“Whether you know it or not, you have a premier water monitoring program here,” said Eric Reutebuch, associate director for Alabama Water Watch in Auburn. “This is a fabulous program here on Logan Martin.”
Data recorded by LMLPA water monitors have been sent to Alabama Water Watch each month since 1993.
“It is a very impressive data base for Logan Martin,” Reutebuch told LMLPA members at a recent meeting at the Pell City Civic Center. “If ya’ll weren’t monitoring, we wouldn’t have the data.”
He said there are many requests for the information collected by LMLPA.
Isabella Trussell, who oversees the LMLPA water monitoring program, said the non-profit organization has 35 certified water monitors and currently 29 active monitors go out once a month to collect water chemistry data.
“They do a wonderful job,” Trussell said.
LMLPA water monitors are the first defense in making sure water quality standards remain at acceptable levels on Logan Martin Lake.
Bacteriological data is collected from water samples at swimming areas on the lake, including the swimming area at Lakeside Park. Monitors test for the E. coli bacteria, which can cause sickness or even death.
Reutebuch said he would like to see more Alabama Department of Environmental Management side-to-side testing done with the city at Lakeside Park.
He said the city and LMLPA methods of testing for E.coli differ but both are Environmental Protection Agency approved methods.
Reutebuch said Canada geese should not be around public swimming areas.
“Don’t feed the geese,” he said. “You don’t want them around your beach area.”
He said E. coli can remain in sediments at the bottom of the lake or in sandy beaches.
The source of the E. coli bacteria found at Lakeside Park was never identified, but city officials at one time suspected water samples collected by LMLPA after rain events had elevated levels of the E. coli bacteria because of geese in the park.
City manager Patrick Draper said the city took steps to eliminate the E. coli problem at Lakeside Park.
He said in June the U.S. Department of Agriculture removed 148 Canada geese from the park area.
Draper said a beaver dam upstream from the park was also destroyed.
He said the park’s restroom facilities were ruled out as a possible source of the contamination.
Draper said the city completed water testing throughout the summer, and the levels of E. coli never exceeded unacceptable levels.
He said if levels were elevated, the city would have closed the swimming area at Lakeside Park.
Draper said he believes the E. coli contamination could have come from more than one source.
Draper said the beaver dam held stagnated water and when there was a rain event the stagnated water would flow to the park area.
He said since the removal of the beaver dam water can flow freely, preventing the stagnation of the water upstream from the park.
Contact David Atchison at email@example.com.