Little Rock Creek subject of water-quality study

Environmental, Neuse River Watershed, Sanitary Sewer Overflows, Stormwater, Stormwater Issues, Stormwater Runoff, Water Quality

Posted on October 5th, 2023

Walnut Creek Wetland Community Partnership Denise Spaugh and water-quality intern Maya Hardison take samples at Little Rock Creek.

Little Rock Creek sampling launched the week for Neuse Riverkeeper Samantha Krop and Sound Rivers’ new water-quality intern Maya Hardison.

Ongoing sampling of the urban waterway running through the grounds of the Walnut Creek Wetland Center in Raleigh has revealed levels of bacteria (E. coli) exceeding water-quality standards 29 out of 32 times it’s been tested — a 90% failure rate.

“Almost every single week, we find elevated levels of bacteria,” Sam said. “Urban waterways have bacteria problems mostly due to run off from stormwater, but we started this study because we knew that there are old sewer lines that were in need of replacement and are currently being replaced. We feel that it is likely related to human sewage from outdated sewer infrastructure.”

Maya’s role over the coming weeks will be to not only help with the biweekly sampling, but to create resources for the surrounding community that explain the sampling and results of that sampling.

“She’s doing background research on contextualizing the trends we’ve found in our surface waters here, so she’s going to be putting together resources on the bacteria in our waters, where it comes from and what we can do about it,” Sam said.

Monday, the two met up with Denise Spaugh, a member of Walnut Creek Wetland Community Partnership’s stewardship committee, collecting samples for study. 

“We also use our YSI, so we’re getting all of those basic health parameters: Ph, conductivity, turbidity — all basic indicators of water quality, but bacteria is the issue we are documenting. That’s the problem issue,” Sam said.

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