Press Release – May 18, 2020
For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Early, Satilla Riverkeeper
With Memorial Day weekend upon us, it is a sure sign that summer is about to be in full swing in South Georgia. As we begin to emerge from our shelters and seek to return to our summertime activities, it is important to know if your favorite swimming hole is safe before you take the plunge.
Satilla Riverkeeper and a team of dedicated volunteers conduct water quality sampling at 9 public landings on the Satilla River Water Trail. One of the parameters volunteers test is bacteria. The concentration of Escherichia coli (E. coli), a species of coliform bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract and feces of mammals, can be an indicator of the presence of other harmful bacteria or pathogens in the water.
Bacteria monitoring seeks to provide real-time information for safe recreational activities in and around the water, and results are available on the SwimGuide app for iPhone or Android, or at SwimGuide.org.
A green “pin” at a swimming location indicates that the most recent bacteria sampling was within safe-swimming standards. A red pin indicates E. coli levels exceeded the safe swimming standards or there is not enough recent data to make a determination.
Contact or consumption of water containing elevated E. coli levels may cause a variety of illnesses. Symptoms could range in severity from mild gastrointestinal discomfort such as diarrhea or nausea, to serious complications in small children and the elderly. Sources of E. coli range from wildlife and livestock to leaking pipes and failing septic systems.
“It’s important that our community has access to clean water for swimming, boating, fishing, and paddling,” said Laura Early, Satilla Riverkeeper. “It is just as important for our community to have access to the information that let’s them know when water quality might pose a health risk.”
In addition to monitoring bacteria levels, volunteers use the protocols developed by Georgia Adopt-A-Stream to monitor dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, and conductivity. These water quality parameters serve to provide an early warning to the potential of nonpoint source contaminants in the Satilla River. Volunteers sample sites along the Satilla River on a monthly basis and report the data to Adopt-A-Stream (https://adoptastream.georgia.gov ).
If you are interested in becoming a water quality monitoring volunteer, please contact Trish DuBose, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Satilla Riverkeeper is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 2004 whose mission is to protect, restore, and educate about the unique and beautiful, blackwater Satilla River. To learn more about the Satilla Riverkeeper, membership opportunities, and how you can get involved with protecting YOUR Satilla River, visit www.SatillaRiverkeeper.org.