New Bern, NC – The Neuse Riverkeeper and volunteers from the Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation (NRF) continue to sample and monitor the conditions of the waters of the Neuse and Trent Rivers. On Monday, September 12, 2011, a series of samples were taken as a follow up to a series of samples taken on September 6, 2001.
Samples taken on September 6, 2011, indicated elevated levels of fecal coliform bacteria from samples acquired from the Trent River at Pollocksville and Trenton. This resulted in the RECOMMENDATION from the NRF that people limit or avoid contact with the waters pending further sampling.
On Monday, September 12, 2011, the Neuse Riverkeeper and NRF volunteers again sampled the waters, this time including areas of the Neuse and Trent Rivers near New Bern, as well as repeating the samples taken from the Trent River on September 6, 2011.
At this time, all of the river samples taken were below the state standard, except for one sample taken at the Railroad Trestle on the Neuse River upstream of New Bern. While the bacteria levels have dropped considerably, it is still RECOMMENDED that contact with the waters of the Neuse and Trent Rivers.
Of important note, in addition to the samples taken on September 12, 2011 from the rivers, a sample was also acquired directly from the Trenton Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP), which discharges into the Trent River. Initial fecal coliform results from this sample show an elevated level of 200 times (200X) the state standard being discharged directly into the Trent River.
The Neuse Riverkeeper has alerted the North Carolina Division of Water Quality (DWQ) office in Washington, NC. The DWQ will do an investigation into the operation and apparent discharge from the Trenton WWTP. The discovery of this discharge may be one obvious source of the elevated fecal coliform levels found recently in the Trent River, but it is not likely the only source of pollutants.
The overall water quality in the Neuse and Trent Rivers appears to be improving, but will likely take some additional time to return to acceptable conditions. The Neuse Riverkeeper and NRF volunteers will continue to monitor and sample the affected waters. Again, it continues to be the RECOMMENDATION of the NRF to avoid or limit contact with the waters of the Neuse and Trent River for a period of time to be determined.
Submitted by: Larry Baldwin, Lower Neuse RIVERKEEPER, Neuse RIVERKEEPER Foundation, 1307 Country Club Road, New Bern, NC, 252-637-7972