When the Alabama Department of Public Health notified the public about a sewage spill from the Town of Loxley on Monday, Mobile Baykeeper’s Program Director Cade Kistler grabbed his gear and headed out to Fish River. Kistler took samples from four locations along Fish River: County Rd 64 just down from the Loxley discharge, Highway 104, Bohemian Park (County Rd. 48), and County Rd 32. This evening Mobile Baykeeper staff were able to read the results, which showed E. coli levels of 262 MPN/100mL (most probable number of bacteria in 100mL of water) at County Rd 64, 160 MPN/100mL at Highway 104, 170 MPN/100mL at Bohemian Park, and 134 MPN/100mL at County Rd 32. The EPA E. coli threshold for swimming is 235 MPN/100mL. While these results are near, and in one case just exceeding, the EPA threshold it’s important to note they are similar to the average E. coli levels (193 MPN/100mL) Mobile Baykeeper’s S.W.I.M. sampling has found in Fish River at Bohemian Park on days without reported sewage releases or spills.
Following an alarming video posted to Facebook late Saturday night, Mobile Baykeeper has done what they do best: investigate potential pollution. Executive Director Casi Callaway received the video on Sunday and called Fairhope Utilities to report a potential sewage spill. On Monday, Program Director Cade Kistler, Program Coordinator Meredith Diskin, and AmeriCorps Patrol member Sarah Asher went out to investigate. Today they were able to read the water samples they took, which all showed bacteria levels below the EPA threshold. The identification of the substance remains unclear.