Updates on bacteria monitoring from ADEM and AWW

Water Watchers,
I hope that all are having an enjoyable summer, and have time to recreate on and in our world-class waters here in Alabama. Below are a couple of updates relative to bacterial contamination of our surface waters, and our AWW bacteriological data entry that we wanted to bring to your attention:

New ADEM Bacteriological Criteria

AWW is in the process of updating our bacteriological criteria in our workshop, outreach Powerpoints and a new edition of our Bacteriological Manual (in the works). We want all AWW water monitors to be aware of these new criteria. The criteria changes, reductions in E. coli levels that are considered safe, are for all waters in Alabama with Public Water Supply (PWS) and Fish and Wildlife (F&W) use classifications.  ADEM lowered the summer single sample criteria for PWS and F&W from 487 E. coli/100 mL to 298 E. coli/100 mL in early 2017. The old values appear in the AWW Bacteriological Monitoring manual on page 29. Changes are shown below in red – we recommend that you make these corrections in your own AWW manual so that you will have the correct information, since we won’t be able to make corrections until the new edition of our bacteriological monitoring manual is printed:

Note that ADEM also modified the ‘summer’ recreational season from June-September to May-October, and the ‘winter’ season from October-May to November-April.

Revised AWW Bacteriological Data Entry

AWW updated and streamlined the Bacteriological Data Entry by getting rid of unnecessary data entry fields:

  • Deleted the ‘Transported On Ice’ fields, since monitors should ALWAYS transport in a cooler with a Ziplock bag of ice, or re-freezable ice block, no matter what the length of transport time, and transportation time should not exceed three hours
  • Deleted the column for recording Other Coliforms using ‘rare’, ‘common’, ‘abundant’ ‘too numerous to count (TNTC)’, since these terms are not useful in the database. If Other Coliform colonies are TNTC, report as 250. 

See bacteriological data entry edits below:

Old data entry page:

New, streamlined bacteria data entry form, below:

Keep watching the water, and thanks for your stewardship efforts in protecting our premiere waters!