Bacteria Monitoring Program

  1. Background
  2. Method
  3. Data

11On average, most of the City's streams and the Roanoke River are safe for recreation. However, as part of the City’s Sediment and Bacteria TMDL Action Plan, a Bacteria Monitoring Program was developed to accomplish the following:

  • To detect average levels of bacteria in the Roanoke River and tributary streams.
  • To determine locations of any potential bacterial "hotspots".
  • To track identified "hotspots" upstream to their source and eliminate the source of bacteria.

Over 10,000 miles of river and streams across Virginia have been designated as Impaired for not meeting water quality standards for bacteria. Fecal bacteria are the leading cause for Virginia water bodies to be placed on the USEPA’s 303(d) Impaired Water List. In Roanoke City, the Roanoke River and 10 of its tributaries having watersheds within the City limits are impaired for bacteria. When streams are designated as Impaired they go through a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) process so that clean-up plans can be developed to address the various sources of fecal bacteria including: livestock, pets, wildlife, and humans.