Village partners with Sound Rivers for DNA testing

Environmental, Sound Rivers, Stormwater, Stormwater Issues, Tar-Pamlico Watershed, Water Quality

Posted on October 19th, 2023

Water Quality Specialist Taylor Register samples for DNA on a Simpson creek.

The Village of Simpson is partnering with Sound Rivers to root out the source of pollution of Bate’s Branch, a tributary of the Tar River.

As research for Simpson’s 9-Element Watershed Plan, in partnership with the Mid-East Commission,  Sound Rivers Water Quality Specialist Taylor Register has been collecting monthly water samples from three Simpson creeks and testing the samples for bacteria. The results, she says, have been surprising.

“Looking at my previous sampling data, a clear trend for all three creeks in the Village of Simpson is that there’s a major problem with bacterial pollution,” Taylor said. “The site I’m most concerned about is Bate’s Branch, a creek that runs next to a large neighborhood within the Village. Every time I’ve collected samples, E. coli and fecal coliform numbers are more than 10 times the recreational standard, higher than what our lab procedures allow us to quantify.”

Water Quality Specialist Taylor Register processes a water sample from a Simpson Creek.

Taylor reached out to Simpson officials in an effort to take sampling a step farther with DNA testing. The town, in return, gave approval and will be providing financial support for the two rounds of DNA testing to determine the most likely source of the E. coli.

“This testing will confirm whether this pollution is human sewage or animal in origin, which is a crucial part in determining the best way to alleviate this problem in the near future,” Taylor said.

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