E. Coli levels high in Bishop Creek

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 27, 2007

INDIAN SPRINGS &8212; Indian Springs Village officials have additional reasons to continue a water cleanup project along Bishop Creek.

Mayor Steve Zerkis said a resident brought conditions of the creek to the city&8217;s attention after a group began watching for potential pollutants. &8220;We asked the state to test the water quality because a resident noticed part s of the creek were discolored and had an unusual smell,&8221; Zerkis said.

According to minutes from the town&8217;s May council meeting, an Alabama Department of Environmental Management representative tested Bishop Creek two months ago. The results of those tests came back positive for E. Coli and fecal matter and led to an investigation by ADEM and the Shelby County Storm Water program.

Robert Kelley, the environmental manager for Shelby County, cautions that outdoor water sources are easily exposed to bacteria.

&8220;Any open body of water will have fecal form bacteria in it because wild animals defecate there,&8221; Kelley said. &8220;This is not one of those devastating problems, but it is concerning because of the high counts.&8221;

The water tested contained 3000 colonies of bacteria per 100 milliliters of water. The normal limit is 50-150 colonies. Kelley said this level of bacteria is not harmful to people or animals.

He said a resident along the creek has been contacted, but he would not elaborate on what is believed to be the cause of the contamination.

Zerkis said he thinks the bacteria growth stems from several sources including contamination from animals that live along the creek as well as a lack of rain and an excess of trash that have prevented the creek from flowing freely.

Zerkis said the city is working to prevent further contamination.