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The new face of E. coli monitoring

Submitted by September 30, 2011 9:52 am

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When our volunteer water quality monitoring program resumes this winter, there will be a new addition: Colilert equipment from IDEXX so that we can process our E. coli samples in-house. This is an exciting advancement for our water quality monitoring program. The ability to run the E. coli test ourselves offers the opportunity to collect more samples at a greater frequency, something which has been fiscally prohibitive until now. Thanks to ADEQ and the Watershed Improvement Planning grant extension, we were able to purchase the Colilert equipment from IDEXX, as well as an incubator and UV lamp to set up our very own Creek Crew laboratory!

While purchasing the equipment was a big investment, we think the enhanced data precision that will result from a more intensive E. coli monitoring regime will be well worth it. The benefits go beyond the fact that “more data is better;” the application of the data is where it gets exciting. The E. coli data will help us better determine where bacteria is a significant water quality problem in the watershed and what the source(s) are at those locations (sewers? septic systems? wildlife? dogs?).

This information, in addition to other chemical and physical data,  will help the Granite Creek Watershed Improvement Council design projects and Best Management Practices (BMPs) as part of the Watershed Improvement Planning project that will help improve water quality, habitat, and green spaces to make our community a healthier place to live.

Dr. Channah Rock and Kelley Riley of the University of Arizona’s Maricopa Agricultural Center came to Prescott to train us in how to use the equipment. To see staff and volunteers in action, visit the image gallery.

If you are interested in joining the Creek Crew to help with water quality monitoring, contact Amanda