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Chattahoochee Riverkeeper

Neighborhood Water Watch


CRK’s rapidly expanding and highly successful water monitor program, the Neighborhood Water Watch (NWW), is a collaborative program between CRK and neighborhood groups, schools and citizens in our watershed. The goal: improved water quality in urban streams and protection of human health in the surrounding communities, but we need your help!

Many of the streams flowing through North Georgia neighborhoods into the Chattahoochee River are not monitored and are polluted with high levels of bacteria from cracked and overflowing sewers, failing septic systems and from polluted stormwater runoff. In response to this constant threat to water quality, concerned citizens from all reaches of North Georgia are bringing water samples from their respective stations to CRK’s laboratories. There we analyze the samples for a variety of parameters, including turbidity, conductivity, optical brighteners, and, most importantly, E. coli — a bacterium found in the intestinal tract of humans and other warm-blooded animals. Elevated E. coli levels are a common indicator of sewage leaks and spills into waterways, and the data can indicate the number and type of pathogens present in the water.

Though the settlement of CRK’s 1995 lawsuit against the City of Atlanta will resolve major sewer overflow problems, there is still a need to investigate hot spot areas of contamination and track down pollution sources throughout North Georgia. Water samples collected by NWW volunteers are promptly analyzed for pollutants and any threats indicated by the tests are addressed by CRK as we work with local governments, neighborhood groups, and leaders to stop public health threats and restore our streams by assembling a pollution source tracking team and stopping contamination at the source.

All data is uploaded to CRK’s website for public viewing at www.chattahoochee.org/nww, where sampling results, graphs, location descriptions and an interactive NWW map can be easily viewed. Data is also uploaded to the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream website on a weekly basis. (It should be noted that CRK is the No. 1 AAS data contributor in Georgia!)

With the assistance of generous support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Urban Waters Grant Program, Kendeda Fund, UPS, Lush Cosmetics, and the Waterfall Foundation, we have been able to purchase IDEXX total coliform and E. coli testing lab equipment. This state-of-the art lab equipment is EPA approved and is an invaluable tool for CRK to respond to Hotline calls and identify sources of sewage contamination. Thank you to our generous donors for making this program possible.

For more information about this program and how you can get involved, contact CRK Neighborhood Water Watch Coordinator Mike Meyer at mmeyer@chattahoochee.org. Also, meet one of our Neighborhood Water Watch volunteers in this video.

 


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