Monitoring Bacteria in the Rivanna River Watershed
Waste showing up in the Rivanna River Watershed can be dangerous for people and animals. That's why environmentalists say a bacteria-monitoring program is needed to improve the water.
Bacteria from warm-blooded animals including dogs, cats, cows and people periodically make its way into streams. The environmental organization called StreamWatch is working with the Rivanna Conservation Society and the Rivanna River Basin Commission to monitor bacteria levels in the watershed.
StreamWatch was awarded about $45,000 in grants to establish the program. It's important because the levels of bacteria indicate whether it's safe to canoe, swim, or even drink the water.
Leslie Middleton, executive director of the Rivanna River Basin Commission, says there's data that shows a majority of our areas streams fail Virginia's Health Standard.
"If we're talking about bacteria problems, there are many sections of the Rivanna that have been tested by state agencies and have been found to not meet acceptable levels for human contact," Middleton said.
Middleton said bacteria levels in the watershed go up and down and monitoring them will help determine how to improve water quality.
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Jennifer Von Reuter joined the NBC29 news team in June 2009 as a general assignment reporter. Prior to joining NBC29, Jennifer worked as an anchor and reporter for WHAG-TV in Hagerstown, MD. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story