Water Quality Update: Answering Your Questions

Water Quality Update: Answering Your Questions

We have had lots of questions about our Friday afternoon water quality post. We reported two different problems: 

1) Fairhope’s Outfall line has a break that could cause them to be in violation of their permit;

2) Our sampling at the Fairhope Beach last week showed high levels of enterococcus – the test for bacteria and pathogens related to sewage for our area beaches. We do NOT believe the break in Fairhope’s line was the source of the high bacteria levels, but we absolutely need the City of Fairhope to support funding to fix the broken line.

We also turned all beaches gray on the Swim Guide app (shown above) on Friday due to the Sub-Tropical Storm Alberto and its potential to dump lots of rain into Mobile Bay. Our testing has consistently shown high bacteria levels after major rainstorm. With no results since the last major rain, we err on the side of caution and ask those swimming to use caution if getting into Mobile Bay. This means we don’t recommend swimming if you’re sick, have a low or suppressed immune system, open wounds, etc. If you decide to swim, shower afterward and thoroughly wash everything that went into the Bay with you. This is obvious, but don’t drink Bay water.

We will be testing daily and report as soon as we have results to ensure our racers for the Publix Grandman Triathlon are safe to swim. To answer a few other questions -- All Mobile Baykeeper team members are trained to collect samples following Mobile Baykeeper’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for bacteriological sampling. The protocols were developed after much research, follow standard best practices, and are modeled after relevant portions of Alabama Water Watch, EPA, ADEM and other model Quality Assurance/ Quality Control (QA/QC) protocols (details listed in the SOP; email ckistler@mobilebaykeeper.org for a copy). 

Please let us know if you have more questions by calling 433-4229 or emailing Program Director Cade Kistler at ckistler@mobilebaykeeper.org. 

Note: Mobile Baykeeper's Standard Operating Procedures are constantly being updated and revised as new things are learned.