Specialist: Data collection by kayak

Environmental, Neuse River Watershed, Water Quality

Posted on January 18th, 2024

Water Quality Specialist Taylor Register was on the water again last week, collecting water samples to support an ongoing investigation.

Since last summer, Taylor and Neuse Riverkeeper Samantha Krop have been tracking down the source of pollution responsible for extremely elevated levels of E. coli in Slocum Creek in Havelock. Late last year, the team narrow down the source to one area, and a likely problem with outdated septic systems.

Taking samples at the hard-to-reach area means going by kayak.

Water Quality Specialist Taylor Register collects a Slocum Creek water sample via kayak.

“Surprisingly, the water was pretty clear with no weird odors present, even after the heavy rains from earlier in the week. That is always a good thing for us to see, and it made for a very enjoyable trip,” Taylor said. “I collected and processed several samples throughout the southwest prong of the creek, all of which came back passing, per the EPA’s standard for recreational waters.”

While the southwest section was in the clear, over the weekend, the east prong of Slocum Creek was contaminated by a spill of an estimated 500,000 gallons of wastewater and sludge from the Havelock Sewer Plant. Read about the spill here.

Taylor said while it was great to finally see some normal numbers for Slocum Creek, she is going to continue with regular monitoring to round out Sound Rivers’ year-round data collection.

“By doing this, we can analyze our data and determine what might be the biggest influences that cause those extreme E. coli spikes, whether it be from certain amounts of precipitation, specific wind patterns or other things of that nature,” she said.

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