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U.S. EPA, Santa Rosa, regional water board, Russian Riverkeeper sample Colgan Creek for World Water Monitoring Day

Release Date: 10/09/2007
Contact Information: Wendy Chavez, 415-947-4307

Monitoring data used to raise awareness and protect water quality of Colgan Creek

SAN FRANCISCO – As part of World Water Monitoring Day on October 9, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with the city of Santa Rosa, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, and Russian Riverkeeper, sampled five areas along Colgan Creek -- a creek with a history of serious pollution from urban runoff.

Colgan Creek is a typical urban creek that flows about seven miles through residential areas, construction sites, commercial and industrial areas before joining with the Russian River, which is home to three endangered species of salmon and is a major source of drinking water.

“Today’s effort is great example of how volunteers, the Riverkeeper, the city of Santa Rosa, the regional board and the EPA can work together to reduce polluted runoff to Colgan Creek,” said Catherine Kuhlman, the associate director for the Water Division for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “Everyone who lives, works, or even drives through here, contributes pollutants to this creek, which is why it will take all of us to clean it up.”

Today’s sampling will analyze temperature, pH, specific conductivity, turbidity, total suspended solids, ortho-phosphate, nitrate-nitrogen, ammonia, lead, copper, zinc, Diazinon (a pesticide), total and E. coli bacteria and enterococcus. The sampling collection stations were located to isolate various land uses, such as residential, commercial, retail and mixed land uses located on Colgan Creek.

Results from the monitoring event and from the first flush sampling -- or first rain of the season --will help the city better target its efforts to clean up the creek. Samples will be analyzed by the EPA regional lab. A summary report detailing today’s water quality results will be available in early January 2008.

The city of Santa Rosa, in response to water tests that indicated higher levels of toxicity in Colgan Creek when compared with other city creeks, has worked for two years to investigate possible sources of pollution and conducted outreach to residents living along the creek to inform them of water quality issues and how they can prevent pollution from reaching the creek.

Since 2002, local volunteers and regional board staff have sampled water quality during the first flush in the Russian River. Colgan Creek has been sampled extensively both during first flush and monthly.

Urban run-off is one the largest sources of pollutants that impair beneficial uses. Storm water monitoring helps establish baselines for pollutants, data trends, identify hotspots for later follow-up and provides feedback on current and future runoff control efforts.

Adopted by Water Environment Federation in July 2006, World Water Monitoring Day is an international outreach program that builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world. Held annually between September 18 and October 18, the program engages communities in monitoring the condition of local rivers, streams, estuaries and other water bodies. Since its inception in 2002, more than 80,000 people have participated in 50 countries.

For more information on World Water Monitoring Day, visit: