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FOSR’s 2020 Summer E. coli Results through 07.08.2020

To get relief from the heat, people are enjoying the refreshing waters of the Shenandoah River. These are the E. coli levels of the water samples that were collected yesterday, Wednesday, July 8. If the conditions remain relatively the same as when these water samples were collected, these results may provide a baseline for determining potential health risks from exposure to harmful bacteria when recreating in the river.

FOSR 2020 Summer Quantitative E. coli Concentration Results through 07.08.2020

FOSR’s 2020 Summer E. coli Results through 06.24.2020

These are the E. coli results for the water samples that were collected yesterday, Wednesday, June 24, 2020.

FOSR 2020 Summer Quantitative E. coli Concentration Results through 06.24.2020

At the following sites, the E. Coli levels were in exceedance of the previous Virginia Water Quality Standard for primary contact recreational use for a single sample maximum of 235 E. coli colony forming units (CFUs) per 100 ml.

  • 1553.1 MPN E. coli – Manassas Run upstream of the confluence with the Shenandoah River at Morgan Ford low water bridge in Warren County
  • 579.4 MPN E. coli – Opequon Creek at Neill Road ford

In a freshwater system, these data represent a snapshot of the water quality on the date, time, and under the conditions that the water sample was collected.

FOSR’s 2020 Summer E. coli Results through 06.22.2020

Over the weekend, I observed that the Shenandoah River in the Warren and Clarke Counties area appeared higher than “normal”, flowing swiftly, and discolored/turbid with no local significant rain other than passing showers and thunderstorms.  On Monday, June 22,  I decided to collect water samples from the South Fork of the Shenandoah River at the Front Royal public boat landing, North Fork of the Shenandoah River at the Strasburg Park public boat landing, and then from the Main-stem at various locations.  It appeared that the elevated flow was coming from the South Fork of the Shenandoah River.  The E. coli levels at Front Royal public boat landing were 248.9, which exceeded the previous instantaneous Virginia water quality standard threshold of 235 E. Coli CFUs per 100ml of sample for primary recreational contact.

These are the E. coli results for the water samples that were collected yesterday, Monday, June 22, 2020.

FOSR 2020 Summer Quantitative E. coli Concentration Results through 06.22.2020

Shenandoah River at the Route 50 and Route 7 public boat launches in Clarke County

These are the Friends of the Shenandoah River’s summer E. coli testing program results for the Shenandoah River at the Route 50 and Route 7 public boat launches in Clarke County Virginia on June 3, 6, and 10.

 

Welcome Hayden!

I am glad to introduce Hayden Bauserman, a graduate of Shenandoah University Environmental Studies Program.  Hayden is doing an internship with the Friends of the Shenandoah River. He was with me in the field today learning the FOSR’s procedures for water sample collection.

Mitigation steps by Norfolk Southern Corp to reduce sediment loading in Manassas Run

Today, Wednesday, June 10, 2020, I was invited to meet with representatives from Norfolk Southern Corporation and VA Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) at Manassas Run.  Below are pictures of the steps that have been taken by Norfolk Southern Corp. to mitigate the sediment loading into Manassas Run that I previously documented.  Additional best management practices (BMPs) are going to be installed to further reduce the sediment transport into Manassas Run. 

FOSR’s 2020 Summer E. coli Results through 06.03.2020

FOSR’s Summer E. coli Testing Project at public access and recreational use areas on the Main Stem, North Fork, and South Fork of the Shenandoah River and Opequon Creek

Up until the middle of last year, Virginia’s water quality standard for freshwater beach advisories or closures was a single sample maximum of 235 E.coli CFU/100 ml of sample.  Virginia no longer has a single sample maximum or any criteria for primary recreational contact in freshwaters.

These are the E. coli concentration results for the water samples that were collected yesterday, Wednesday, June 03, 2020.  In a freshwater system, these data represent a snapshot of the water quality on the date, time, and under the conditions that the water sample was collected.

FOSR 2020 Summer Quantitative E. coli Concentration Results through 06.03.2020

FOSR 2020 Summer Quantitative E. coli Concentration Result Manassas Run 06.03.2020

Follow up testing on Manassas Run

These are the E. coli results for the water samples that were collected yesterday, Friday, May 29. The E. coli levels of the tributary, site of the high flow laden with discoloration and sediment, feeding into Manassas Run were greater than 2,419.6. The E. coli counts exceeded the maximum detectable limit of the method used for E. coli enumeration. The E. coli levels were lower in Manassas Run above the confluence with the Shenandoah River at the bridge on Morgan Ford Road compared to the levels on Wednesday, May 27. Also, the E. coli levels were lower in the river along the bank of the public boat landing.

Finding the source of the runoff into Manassas Run

I didn’t want to leave you all hanging so yesterday I went out to find the source that caused the influx of sediment-laden runoff that caused the water level of Manassas Run to raise at least 4 inches, maybe more at the peak.  Mark Frondorf, the Shenandoah Riverkeeper, and Bill Howard, with the Downstream Project, joined me yesterday in my hunt for the source. Mark is researching to see if any regulations or laws have been/are being violated.

The area circled on the map below is the catchment basin/lake that is being purposely drained into Manassas Run.  The runoff contaminated at least 3 miles of Manassas Run and then the main-stem of the Shenandoah River.

While searching for the source,  I collected water samples from Manassas Run, the tributary flowing into Manassas Run carrying the sediment, and on the main-stem of the Shenandoah River at Morgan Ford public boat landing on the southeastern side of the bridge.  The E. coli results will be posted momentarily.

I have also provided maps, videos, and pictures of this activity to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and Warren County authorities.

FOSR’s 2020 Summer E. coli Results through 05.27.2020

The E. coli results are in for the water samples that I collected and tested yesterday for the FOSR’s summer E. coli testing program. It was more than sediment that was being carried downstream in Manassas Run. The E. coli level in Manassas Run above the confluence with the Shenandoah River at the bridge on Morgan Ford Road was 1,732.9 MPN of E. coli CFU per 100mL of water sample (FW-36). The E. coli level in the Shenandoah River along the banks downstream of the confluence with Manassas Run was 920.8 (FW-35). I also collected a water sample by wading out into the river away from the disturbance. The E. coli level in this sample was 35.9, Shenandoah River mid-stream (FW-35 Mid).

FOSR 2020 Summer Quantitative E. coli Concentration Result through 05.27.2020

 
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