Riverkeeper hunts down potential pollution problem

Algal Blooms, Environmental, Sound Rivers, Tar-Pamlico Watershed, Water Quality

Posted on February 8th, 2024

Algal mats greeted Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Katey Zimmerman on Pungo Creek this week.

Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Katey Zimmerman was back on the water this week investigating a potential pollution problem on Pungo Creek.

The area in question is near two longterm RV campsites on the creek.

On Wednesday, Katey gathered samples via kayak and did notice algal mats in the water. Water tests, however, did not reveal any cause for concern and all signs point to this being normal organic matter that can be found in coastal streams. 

“I took bacteria samples both upstream of and at each campsite, to give me a better idea of where any pollution was coming from,” she said.

Results came back today.

“There were low levels of bacteria in the water — definitely within the range of recreational water-quality standards,” Katey said.

Though results pointed to mostly clean water, she said she’d be keeping an eye on the creek. Katey reached out to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Water Resources regarding the mats on the creek, and confirmed that it was normal organic matter.

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Katey holds aloft a recently acquired water sample.
While on the water, Katey got to experience some of the local wildlife in a pair of brown herons.

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