Duck Creek will be the target of greater monitoring and cleanup efforts after years of water-quality studies showing increased levels of E. coli bacteria, nitrates and chloride feed in the stream.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Partners of Scott County Watersheds reported Tuesday on water quality in the county and pointed to Duck Creek as the likely focus of their work in the future. The stream already is on the state’s impaired waterways list, making it eligible for grants for more monitoring and cleanup.
Seventy-one percent of Scott County streams recorded E. coli levels higher than the acceptable standard of 235 colony-forming units per 100 milliliters of water, according to records dating back to October 2002. Statewide,
41 percent of streams recorded E. coli levels above the standard. Colony-forming units record the number of viable bacteria in a water sample.
“We need to figure out where the bacteria is coming from so we can clean it up so it is safe for kids to play in,” Lynette Seigley, of the Iowa DNR’s water monitoring program, said of Duck Creek.
Further monitoring for
substances such as caffeine and laundry detergent should be done to help determine where the creek is being polluted and how, said Clare Kerofsky, of Partners of Scott County Watersheds.
Kerofsky’s group already has an action plan that includes monitoring, marketing, reducing septic tank issues, reducing runoff and reducing bacteria from farm and pet waste.
Any actions should be done working closely with Davenport, Bettendorf and communities.
“We thought it was good that we had the food producers here who want to know if they are contributing,” Kerofsky said. “Even more, it shows that when we come up with a plan, we are all partners.”
She was pleased that representatives from the cities of Davenport and Bettendorf and Scott County Health Department were at the meeting.
Bacteria was the big concern from the nine years of monitoring that took samples from more than 100 sites around the county, including from Crow, Goose and Blackhawk creeks, twice yearly, in the spring and fall.
Readings for chloride of 36 mg/l were higher than the statewide average of 25 mg/l, but Seigley said that isn’t atypical for urban areas. Chloride sources include human and animal waste, fertilizer and road salt runoff.
Scott County streams were about on par with statewide waterways for nitrate levels, with 20 percent of the streams above the acceptable standard of 10 milligrams per liter. Statewide, 21 percent of streams are above the acceptable standard.