Bacteria Monitoring

Bacteria is a very important parameter than can be monitored through Dakota Water Watch. Our program checks for a specific type of bacteria, Escherichia coli, commonly known as E. coli. E. coli is often found in water contaminated with fecal material, and it can be an indicator of the presence of other disease-causing organisms. South Dakota recently adapted a water quality standard for E. coli. Samples high in E. coli draw attention to potential problems at a particular monitoring site and allow it to be more specifically and thoroughly tested by a regulatory agency.
Questions? Contact:
Jeremy Hinke
East Dakota Water Development District
edwdd3@brookings.net
(605) 688-6741

Monitoring Options
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All significant water bodies can be monitored for bacteria including lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands. Individual volunteers choose which sites they would like to monitor and can do so from shore, from a dock, or from a boat. There were 22 bacteria monitors who monitored in 2008. These people sampled sites on Split Rock Creek, Park Creek, and the Big Sioux River as well as Brant Lake, Lake Herman, Lake Kampeska, Lake Madison, Pelican Lake, Round Lake, Lake Andes and Grass Lake.

On average, volunteers take between six and ten samples between April and October. Each sampling event typically takes about one hour. Each monitor sets his or her own scheule and coordinates with a mini lab operator who cultures the bacteria samples. Additionally, volunteers try to take samples after two heavy rain events. Mini labs are operated by volunteers also, and are currently located in several locations throughout eastern South Dakota as well as here at the East Dakota Water Development District office in Brookings. If you would like, we can provide you with the training and equipment to be a mini lab operator yourself. Many volunteers choose to take Baseline Monitoring measurements while monitoring for bacteria.