Swim Guide Results for the Green River – July 10

Each Thursday afternoon throughout the spring, summer and fall, the Green Riverkeeper releases new, up-to-date bacteria monitoring results for six monitoring sites at public access points within the Green River Basin. Results are posted to the Swim Guide website at theswimguide.org – the public’s best resource for knowing which streams and river recreation areas are safe to swim in, and which have failed to meet safe water quality standards for bacteria pollution.

The Swim Guide lists each testing site as either passing or failing according to the EPA limit for E. coli in recreational waters of 235 cfu (or colony forming units) per 100 milliliters.

The results from testing on Wednesday, July 10 showed all six sites at clean levels well under the EPA standard for health. However, it’s important to remember that a water sample shows us a snapshot in time and conditions can change quickly. Bacteria levels often increase in the 48 hours after rain events. River users should be mindful of the rain and stormwater runoff.

Green Riverkeeper Gray Jernigan: 

Water quality in the Green River watershed has been looking really good for the past four weeks thanks to the lack of significant sustained rainfall that would cause runoff. As always, water samples are just a snapshot in time and conditions can change quickly, so be mindful if getting in the water after a heavy rain when the water looks muddier. We sample the water each week to give people the information they need to make an informed decision about how, where, and when to get on the water based on their personal risk tolerance.

Samples are collected on Wednesdays, processed using the Idexx system, incubated for 24 hours, and the results are analyzed and posted on Thursday afternoons. Testing is conducted on the Green River at Pot Shoals Road and at Fishtop Access and Big Rock Access on Green River Cove Road. Other sites in the watershed include the Big Hungry River at Big Hungry Road, Cove Creek at the Bradley Falls Trailhead on Holbert Cove Road, and Lake Adger Marina. Results are available on the Swim Guide website (theswimguide.org) or on the smartphone app, available for Android and Apple iphones. 

E. coli bacteria makes its way into our rivers and streams from sewer/septic leaks and stormwater runoff – especially runoff from animal agricultural operations with substandard riparian buffers. E. coli can also indicate the presence of other more harmful microbes, such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Shigella, and norovirus. Heavy rains and storms often result in spikes in E. coli contamination, increasing the risk to human health. Contact with or consumption of contaminated water can cause gastrointestinal illness, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic, and wound infections. The most commonly reported symptoms are stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and low-grade fever.

In general, waterways that are located in more remote areas or near protected public lands that lack a lot of agriculture, development or industrial pollution sources are the cleanest and will be less affected by stormwater runoff. Areas closer to development and polluting agricultural practices are much more heavily impacted.

About MoutainTrue:

MountainTrue is Western North Carolina’s premier advocate for environmental stewardship. We are committed to keeping our mountain region a beautiful place to live, work and play. Our members protect our forests, clean up our rivers, plan vibrant and livable communities, and advocate for a sound and sustainable future for all residents of WNC. MountainTrue is home to the Broad Riverkeeper, French Broad Riverkeeper, Green Riverkeeper, and Watauga Riverkeeper — the protectors and defenders of their respective watersheds. www.mountaintrue.org

About Waterkeeper Alliance:

Waterkeeper Alliance is a global movement uniting more than 300 Waterkeeper Organizations and Affiliates around the world, focusing citizen advocacy on issues that affect our waterways, from pollution to climate change. Waterkeepers patrol and protect over 2.5 million square miles of rivers, streams and coastlines in the Americas, Europe, Australia, Asia, and Africa. For more information please visit: www.waterkeeper.org

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