Storms Affected Water Quality This Week

This was not a good week for water quality at sites tested by Mobile Baykeeper. As thunderstorms rolled through our area, we saw elevated bacteria levels at 12 of 13 sites. Only Battles Wharf in Point Clear had bacteria levels below the EPA’s threshold for safe swimming. Bacteria levels at Bohemian Park on Fish River were extremely elevated. We resampled 12 sites today and we will update our website tomorrow. Check out the map and table below or visit our website for details. 

Since storms cause bacteria laden stormwater runoff, sewage spills, and can overwhelm failing septic systems, Mobile Baykeeper recommends avoiding waterways (except Gulf beaches which almost never have high bacteria levels thanks to dilution and strong wave action) for 24-48 hours after heavy rain.Sponsor a SWIM Site on Fowl River!

We need your help! We are looking for sponsors so we can test water quality on Fowl River. ADEM currently tests near the river’s mouth but residents have asked us to add a site upriver closer to Bellingrath Gardens nearer popular swimming spots. We need your support to include this in our SWIM program. If you can, please donate today!

SWIM Map

SWIM Table

ABOUT OUR DATA

During a normal SWIM season, ADEM/ADPH (25 sites) and Mobile Baykeeper (13 sites) test weekly. Mobile Baykeeper is testing during the Covid-19 outbreak. ADEM/ADPH is currently evaluating their testing schedule and may make adjustments. 

At the 13 Mobile Baykeeper sites, except Fish River at Bohemian Park, we test for enterococci, a bacteria that best indicates fecal contamination in salty or brackish water. In Fish River at Bohemian Park, which is our only site with no tidal influence, we test for E. Coli. We base our SWIM evaluations on the EPA threshold for swimming advisories, which is 104 mpn/100 mL for enterococci and 235 mpn/100 mL for E. Coli.

Please remember to use caution in and around the water following heavy rain as sewage overflows and stormwater runoff may contain high levels of bacteria. In cases of high bacteria levels, avoid introducing open wounds to the water. If you see something of concern, please report it via the Water Rangers app


Our tests do not indicate the presence of Vibrio vulnificus, a flesh-eating bacteria that naturally occurs in warm, brackish waters. Our “safe” level refers to the level of Enterococci or E. coli, bacteria that indicate fecal contamination. Be advised that other threats may exist. Avoid entering the water with open wounds. For more information on BEACH testing and how the SWIM program works please visit our website.

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