Water that is used for recreation use by the public, like Thunder Bridge Beach, is tested weekly to ensure the safety of patrons. The water is tested in order to see levels of bacteria that are in the water, that can be harmful to humans, when at certain levels. Bacterial levels can and tend to change over time due to many things, like rain, defecation from animals like waterfowl, and the dropping of trash/plant matter into the water. All these add bacteria to the water, and once dispersed, the levels can rise to unsafe amounts.
The two main strains of bacteria that are tested for are E. coli. And Enterococci. In regard to testing, freshwater Enterococci can’t exceed 61 colonies per 100 ml, and freshwater E. coli can’t exceed 235 colonies per 100 ml.
Escherichia coli (E. coli) are bacteria found in the environment, foods, and intestines of people and animals. They are a large and diverse group of bacteria. Strains that are harmless, and others that can make you sick. Harmful kinds of E. coli can cause diarrhea, while others cause urinary tract infections, respiratory illness, pneumonia, and other illnesses.
Enterococci are common bacteria that live in the guts of mammals and birds, yet also act as opportunistic pathogens that cause millions of human and animal infections annually. Due to them being shed in human and animal feces, they are likely to pollute recreational waters, and harbor waterborne pathogens.