summer about poo at the Fairhope Beach; what I didn’t know is that the City of Fairhope started source tracking testing about the same time (after waiting on the State for seven years). I like that the City stopped waiting and funded the testing themselves, after all, it is their poo and their park.
Russ Henderson at the Mobile Press-Register wrote “Swimming advisory again issued for Fairhope public beach”:
The Baldwin County Health Department issued a public swimming advisory on Tuesday for the waters of Mobile Bay at the Fairhope Public Beach.
It is the sixth time this year that such an advisory has been issued for the Fairhope beach. Their cause is unclear.
The city has been conducting weekly tests of local waterways this summer in an effort to find out — after many years of speculation — what causes the periodic high bacterial readings found at the municipal park’s beach and duck pond.
Henderson at the MPR wrote about the source tracking effort “Fairhope seeks source of beach contamination”:
Recent tests suggest that residential areas in Fairhope whose homes remain on septic tank systems are much more likely to blame for the water contamination than feces from animals such as ducks, geese and cats that live at the park and are often fed by visitors, Mayor Tim Kant said Friday.
“This goes back to the ‘Cat-Duck War of 2000’ and earlier,” Kant said. “It’s a longstanding problem we’re trying to make progress on solving. Hopefully we will have some clearer answers soon.”
…The water samples taken since June have shown some interesting trends, Kant said.
Bacteria levels at the duck pond are always literally off the charts, with the number of colonies “too numerous to count,” according to test records.
Also, tests show higher and higher levels of bacteria as samples are taken along Fly Creek from south to north. Readings are particularly high in the area of Colonial Acres, one of the city’s older neighborhoods, where most homes remain on septic systems, according to the records.
“We ran a sewer line to Colonial Acres years ago but we never required them to hook up to it,” Kant said. “We may have to look at that again.”
Kudos to the City and Mayor Tim Kant for addressing the issue.
Closer to home, can you imagine what the poo levels must be like in the duck pond at Big Spring Park, which flows into Pinhook Creek…
The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) monitors water quality from 25 sites at Alabama beaches through the Coastal Alabama Beach Monitoring Program. Enterococci is an “indicator bacteria” that is not harmful to humans but may indicate the presence of “potential human pathogens”. To aid in my understanding, I just call it poo.