A polluted problem

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 6, 2002

The Cedar River is polluted.

Wednesday, March 06, 2002

The Cedar River is polluted.

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Not only is it polluted, it exceeds the state health standards for fecal coliform bacteria and total suspended solid levels according to a monitoring report by Carol Mostrom.

She outlined her Environmental Health report to Mower County Commissioners, Tuesday, and explained that acceptable levels of suspended solids are less than 45mg/l – the state standard.

Mostrom said that suspended solids are matter that is suspended or dissolved in water or wastewater.

The report showed average samplings of suspended solids from the Cedar River to be 34mg/l from July 14 to Aug. 22, 2000 and 46mg/l from May 21 to Aug. 13 2001.

Fecal coliform, she said, is one of the group of coliform bacteria. Unlike other coliform, it originates from the feces of warm-blooded animals. Her report states that all samples exceed state water quality in both 2000 and 2001.

All of the tributaries that empty into the Cedar River in Mower County also exceed the state standards.

The state standard for safe water as it applies to fecal coliform bacteria is less than 200 colonies per 100ml. Where the Cedar River enters Mower County, the average is 470 colonies per 100ml.

Where the Cedar leaves Mower County, that average goes up to 784 colonies per 100ml – an increase of 60 percent.

The report concludes, Mostrom said, that these two pollutants exceed state health standards and that the tributaries, especially Turtle Creek are significant sources of contamination.

She also said that heavy rains and snow caused peaks in the contaminants possibly from runoff from the soil into the streams.

She said it would be important to continue monitoring the Cedar River.

Bill Buckley director of Environmental Health called the river "contaminated."

"At this time we know there is a problem. Now, it’s figuring out what to do,’ he concluded.

Call Ailene Dawson at 434-2235 or e-mail her at ailene.dawson@austindailyherald.com.