October Monitoring Report
On October 26th, we conducted our first sampling for E. coli levels in Rummel Creek!
The EPA has set a standard maximum of allowable E. coli colonies in a water body of 394 cfu (colony forming units)/100 mL. There is a more stringent maximum of a geometric mean of 126 cfu/100mL, set by the TCEQ for contact recreation.
After incubating our water samples for 28 hours, we counted our E.coli colonies and determined that Rummel Creek has an average value of 450 cfu/100mL – a value that certainly exceeds the EPA and TCEQ standards. This said, all streams naturally carry microbes, pathogens and E. coli. Our stream’s bacteria level is moderate compared to other Houston area streams.
We will continue to monitor the bacteria levels on a monthly basis to see if any trends develop or if values appear that might indicate point or non-point sources of pollution in the watershed
Water Quality Report
|Rummel Creek Water Quality Stream Team Data Trends
|water temp (C)
|air temp (C)
|E. coli (avg. cfu/100mL)
Last sig. precipitation: Oct 16th Flow rate: very low Algae Cover: none
Fish Kill Event – Tuesday, October 23rd
On the morning of Oct 23rd, several volunteers reported seeing many dead fish below the ‘big bridge’ over Rummel Creek. Bethany photographed, collected and reported the kill to the TPWD “kills & spills” Team, Bayou Preservation Association, and the City of Houston Pollution Control Dept. TPWD Biologist Steven Mitchell identified the dead fish as nonnative Asian carp – Grass Carp and Common Carp. The following afternoon, City Environmental Investigator Lisa Groves came out to investigate the situation and monitor the stream’s health. As of now, the cause of the fish kill is still undetermined. We have a few working theories on the possible causes. If you have any ideas for us to consider, please let us know!
Thank You to Steven Mitchell and Lisa Groves for their quick response and active interest in the fish kill. Thank you to Jessica Snider from Texas Stream Team for visiting our site on Rummel Creek and for sharing her knowledge and expertise on water monitoring and microbiology. Jessica taught the girl scouts about the intersection of art and science, and she also shared advice about pursuing a career in the sciences.
Thanks also to Houston Audubon Sanctuary Steward, Stephan Kieval, for assisting us this month. And thanks again to our Stream Team Members from the St. Marks Girl Scouts Troop!
We’ll see you next month!
~Beth & Jenn, your Sirens of the Stream