Latest Water Test Results Show High E.coli Bacteria Count

Nearly one year ago, Kewaunee Cares began its own water sampling program. Funded by the Clean Water Action Council and with a grant from the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership (LNRP), each sampling looks at four criteria: Total Coliform Bacteria, E. Coli bacteria, Nitrates and Phosphorus. The sampling sites were chosen to reveal water quality at source and exit points for the Kewaunee River, Ahnapee River and the East Twin River.

A summary table of the Kewaunee County results are shown here:  Water Sampling Results28Aug13 Sheet1

One item that stands out among all the data collected to date is the particularly high count of E. coli bacteria in the sample taken on September 28, 2013 at the intersection of County S and Maple Road. The laboratory indicated the count was so high it needed to dilute the sample 10:1 to make an accurate analysis. During the sampling period levels at this location have been at a low of less than 10 colony forming units (CFU)/100 ml to a high of 198,630 CFU/100 ml. Finding high levels of E. coli in water samples is an indicator that animal fecal bacteria are present. It doesn’t identify the particular strains of E.coli found in the sample. However, when such high counts of E.coli are revealed, further analysis would be appropriate and recommended.

As a reference for comparison, if the E.Coli count is greater than 1,000 MPN/100 ml, a beach would have to be closed. If the E.Coli count is greater than 235 MPN/100 ml, an advisory is issued. If the E.Coli count is less than 235 MPN/100 ml, no advisory is issued. (MPN refers to the most probable number of CFU (colony forming units) per 100 mL sample)  Nitrate levels <10 mg/L is safe to consume.

A review of the Kewaunee County water testing data will be presented along with long-term testing results from Door County at a meeting of the Door County League of Women Voters on September 19th at the Crossroads at Big Creek starting at 6 p.m.

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